Housing News Roundup: August 2, 2018
Vacancy Is an Often-Forgotten Piece of the Housing Crisis
Housing vacancies surged after the 2008 economic crisis, hitting the Rust Belt particularly hard, according to a new report by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. The study found that the number of unoccupied American homes rose 26 percent between 2005 and 2010 and that small towns and rural communities have about double the vacancy rates of metropolitan areas. The research also found that neighborhoods with high vacancy rates rarely recover, and the report offers strategies to prevent vacancy from happening in the first place.
Investors Take Advantage of Real Estate Market, Leading to Mass Evictions
In Los Angeles and surrounding counties, real estate investors are purchasing old apartment buildings, renovating or leveling them, and hiking rents, leading to displacement and mass evictions of tenants who can’t afford to pay more. Generally, building owners need to give only 30 or 60 days’ notice to terminate month-to-month leases, and these notices aren’t public records, so it’s unclear how many of these evictions take place. “There is something so fundamental about having a home, and if that home is forcibly taken away from you, that just destabilizes every aspect of your life,” said Rachel Kimbro, a professor at Rice University.
Source: Los Angeles Times
New Study Demonstrates the Vulnerability of Boston’s Unsheltered Homeless
A new study found that homeless people living on the street in Boston died at nearly 3 times the rate as those living in shelters and nearly 10 times the rate of the general population of Massachusetts. The researchers collected data on 445 unsheltered homeless adults who lived on the streets and observed what happened to them over a decade. By the end of the study, 134 had died. “This study suggests that this distinct subpopulation of homeless people merits special attention to meet their unique clinical and psychosocial needs,” the study said.
Source: Boston Globe
Portland Tackles Homelessness and Mental Illness through State-Local Partnerships
People with mental disabilities make up the fastest-growing segment of Multnomah County, Oregon’s homeless population. To combat the problem, the Portland Housing Bureau is partnering with Oregon Housing and Community Services and Multnomah County Mental Health and Addiction Services to pilot a $12 million project that will provide housing and mental health services to chronically homeless people. “Homelessness is a national humanitarian crisis. It will take more than cities—but regional, statewide, and federal partnerships to solve it,” noted Portland mayor Ted Wheeler.
Source: Portland Business Journal
Where Will Minneapolis Build the Housing It Needs for Its Growing Population?
The Metropolitan Council projects that the Twin Cities metropolitan area will add 233,000 households by 2040. Minnesota is drafting a plan that outlines how it will accommodate this growth. The plan includes policy recommendations on such issues as zoning, racial equity, and economic development. One proposal that would allow four residential units on any plot of city land—meaning that basements, attics, and garages could be converted into apartments—has received the most attention and mixed reactions.
Source: Minnesota Public Radio News