Housing News Roundup: July 15, 2015
Boston Sees Rise in Family Homelessness
Stagnant wages, the increased costs of housing essentials and expensive child care have contributed to Boston’s 25% increase in homeless families so far this year, according to an advocacy group as well as one city official. In addition, Lisa Conley, a lawyer working with the Boston Public Health Commission, stated that the rise in homeless families extends beyond Boston. Conley explained that a lack of funds for Section 8 housing vouchers is responsible for the increase, and that the state houses homeless families in various settings such as hotels/motels, shelters and transitional housing. J.W. Carney Jr., a well-known Boston defense attorney, believes that tracking the number of people who are without housing is important for the city’s mission. “I feel that we in the community who are fortunate enough to have a roof over our head have an obligation to help people who don’t,” said Carney.
Source: Boston Globe
Report: Tax Abatement Under-Delivered Affordable Homes for New York City
For the same money as the 421-a tax abatement, New York City could have added far more affordable housing units with direct financial support of affordable developments. The forgone tax revenue from the 73-story One57 development over a ten year period equaled $65.6 million and resulted in 66 affordable units in the Bronx. The same sum, distributed for affordable development rather than as a broader multifamily incentive, could have produced five times as many affordable residences, according to a new report from the Independent Budget Office. “The staggering cost and inefficiency of this program is precisely why the administration sought — and succeeded in — ending 421-a tax breaks for luxury condominiums,” said City Hall spokesman Wiley Norvell. “The practice was just indefensible.”
Source: The Real Deal
Google to Expand Free Fiber Access to More Public Housing Residents
Last November, Google partnered with the Housing Authority of the City of Austin on the “Unlocking the Connection” initiative to provide free Internet to affordable housing residents through Google Fiber for the next 10 years. The tech giant has now announced plans to do the same in every Google Fiber market, citing a recent Pew Study that found 26% of households earning less than $30,000 annually don’t access the Internet. This initiative is part of a larger program called ConnectHome, launched by the White House and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), to give school-aged children living in HUD-assisted housing access to the Internet.
Source: Venture Beat
Seattle Mayor’s Plan to Provide Affordable Housing
Seattle will need to see a dramatic shift in its skyline if it hopes to meet its current and future affordable housing needs, according to Mayor Ed Murray, who has announced a series of new recommendations that includes incentivizing taller and denser developments. Murray and his task force on housing affordability have produced 65 proposals with the ultimate goal of building 20,000 affordable housing units over the next decade. “My vision is a vision where the people who work in Seattle can afford to live in Seattle,” said Murray. “Without this plan, people will continue to be forced to live outside this city.”
Source: Next City