Housing News Roundup: April 8, 2015
State Supreme Court to Consider San Jose’s Inclusionary Housing Ordinance
Five years ago, the city of San Jose passed an inclusionary zoning ordinance to require developers to include affordable, below-market priced units in all new housing developments. Today, the California Supreme Court will hear a legal challenge against the law, calling into question communities’ efforts to meet their pressing housing needs. “It was always assumed these were legal until this case,” said San Jose City Attorney Richard Doyle. “There is a need for affordable housing, yet tools we’ve been given (such as redevelopment money) have been taken away. These ordinances are seen as the last, best hope.”
Source: Monterey Herald
Poor Housing Leads to Poor Schools Test Scores
There is a direct link between a lack of affordable housing and low school test scores among children, according to a Johns Hopkins University professor who spoke at a recent conference on affordable housing. Sandra Newman’s research found that kids whose families spend both too little and too much on housing can suffer in the classroom. “Affordability, it’s still the most important, most prevalent housing problem,” said Newman, adding, “My argument on inequality is if housing affordability affects children, the next generation, and it puts them behind in terms of economic skill, that is going to perpetuate inequality for the next generation. That’s the issue.” (See related How Housing Matters article.)
Source: Chicago Tribune
New York City Tops the Nation in Walkability
New York City is the most walkable large city in the nation, according to the latest data from Walk Score. The analysis of the country’s 2,500 most-populous cities takes into consideration walking routes, pedestrian friendliness and neighborhood and population characteristics. “New York is clearly leading the way in walkability by reclaiming space from cars for people,” said Walk Score co-founder Matt Lerner in announcing the rankings. San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia and Miami are ranked two through five, respectively.
Despite Efforts, Seattle’s Homeless Population is Growing
One of the wealthiest cities in the country is grappling with the question of why its homeless population keeps growing. Seattle trails only New York City, Los Angeles and Las Vegas in its number of homeless people, with more than 3,700 people living on the streets of King County. Despite a ten-year plan enacted a decade ago to provide permanent homes rather than shelters, the homeless population is up 20% from last year. “In a community like ours, we shouldn’t have thousands of people that are homeless,” said Vince Matulionis, United Way of King County’s director of ending homelessness.
Better Housing Options Can Mean Better Employees
Three Arizona banks are investing in affordable housing along Phoenix’s Metro routes as a way to attract and keep better and happier employees. The banks are JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo N.A. and Bank of America N.A. “There is no question that quality of life affects worker performance,” said Arizona State University School of Public Affairs Assistant Professor Joanna Lucio. “Housing and basic life issues are among the biggest causes of stress for employees. Lower income workers with less stable housing situations suffer the most.”
Source: Phoenix Business Journal