Housing News Roundup: August 27, 2015
13,000 people become homeless every month in Los Angeles County, Study Says
According to a new study, 13,000 people on public assistance in Los Angeles County become homeless every month. The nonprofit Economic Roundtable, which analyzed records for 9 million residents between 2002 and 2010, says the foster care, criminal justice, and mental health care systems all played a role in leading people toward homelessness. The report also found that the number of chronically homeless people rose 37 percent and that disabilities among children are widely underreported. Mollie Lowry of Housing Works says, “It really brings home, just the sheer numbers. We’re talking about 13,000 a month. Even me who works in the field had no idea those numbers were out there.”
Source: The Los Angeles Times
Using Maps to Anticipate and Manage Gentrification
A new map tool built by researchers from the Urban Displacement Project at the University of California, Berkeley, uses U.S. census data to model the growth of gentrification in the San Francisco Bay area. Using factors like percentage of renter households, employment density, and minority population, the maps classify communities by stage of gentrification, placing them on a four-stage spectrum. According to the researchers, neighborhoods with pre-1950s housing stock, rising housing prices, and easy access to rail transit are the most likely to lose low-income residents. Historically, the low-income black population has been most frequently displaced. The researchers hope the tool is used by urban planners and policy makers to anticipate and, when necessary, intervene in gentrification trends.
Source: Next City
New Orleans: Ten Years after Katrina, What Has Changed?
Ten years after Katrina, New Orleans is emerging as a very different city, but with some familiar problems. As of 2013, there were 100,000 fewer black residents than before Katrina, but only 11,000 fewer white residents. Major institutions were overhauled or changed, such as the school system, the art deco Charity Hospital, and iconic public housing projects. However, poverty rates are the same as in 2000, and violent crime remains a persistent problem. New Orleans has risen to second in the nation in income inequality: today, the median income of black households is 54 percent lower than that for whites. Individual wards have new identities: Treme is increasingly gentrified, Mid-City is increasingly multicultural, the Lower Ninth Ward has half its pre-storm population, and entrepreneurs and tech startups are moving into the central business district. While leaders acknowledge that challenges remain, they insist that the city is on a promising path forward.
Source: The New York Times
Officials in Boston Ignore the Student Housing Crisis
An investigation by the Boston Globe into housing quality in Boston neighborhoods known for their college student populations found that many units were dangerously overcrowded. The Globe found a variety of violations, from illegal basement or attic units to fire hazards. The city identified almost 600 housing units that violated occupancy codes and acknowledged that it had not issued any sanctions for overcrowding, the Globe reported. Mayor Martin J. Walsh has promised multiple times to strengthen an ordinance that would make it easier to punish landlords who prey on student renters, but has not yet followed through. Kevin Carragee, copresident of the Hobart Park Neighborhood Association, says, “I’m simply perplexed. Lives are at stake. The seriousness of the issue versus the lack of action that’s taking place—it’s a total disconnect. I don’t understand it.’’
Source: The Boston Globe
New Orleans Home Prices Soar as Urban Living Gains Popularity
Home prices in New Orleans have risen 46 percent since Hurricane Katrina. Properties in the city’s downtown neighborhoods have seen the most appreciation, fueled by an influx of entrepreneurs and young professionals. Market experts say the timing of New Orleans’s recovery corresponded with the resurgence of interest in urban living. Not only are newcomers to the city desiring to live downtown, but locals from the suburbs are moving into the city. Over the past decade, property values in parts of the French Quarter have increased 81 percent, and they have risen 66 percent in Mid-City. Some argue that the growth constitutes a bubble, while others say it is only the beginning of a longer-term trend.
Source: The Times-Picayune