Housing News Roundup: April 4, 2019
How Equity Factors into Congestion Pricing Policies
New York recently adopted congestion pricing in Manhattan, and cities from Philadelphia to Los Angeles are considering following suit. Supporters of the strategy, like Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan, believe it will create “a more equitable transportation system and less climate pollution.” But some caution that congestion pricing is a barrier for low-income people who have been displaced from expensive downtown areas and who must drive to work because they lack access to public transit. To combat this, Stuart Cohen, director of the California-based TransForm, suggests congestion fees could be discounted or subsidized for low-income drivers.
Source: New York Times
Voucher Recipients Struggle for Landlords’ Acceptance in Tight California Markets
Amid California’s affordable housing crisis, vouchers can help house low-income families. But sometimes, households must wait more than 10 years to receive one, and even then, landlords aren’t always willing to accept them. In Los Angeles in 2017, nearly half of recipients were unable to find housing before their vouchers expired, and some evidence shows that race is a factor in landlords’ rejections. “At times, discrimination against a household with a voucher is used as a proxy for discrimination on the basis of race,” said Morgan Williams, general counsel for the National Fair Housing Alliance.
Source: LA Times
Activists Fight Climate Gentrification in Miami
By 2060, Miami is expected to experience one to three feet of sea level rise. This impending change has generated an increase in the value of properties at higher elevations—a trend that’s being called “climate gentrification.” In Liberty City, where nearly half of households earn less than $20,000 annually, activists are working hard to keep the area affordable. “It is definitely a race against time,” said Adrian Madriz, leader of the group Struggle for Miami’s Affordable and Sustainable Housing.
King County Residents Want Solutions to the Homelessness Crisis
A new poll found that King County residents feel a moral obligation to help people experiencing homelessness, and most back policies that provide support for people with mental health and substance abuse problems. Additionally, 71 percent of respondents supported increasing the amount of affordable housing in every neighborhood. “What these results tell me is that the average citizen is unsure of what to do but is willing to strongly support any number of solutions to the problem,” said H. Stuart Elway, president of the firm that conducted the research.
Source: Seattle Times
Multnomah County Provides Transitional Housing with Unique Supports
After a 2016 analysis found that African Americans accounted for 26 percent of people in Multnomah County, Oregon’s jails—but just 6 percent of the population overall—the county set out to fill a gap in services. The Diane Wade House provides “culturally specific, transitional housing services for African American women involved in the criminal justice system,” says Abbey Stamp, executive director of the Local Public Safety Coordinating Council. “It is incumbent on justice leadership to say that the justice system has harmed communities of color, and this is an intentional attempt to actually start to acknowledge that harm and provide an alternative specifically to help African American women leave the justice system and get on to stable lives,” she said.