Housing News Roundup: August 15, 2019
The Minneapolis Public Housing Authority Rethinks Its Approach to Eviction
Hennepin County’s largest landlord, the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, oversees more than 6,000 units that are home to low-income residents. After taking 1,500 tenants to eviction court over the past five years, and amid conversations about the fairness of the process, the authority is reconsidering its approach and formed an internal task force to explore prevention and solutions. “I think we’re getting better at working through the needs of residents, working with policy issues, working with partners at the county to facilitate residents keeping their housing,” said Tracey Scott, the housing authority’s interim executive director.
Source: Star Tribune
California Homebuilding Slows
In the first half of 2019, California homebuilders received approval for roughly 20 percent fewer homes than in the first half of 2018. In the Los Angeles–Orange County metropolitan area, single-family permitting fell 18.5 percent, and multifamily permitting dropped 28.6 percent. “We are going in exactly the wrong direction,” said Christopher Thornberg, founding partner of Beacon Economics. The trends suggest it’s become difficult to make money on homebuilding, and construction costs are high. Experts say this limits the amount of affordable land and homes.
Source: LA Times
Sacramento Considers a Car Encampment for People Experiencing Homelessness
Sacramento officials are considering designating safe parking lots to allow people experiencing homelessness to sleep in their cars instead of a tent city. This comes after a January homelessness county estimated that county residents were sleeping in at least 340 vehicles, including 100 children. Parking lots would include bathroom and shower trailers and would have security guards, and volunteers would bring food on-site. Some parking zone programs would provide medical and mental health services and help finding housing and employment.
Source: The Sacramento Bee
Three Boston Hospitals Join Forces to Increase Regional Housing Stability
Three Boston-area hospitals are working together to invest nearly $3 million in the Innovative Stable Housing Initiative, which will identify, assess, and fund strategies to boost housing stability. The initiative will focus on engaging people of color and partnering with community organizations. “Often, what patients need to become healthy is not medical treatment but a prescription for the root cause of what is preventing them from getting well, like housing,” said Thea James, vice president for mission and associate chief medical officer at Boston Medical Center.
Source: Becker’s Hospital Review
New Orleans Limits Short-Term Rentals Like Airbnb
Late last week, the New Orleans City Council voted to impose restrictions on short-term rentals of entire houses that aren’t owner-occupied, limit the number of short-term rentals on commercial properties, and ban most short-term rentals in the French Quarter and Garden District. The vote took place in response to resident complaints that Airbnb was increasing property taxes and damaging historic neighborhoods. Residents and councilmembers say the next step will be ensuring enforcement occurs.