Housing News Roundup: April 11, 2019
San Jose Will Dedicate 45 Percent of Affordable Housing to Extremely Low–Income Residents
The San Jose city council unanimously voted to allot 45 percent of its available affordable housing fund to extremely low-income residents, three-quarters of whom spend more than half their income on rent. It is the first city known to make a commitment of this kind, and aims to prevent homelessness. “These same residents are critical to our economic prosperity by virtue of their employment in the service industry, construction, and other fields essential to our growth. It is in our best interest to guarantee that they can afford to live in San Jose,” Councilman Sergio Jimenez and Councilwoman Sylvia Arenas wrote in a memo.
Source: Mercury News
Hawaii Audits Program that Collects Impact Fees from Developments Near Schools
Hawaii is auditing a state Department of Education program, established in 2007, that collects fees from residential housing developments in five districts to address their impacts on schools. The program has been controversial, having received complaints that fees would burden small property owners and that affordable housing developments are not exempt. State auditor Les Kondo is expediting his review and plans to have the assessment completed before the six months it typically takes.
Source: Honolulu Civil Beat
Nearly a Third of Maryland Public Housing Failed Health and Safety Inspections
Maryland ranks last in health and safety scores for public housing inspections, according to an analysis by The Associated Press. The state failed 32 percent of inspections since 2013, and the Housing Authority of Baltimore City attributes much of this to a historic lack of funding from the federal government.
Source: Baltimore Sun
Sealed Eviction Records Could Change the Lives of Cleveland Tenants
In January, Judge Ronald O’Leary enacted a new court rule—the first of its kind in Ohio—that makes it easier for tenants to seal eviction records. It ensures that tenants’ cases will not appear online or be available from the clerk’s office, so landlords cannot access sealed records unless a judge finds it in the interest of justice. This could be life changing for some Clevelanders, 8,500 of whom were evicted last year. “It allows people a fresh start and better access to housing,’’ said Sara Bird of the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland.
Criminalizing Homelessness Is Illegal, Rules a Federal Court
Under the Martin v. City of Boise ruling, it will be illegal for cities in nine western states to arrest or punish residents for sleeping on public property unless they provide alternative suitable accommodations. Eve Garrow, a homelessness policy analyst for the American Civil Liberties Union, predicts it will be difficult for California. “There’s such a dire crisis in our municipalities […]. They have a really long way to go to meet those requirements,” she says. Meanwhile, senior research associate at the Urban Institute Josh Leopold is curious how the ruling will contribute to perceptions around the accuracy of the annual homelessness count.