Housing News Roundup: August 3, 2017
Research Suggests “Black Zip Codes” Are Less Healthy Places for Children
Asthma disproportionately affects black and Puerto Rican children, and a new working paper asserts that characteristics of their places of residence, rather than the people, are responsible for this health gap. The authors analyzed government health records of children born in New Jersey and found that significant shares of all children living in what they deemed “black zip codes” (neighborhoods with at least 27 percent black children) are at higher risk for asthma. The housing stock in black zip codes tends to be older and vacant, increasing the likelihood that housing has mold, vermin, and other asthma triggers. The paper contributes to a growing body of research showing that location determines future outcomes of children.
Source: City Lab
Housing Affordability Is One of the Biggest Challenges Facing Massachusetts Seniors
Exorbitant costs of living are taking a huge toll on Massachusetts’ seniors. Nearly 300,000 residents ages 65 and older do not have incomes that cover their basic needs. Recognizing the need to combat the growing problem, Governor Baker recently established a council to address aging, and last week, the state senate passed a bill that would give cities and towns greater ability to adjust property taxes for several groups, including low-income seniors. Boston plans to start a homeshare network that would match older homeowners who have extra rooms with people who need a place to rent, and a nonprofit is trying to keep up with the increasing demands to provide home repairs to low-income residents. These programs strive to help residents like Joanne Chambers, who says, “As long as I have a roof over my head and we have somewhere to stay and we eat, I’ll get through it.”
Source: Boston Globe
Why Has Oakland’s Housing Crisis Disproportionately Affected Black People?
Seventy-six-year-old Dorothy DeBose could lose her East Oakland home for a second time this year. After her sister died, she fell behind on mortgage payments on the home she inherited from her mother. When Wells Fargo foreclosed on and sold her home, she was confident that the sale surplus would guarantee she could afford the down payment to buy back her home. But now that looks unlikely, as a woman in San Bernardino has stolen her identity and is claiming the sale surplus as her own—meaning DeBose will miss the deadline to secure her mortgage. DeBose’s story is a reminder that African Americans have struggled disproportionately during Oakland’s housing crisis. Seventy percent of people living on Oakland’s streets are black. Often, they are the victims of predatory lending and struggle to find places to live once they’ve been displaced.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
Spokane Houses 100 Youth in 100 Days
Homeless youths Brandi Murphy and Antoine Thomas left expensive Seattle and headed toward Spokane, where they lived out of their car for four months this spring. “You feel judged,” Murphy said, “’cause people think, like, just because you’re homeless you’re not a normal human being.” But about a month ago, the couple found out they would be able to sign a lease as part of the 100 Youth, 100 Day Youth Housing Challenge initiative, in which the city collaborated with Spokane Neighborhood Action Partners and other agencies to find housing for 102 youths. The initiative aims to help young people by addressing shortfalls in the service system. “What we’re trying to do is have the Spokane community wrap around these youth like their families normally would,” said Spokane homeless program specialist Mike Davis.
Source: The Inlander
What New Housing Trends Could Mean for Detroit’s Future
Detroit can expect a resurgence in coming years, according to a new Urban Institute report, which means the city will face new housing challenges in addition to old ones that policymakers will have to tackle. Policymakers will be faced with aging-in-place–related challenges as the number of senior-headed households is expected to double from 413,000 to 828,000, and the city will need to address the rising demand for rentals, a reversal from recent years. The report urges policymakers to note the decline in black homeownership, as African Americans often were hit hardest during the foreclosure crisis and already face challenges. “Home purchasing favors those with liquid cash assets. That is, people who, disproportionately, are upper income and white,” wrote Anna Clark. The report urges confronting these regionally, rather than by county.
Source: Next City