Housing News Roundup: March 12, 2015
HUD Secretary Castro Emphasizes Worst Case Housing Needs in Budget Testimony
The proposed FY2016 budget for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development includes more than $21 billion in support for 2.4 million low-income families through the Housing Choice Voucher Program, which HUD Secretary Julian Castro says is “urgently needed” to respond to what the department calls worst case housing needs. Americans living in a number of cities experienced double-digit rent growth last year, according to Castro’s testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations. The overall FY2016 HUD budget proposal is $49.3 billion, up $4 billion from last year, and will also include increases in homeless assistance and important investments in the Jobs Plus initiative and the Family Self Sufficiency program.
Source: The M Report
Report: Severe Lack of Affordable Housing in D.C.
Washington, D.C., has essentially run out of inexpensive housing that’s available to rent, forcing many low-income households to put most of their income toward rent, according to a new study by the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute. The study defined inexpensive as less than $800 per month, or approximately 40% of the income of a family of four with an annual income of $23,800. “There is virtually no inexpensive housing left in D.C.’s private market,” said Wes Rivers, a policy analyst at the institute. The report may help explain why there has been such a steep rise in family homelessness in recent years.
Source: Washington Post
Joint Effort to Promote Energy Efficiency Investments in Low-Income Housing
Three organizations are spearheading a joint effort to promote energy-efficiency programs in low-income, multifamily housing, which face greater hurdles than other types of housing when it comes to encouraging investments in energy upgrades. The effort from WegoWise, Elevate Energy and New Ecology will focus on seven states. “The multifamily market still lags behind the rest of the market in implementing efficiency projects,” Ed Connelly, president of New Ecology, said in a statement. The program will provide properties with the WegoWise energy analysis software and full energy audits prior to undergoing building retrofits.
Source: Greentech Media
Developers Say an Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance Would Lead to Fewer Units
A proposed inclusionary zoning ordinance in Portland, Maine, would have the unintended effect of discouraging residential development, according to developers who spoke at the City Council’s Housing and Community Development Committee. The proposal would require that any residential project with 10 or more units reserve 10% of its space for median-income households. “We’re a community of mostly small developers,” said developer Peter Bass. “The small developers will say, ‘If the limit’s 10 (units), I’ll do nine.”
Source: Portland Press Herald
California’s Stock of Mobile Home Lots is Dwindling
California has lost 4,792 mobile home lots over the past decade, many giving way to new developments where people with middle and lower incomes can’t afford to live. “Affordable housing is like the spotted owl or the tiger. If we don’t go out of our way to save what we have, then we’ll lose it forever,” said Winter Dellenbach, founder of Friends of Buena Vista, a community group working to save an at-risk mobile home park near Palo Alto. Over 400 mobile home parks have closed in the state over the last 20 years and many more remain at risk, especially in the counties surrounding San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle