Housing News Roundup: August 16, 2018
HUD Will Overhaul Fair Housing Rule
On Monday, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it will make changes to the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule, which was created in 2015 to help jurisdictions that receive HUD funding assess and identify solutions to housing discrimination and segregation. HUD’s statement said that the rule has “proved ineffective, highly prescriptive, and effectively discouraged the production of affordable housing.” This announcement follows HUD’s suspension of the implementation of the AFFH rule in January.
Source: The Hill
Health Insurers Invest in Housing to Improve Patient Outcomes and Reduce Costs
After a homeless man named TJ made 254 emergency trips, was admitted to the hospital 32 times since 2015, and cost the US health care system nearly $300,000, UnitedHealth Group decided something had to change. The company secured temporary housing for TJ, bought him furniture, facilitated his move and medical treatment, and educated him on rental housing. Anthem, Atena, and other health insurance companies are also investing in housing, medicine, and other services to reduce health care costs. “Value-based payment is the foundation for any value-based care,” Dr. Sam Ho, UnitedHealthcare’s former chief medical officer. “If you pay only for volume you are only going to get volume.”
Judge Bans Homeless Camps—and Effectively Homelessness—in Cincinnati
Last week, a judge banned homeless camps in Hamilton County, Ohio, and ordered police to arrest anyone who defied the order, which, he said, “effectively made being homeless in most of Cincinnati illegal.” This was permissible, he said, as long as there was enough room in shelters for homeless people currently living on the streets. Executive director of the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition Josh Spring wonders what it will mean in practice. “There are a lot of questions,” he said “If an officer sees you, can he decide that if you’re there a minute longer than he likes, he can arrest you for being homeless?”
Source: Cincinnati Enquirer
First-of-Its-Kind Model Provides a Path to Property Ownership for Low- and Moderate-Income Families
Residents in four ZIP codes around Plaza 122 in Portland, Oregon, can invest in the commercial property for as little as $10 a month through the East Portland Community Trust. This model, which is thought to be the first of its kind in the country, requires investors to be residents, at least 18 years old, and to take a Mercy Corps financial literacy course. It aims to encourage low- and moderate-income households to save and invest. “The thought of investing in something that’s local, something I could physically touch and see, that was very interesting,” said Chris Odom, one of Plaza 122’s 500 potential investors.
The Future Is Still Uncertain for Displaced Puerto Ricans
Civil rights organization LatinoJustice has filed a class-action lawsuit against the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which decided to end its Transitional Sheltering Assistance program with no long-term plan for the thousands of Puerto Ricans who were displaced after Hurricane Maria and are still living in hotels. FEMA representatives say the organization was not designed to be a final solution, while advocates want FEMA to implement its Disaster Housing Assistance Program, which pays for and locates long-term housing for low-income families. “I’ve never had to depend on anyone or the government. People think that is why Puerto Ricans came here, but it’s not true. We just want a real chance to make things work,” said Analee Dalmau, who fled Puerto Rico more than 10 months ago.
Source: Washington Post