Housing News Roundup: August 13, 2015
Portland, Oregon Launches Support Program for Residents of Subsidized Housing
A new pilot project, Housing with Services, is poised to offer health services to nearly 1,400 low-income seniors and people with disabilities. The project will provide 11 federally subsidized independent housing properties with “health navigators” to help streamline medical care for residents. The navigators will help connect residents with the medical care they need in order to prevent emergency room visits. The pilot project received $440,000 in federal innovation grants through the Oregon Health Authority, and $430,000 from the Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Foundation, as well as many other grants. The project was conceived when a needs assessment of four HUD Section 8 properties in Portland demonstrated that many residents were not receiving substance abuse or mental health treatment, and that they attended hospitals rather than using preventive care.
Source: Portland Business Journal
Symbolic Affordable Housing Victory in Dallas
The Dallas City Council has struck a deal with Trammell Crow Company, the developer of a 900,000-square-foot mixed-use project underway next to Klyde Warren Park. As part of lengthy negotiations with the city, Trammell Crow has agreed to preserve four units in the Park District complex for residents earning 80 percent of median area income if the city buys the alley behind the development for a million dollars. The city also asked for the affordable units in exchange for allowing Park District to exceed current height restrictions. Although the city did not secure as many units as it hoped, many believe this was an important symbolic victory. Philip Kingston, Dallas City Councilmember, says “Dallas is at a point where it has to do better and it must start being a national leader…and this is one opportunity, particularly where it is situated, to make a statement about what we believe, about what is fair for all of our citizens.”
Source: Dallas Morning News
New Palm Beach Pilot Program Supports Foster Children Who "Age Out"
Palm Beach County is using a $500,000 grant from the Steven E. Bernstein Family Foundation to support the approximately 200 children who “age out” of its foster care system each year. The grant will enable HomeSafe, a local nonprofit that provides residential care for children who have been removed from their homes, to create a new program for young adults who would normally “age out” of their services when they turn 18. Research shows that children who grow up in the foster care system are significantly more likely to be unemployed, suffer from poor health, abuse drugs, and become homeless. Steve Bernstein, president of the foundation, says “I look at this program as an insurance policy to allow the kids we help (ages 8 to 18), succeed after they officially leave our care.” HomeSafe’s new program, The Independent Living Housing Program, will provide housing and other services to young adults who were formerly part of the foster care system.
Source: Palm Beach Post
Proposal Would Address Gentrification by Limiting Property Tax Increases for Longtime Residents
A city councilor in Indianapolis has become a champion of longtime residents by seeking to protect those in gentrifying neighborhoods from being priced out. According to the Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of Realtors, a home in one such neighborhood, Foundation Square, has risen from just $30,000 in 2010 to $131,000 in 2014. Councilor Vop Osili wants to slow the speed at which property taxes increase in these redeveloping neighborhoods, saying “It’s to protect those homeowners who have weathered the storms of areas in our city that have experienced neglect, so they can remain and enjoy the benefits.” He has proposed a resolution that would enable the city council to change the property tax code such that property taxes are capped or slowed for homeowners who have lived in their homes a certain number of years, and live in neighborhoods experiencing dramatic property tax increases.
Source: WFYI Indianapolis
Real Estate Council of Austin Takes on the City's Permitting Process
The Real Estate Council of Austin (RECA) just released its second research paper, which argues that the city of Austin’s urban planning and development processes are causing an affordability crisis in the region. Its first paper called for 100,000 housing units across all price points by 2025, and the second details its view that the development review process needs to be reformed. According to RECA, the city’s planning processes stymie all housing development, which is causing a supply crisis and a lack of affordable housing. The paper states that Austin’s land use development code is “unworkable” and that the planning and approval process “seems designed to discourage new development rather than to ensure high quality building.” RECA recommends giving the Development Review Department the full responsibility for reviewing permits, and supports other reforms detailed in the controversial Zucker Report on the operations of the city’s Planning and Development Review Department released earlier this year. The Department has since been reorganized into a Development Services Department and a separate Planning and Zoning Department.
Source: Austin Business Journal