AHAA Endorsement: District 6

Posted April 1st, 2013 @ 8:15 AM by

Marsha Rummel v. Scott Thornton

Another no-brainer for us. Scott is a nice guy and I consider him a friend, but his contempt for the homeless and a fundamental misunderstand of issues compared to Marsha’s nearly flawless record when it comes to housing and homelessnes, make her the clear pick.

RUMMEL’S ANSWERS
1. Do we have an adequate supply of affordable housing in Madison? (“Affordable” means that the rent or mortgage does not exceed 30 percent of the household income.)
Would you advocate for increasing funding for the City Affordable Housing Trust Fund? What other ideas would you have to increase the supply?

We don’t have a sufficient supply of affordable housing. With vacancy rates at historic lows, it is hard to find any rental housing, let alone units at 30-35% of AMI. I do support higher levels of funding for the AHTF. As a Plan Commissioner, I amended the Wingra TID plan to fund the 10% TIF AH set aside for the district to help replace the workforce housing demolished due to the development of the Bancroft Dairy. We have to try and use all the tools we can get our hands on. I know WHEDA Section 42 tax credits are hard to come by but we should direct staff to work with housing developers to try to fund at least one local project every year if we can. Bottom line, we need to have a functional and proactive housing committee and policy makers and electeds to take action.

2. Do you support the city facilitating the use of vacant properties for affordable housing, and if so, what do you think the city’s role should be? Would you support a vacant property registration ordinance?

I am supportive of the concept but need to learn more. Public safety is increased when buildings are inhabited by people. I would want to look at the legal issues of the vacant property registration ordinance and how other municipalities have addressed foreclosed and vacant properties. Can the city offer to offset a portion of the property taxes the lenders/owners pay if they agree to house people? Operation Welcome Home and Take Back the Land’s effort to place homeless people in vacant homes got a lot of publicity in 2010 but it would be ideal to find a legal way to reuse vacant properties. Foreclosure rates in Dane County are declining compared to last year and lower than the 2008-2010 peak. Hopefully that means the worst of the housing crash is over.

3. The rental housing market in the Madison area is very tight right now, with a 2.07 percent vacancy rate reported for the last quarter of 2012. Do you think the city should get involved in planning to make sure there is enough housing for its residents, and if so, what should its role be?

The city should focus more on rental housing assistance programs and less on owner occupied programs until the rental market crunch has lessened. The city has demographic info available from the census and school data that could help prioritize areas to focus on. Also the city should focus on economic clusters such as healthcare, food, green technology, and the UW to help grow jobs that include entry level jobs at ‘housing wages’ to higher income employment. We need to grow our wealth creating capacity but we also need good jobs for working class people.

4. Given that both the city and county provide funding to homeless shelters, do you think the city/county should play a role in making sure the shelters are adequately operated and meet standards for service and habitability? Would you support efforts to increase transparency and accountability through an improved shelter grievance process?

Activists have made an excellent case for the implementation of a third party run shelter grievance process. City and county electeds need to make sure contracts for shelter services require this process to be put in place.

5. It is estimated that there are 300-400 unsheltered persons living in the Madison area. Shelter stays are subject to annual limits of 60-90 days, depending on the shelter. Would you support making a downtown City building available to unsheltered persons to allow them to sleep in safety and access 24 hour restrooms?

If we did that, it would have to be a free service so as not to violate the campground standards! Seriously, it would require some planning and political will to make it work.

6. Would you support expanding local equal opportunity ordinances to prohibit discrimination in housing and public accommodations against person who have animals which a qualified professional has recommended as providing a beneficial service or support?

That’s a good idea, yes.

7. AHAA is part of a coalition that is working to advance housing as a human right. Are you aware of the Housing as a Human Right resolution that was passed by the Madison City Council? The resolution is available here: http://legistar.cityofmadison.com/detailreport/Reports/Temp/2720127421.pdf
Can we count on you to help implement the resolution? If so, what would be your priorities? Will you include implementation of the resolution in your priorities for the 2014 City Budget?

