Public forum of Duluth City Council-at-large candidates

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Residents throughout the city attended a public forum of Duluth City Council-at-large candidates. Not only could people ask questions about issues impacting the city, but learn more about candidates.

One of the main issues residents wanted to hear the candidates speak about is helping people experiencing homelessness.

Lynn Marie Nephew, said the Duluth City Council should focus changing city ordinances, in order to build more homes. “I’m part of a nonprofit start up, we secured a building and we are creating supportive housing units for those people who experience long term frustration,” Nephew said. “More of these programs need to be encouraged to help the homeless population in order to be successful. Combined with the fact of creating just more housing units in general will take pressure off the system.”

Although, Jenna Yeakle said the City Council should create more temporary housing opportunities and other community programs. “We need to be exploring protections for renters, which are about 40 to 50% of our of our communities,” Yeakle said. “We can improve the quality of our existing housing for through rehabilitation programs.”

Mirana Pacheco, however, said helping people experiencing homelessness starts with addressing mental health. “Since I’ve been door knocking, I talked to this lady who hasn’t has a college degree and she’s living with her dad because she can’t find affordable housing,” Pacheco said. “I’ve heard other stories from our community members that are pretty similar and also people that are retired and they’re on fixed income and they’re thinking about leaving because they can’t afford their property taxes.”

Incumbent candidate Arik Forsman, said a policy like rent control is not the answer. “Year after year. I vote for housing projects that are deeply affordable, that don’t get state funding, and they don’t get built,” Forsmand said. “We will for the next year support them. And I have voted for every single housing project that has ever come forward to the city Council.”

In addition to more information about the Duluth City Council-at-large candidates, you can read more here. Also for other stories about the 2023 election you can read more here.