Housing News Roundup: August 3, 2015
San Francisco Using New Fee to Invest in Public Transit
Civic agencies in San Francisco have designed a new Transportation Sustainability Fee for residential development, with downtown luxury towers expected to contribute the most and subsidized housing exempt. City officials say the fees, estimated to total $14 million a year, would support investment in San Francisco’s overloaded public transit system. The city is poised to propose the new fee because of its “transit-first” policy; because the city is no longer widening its streets, when a development increases the number of car trips, the public transportation system must have the capacity to take just as many cars off the road.
Opinion: Candidates Be Prepared to Talk Housing
Former Massachusetts senator Scott Brown (R) advises all presidential candidates to be well versed in the housing issues facing New Hampshire if they want to be successful in the race. New Hampshire residents have faced rising housing costs that are keeping many young people living at home. With median household income not keeping pace with housing costs, 36 percent of New Hampshire households paid more than 30 percent of their income towards housing in 2013. The trends in New Hampshire reflect struggles faced by Americans across the country, and candidates need to start addressing them.
Source: Fox News Opinion
Climbing the Income Ladder, Staying in Public Housing
Public housing in New York is facing a conundrum; how to serve its neediest residents while also promoting economic diversity. For many public housing residents, seeing increasing prices around them only makes them feel more tied to their current home. Finding market-rate housing they can afford is increasingly difficult, and oftentimes the neighborhood is becoming more desirable. HUD’s Inspector General recently suggested that New York coax higher earning families out of public housing units and make room for more needy families, such as the homeless. However, public housing authorities rely on rents paid by higher earners as federal subsidies decline. The presence of higher-income residents also supports HUD’s intention that public housing developments should not be centers of poverty.
Source: The New York Times
New Orleans without the Working Poor
Many minimum-wage workers in New Orleans face serious housing challenges. In recent years, the urban core of New Orleans has become too expensive for the workers that support the bustling French Quarter’s tourism industry. The inability of the Redevelopment Authority and other local agencies to put many homes back on the market after Katrina, combined with sudden population growth, has edged out many workers critical to the local economy. Possible policy remedies include linking affordable housing with economic development plans, using zoning to encourage below-market contruction, and reusing government-owned parcels for affordable housing.
Source: The Times-Picayune
Program to House Vets Sparks Discussion across Country
A joint effort by HUD and the VA that seeks to move chronically homeless veterans into permanent housing has set off broad efforts to combat homelessness across the country. In New Mexico, the Coalition to End Homelessness has used the program to support “Zero: 2016”: an ambitious goal to end homelessness across the state. “If we can do it for veterans, we can do it for everybody,” said Hank Hughes, executive director of the Coalition. Experts in other states take a more tempered view, citing challenges in estimating the homeless population, and arguing that “ending homelessness” is not simple and does not actually yield zero people on the streets.
Source: The Santa Fe New Mexican