Housing News Roundup: April 22, 2015
Station Locations and Credit Requirements Limit Bikeshare’s Appeal
Bike sharing systems appear to be facing a social equity problem. According to a survey of approximately 3,500 users of Capital Bikeshare in Washington, D.C., half take home six-figure incomes, an increase since 2011. Only 16% report incomes below $50,000. Observers point to station locations as an ongoing obstacle. “If bike-share operators don’t place stations in low-income areas, then it gets harder to make the case for these systems as true components of the transit network.” Arlington County, Virginia, is also experimenting with cash-based approach to attract users without the credit or debit cards typically needed to use the system.
High Housing Costs Make Middle Class Unable to Save
A new study finds that even an annual income of $75,000 can leave someone living paycheck to paycheck, and high housing costs in some areas can be one of the reasons. “Often times when you think about the middle class you think about people who are able to invest in their future — being able to save for a rainy day or if somebody loses a job in your family, being able to cover that,” said Elise Gould, a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute. “$75,000, depending on where you’re living, may not allow you to make that kind of investment.” Among the other factors that affect whether a household can afford to save for retirement are child care, transportation, health care and student loans.
Source: Washington Post
HUD Loan Sale Program Struggling to Help Hard-Hit Neighborhoods
Since 2012, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has sold $3.7 billion in loans to help homeowners and communities hurt by foreclosures during the housing crisis. However, a new report finds that, despite HUD’s goal of having half of the loans achieve a positive outcome for the community within four years, only 13% of borrowers have resumed payments on their mortgages, and that half of the loans still linger in “interim status” due to borrowers who abandoned their homes. Some argue that nonprofits with a focus on community stabilization should have greater access to purchasing these portfolios.
L.A. Looks into Forming a Single Committee to Tackle Homelessness
In response to a report which found that that the city of Los Angeles spends $100 million in an uncoordinated approach to meeting the needs of its 23,000 homeless residents, a city councilmember is calling for a new committee to handle all of the city’s homeless initiatives. “It’s a disjointed effort with no coordination internally,” said City Councilman Jose Huizar, adding, “It’s a crisis. There’s no accountability in the city for who’s responsible for homelessness.”
Source: Los Angeles Times
NYC’s Public Transit Ridership at Highest Levels in 65 Years
New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority is touting the transit system’s successes and sky-high use as reasons to support a $32 billion capital plan for the years 2015 through 2019 to improve commutes for residents throughout the city. “The renaissance of the New York City subway is a miracle for those who remember the decrepit system of the 1970s and the 1980s, but moving more than six million customers a day means even minor disruptions now can create major delays,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast. Travelers took 1.75 billion trips on the city’s transit system in 2014 — its highest total since World War II.
Source: Next City