Yes, I was a co-sponsor of the resolution. We should make sure the new housing initiatives specialist position and the Housing Strategy Committee they staff has the resources needed to be effective. I would like to continue the work of the joint city-county committee on homelessness and partnership with county to fund a permanent day shelter, implementing the third party grievance process, and work on developing more SRO housing.

8. Our state legislature recently enacted 2011 Wisconsin Act 108, which attacks local ordinances expanding equal opportunity for lower income tenants. The law can be found here: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2011/related/acts/108
The legislature also enacted 2011 Wisconsin Act 143, which makes changes to landlord/tenant practices. It can be found here: http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2011/related/acts/143
If 2011 Acts 108 and/or 143 are repealed, will you support full restoration of our fair housing and tenant protection ordinances?

Yes.

THORNTON’S ANSWERS
1. Do we have an adequate supply of affordable housing in Madison? (“Affordable” means that the rent or mortgage does not exceed 30 percent of the household income.)
No.

Would you advocate for increasing funding for the City Affordable Housing Trust Fund? I would support increasing fund for the trust fund provided that there was a good plan on how to use it.
What other ideas would you have to increase the supply?

Incentives for developing new and conversion of existing housing to affordable housing options.

2. Do you support the city facilitating the use of vacant properties for affordable housing, and if so, what do you think the city’s role should be?

I would support a program that uses vacant property for affordable housing provided that that owner of the property was involved willingly.

Would you support a vacant property registration ordinance?
No.

3. The rental housing market in the Madison area is very tight right now, with a 2.07 percent vacancy rate reported for the last quarter of 2012. Do you think the city should get involved in planning to make sure there is enough housing for its residents, and if so, what should its role be?

Yes, I think that the city should have a more proactive role in planning for housing within the city. We tend to take a reactive approach when I think that the Planning Department use its resources in Planning, Economic Development, and Community Development to work across agencies such as Madison Metro to plan for affordable and accessible housing.

4. Given that both the city and county provide funding to homeless shelters, do you think the city/county should play a role in making sure the shelters are adequately operated and meet standards for service and habitability?

The city and county should work together to develop standards and review of operations.
Would you support efforts to increase transparency and accountability through an improved shelter grievance process?
Operations agreements should be worked out between the city, county and shelter operator.

5. It is estimated that there are 300-400 unsheltered persons living in the Madison area. Shelter stays are subject to annual limits of 60-90 days, depending on the shelter. Would you support making a downtown City building available to unsheltered persons to allow them to sleep in safety and access 24 hour restrooms?

I would support making restrooms, including showers, and shelters available to those in need. I don’t think that services should be exclusive to the downtown.

6. Would you support expanding local equal opportunity ordinances to prohibit discrimination in housing and public accommodations against person who have animals which a qualified professional has recommended as providing a beneficial service or support?

The American Disabilities Act provides protections to individuals with service dogs.

7. AHAA is part of a coalition that is working to advance housing as a human right. Are you aware of the Housing as a Human Right resolution that was passed by the Madison City Council?

Yes.

The resolution is available here: http://legistar.cityofmadison.com/detailreport/Reports/Temp/2720127421.pdf
Can we count on you to help implement the resolution?

Yes.

If so, what would be your priorities?

Priority will be to work with city and county staff to establish a plan to address homelessness in Dane County and the City of Madison, to establish permanent locations for shelter space and programming to assist individuals in ways to improve their situation.

Will you include implementation of the resolution in your priorities for the 2014 City Budget?

I would work with city financial staff to look for available funding.

8. Our state legislature recently enacted 2011 Wisconsin Act 108, which attacks local ordinances expanding equal opportunity for lower income tenants. The law can be found here: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2011/related/acts/108
The legislature also enacted 2011 Wisconsin Act 143, which makes changes to landlord/tenant practices. It can be found here: http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2011/related/acts/143
If 2011 Acts 108 and/or 143 are repealed, will you support full restoration of our fair housing and tenant protection ordinances?

Yes


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