Housing News Roundup: June 9, 2015
Milwaukee Puts Housing First to End Chronic Homelessness
City officials in Milwaukee County are hoping to end chronic homelessness over the next three years at the tune of $1.8 million dollars annually. Milwaukee’s plan includes a new supportive housing development, countywide rent assistance program and a network of services that are aimed at keeping those who are chronically homeless out of jail and mental health facilities. The new plan is based on the Housing First model that has been proven to reduce police time, emergency room visits and detox center stays.
Portland Coalition Seeks Dedicated Affordable Housing Funds
A shortage of dedicated affordable housing funds in Portland, Ore. has sparked advocacy for new sources of funds to meet the rising need for housing assistance in the area. A coalition of more than 90 community organizations and advocacy groups is focused on increasing housing in the area for households earning less than 30 percent of area median income. “That is the greatest need, and the marketplace is never going to fill it,” according to coalition director Jes Larson. Recommendations under consideration by the coalition include property tax levies and fees on new housing developments and short-term rentals. The coalition also seeks to raise public awareness regarding the decline of affordable housing in the Portland region and to shed light on how other cities have pursued allocating funds for affordable housing.
Source: Portland Tribune
Could San Francisco Get the First Chance at Private Land Sales?
A controversial proposal is under development to increase and preserve affordability in San Francisco’s Mission District. The new proposal would give the city the first chance to purchase private property being offered for sale in the Mission District or near public transit stations. If the legislation gets through, the city would have greater opportunities to dedicate parcels to affordable housing development, but would still need to pay market price. The scope of available city funds for land acquisition is not yet certain. A similar model announced last year in Paris appears likely to delay land deals by adding a layer of city negotiations (and fights over the true fair market price) before properties can be offered to non-city buyers.
Regional Plan to Address Disparities in Baltimore Metro May Lack Support
A $3.5 million comprehensive regional plan outlines ways to address poverty and disparities in the Baltimore region using guidance from the realms of academia, government, and non-profits. However, implementation of the plan is far from certain, as some worry that the ideas might not be embraced by the state’s new governor and the suburban counties in the region. The plan outlines ways to improve metropolitan housing, transit and workforce development systems in order to reduce socioeconomic gaps between high-poverty areas of the city and wealthier parts of the surrounding metro area. The plan is not accompanied by guaranteed funds to support the execution of the recommendations, and gaining momentum for new initiatives may be a challenge.
Source: Baltimore Sun