Housing News Roundup: August 24, 2015
Editorial: In Minneapolis, Concentrated Poverty is a Bigger Threat than Gentrification
While some local residents are greeting new development along the Humboldt Greenway in northern Minneapolis with disdain and distrust, the Star Tribune editorial board believes it will go a long way in dissolving the concentrated poverty in the area. High-poverty census tracts in the country’s largest 50 cities have tripled, and in Minneapolis, much of these tracts are located in the northern part of the city. The editorial board argues that rising home values and increased homebuilding there are helping to leverage recent public investments made in the area, including green space and public amenities. According to the board, research from the Brookings Institution shows that “the gentle kind of gentrification in store for the Greenway neighborhoods tends to establish the very kind of mixed-income communities that so many city dwellers hold up as ideal.”
Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Charter Schools Close the Achievement Gap in New Orleans
Urban charter schools in New Orleans have made some of the most significant progress towards closing the achievement gap in the nation. In the aftermath of Katrina, the city had the rare opportunity to redesign much of its school system. Its reforms were deep a broad, with its hallmark achievement being a system of public charter schools. Through providing an average of 40 extra days of classroom time in math and 28 extra days of reading per year, the schools have raised the achievement of many of the poorest children in the city to almost that of children from affluent families. Furthermore, New Orleans students no longer perform behind grade level compared with the rest of the state. Perhaps the strongest endorsement of the new system is the fact that it is out-performing other districts in the state affected by Katrina that opted to rebuild their neighborhood-based school systems.
Source: New York Times Magazine
Boston Lawmakers Look Into Regulating Airbnb
While the majority of Airbnb users list their own dwelling for rent when they go out of town, a substantial share of users are advertising multiple listings, which means they are buying investment properties for the sole purpose of renting them out. Anyone renting multiple units is operating a lodging business free of regulation and taxes, a situation that makes Boston lawmakers uncomfortable. Airbnb says it is not opposed to some taxation and regulation, and that it has helped communities around the country fashion rules that enable homeowners to more easily share their homes. In fact, Airbnb users in Philadelphia, Chicago and Washington are all taxed. A major concern is that people renting out investment properties are reducing the already limited supply of housing across the city. Boston City Councilor Sal LaMattina says “I have concerns in terms of investors buying up properties so they can use them for Airbnb. It takes away from the housing stock, and rents go up.”
Source: The Boston Globe
New Orleans’s Rebound Has Left Behind the Black Middle Class
Despite the many strides made by New Orleans since Katrina, the statistics on the black population leave a lot to be desired. Compared with 2005, blacks in New Orleans have a higher unemployment rate, are more likely to live in poverty, lower household incomes, and a larger earnings gap between white and black residents. As a share of the population, whites have returned to their pre-storm total and Hispanics have grown substantially while blacks declined by 7 percent. Although a thriving start-up, grassroots culture is responsible for much of the city’s recovery, many feel it’s also responsible for the changing face of the city because it has led to rising home prices and an increasingly white middle class. Others disagree, arguing that many of the young black middle-class fled the city because of a poor job market, a trend which had been in force for years before the storm hit.