Housing News Roundup: August 31, 2015
Brookings: Transportation Policy Should Focus on People, Not Cars
The Texas A&M Transportation Institute recently released a report on urban traffic congestion arguing that a focus on decreasing traffic has actually led to more road construction. The study says unnecessary road construction has actually attracted more “induced” traffic, because it has encouraged more driving. Brookings’ Robert Puentes argues that rather than focusing on vehicles’ accessibility, transportation policy needs to focus on how conveniently people can use the system to fulfill their daily needs. Rather than focusing solely on transportation, discussions about traffic need to take into account the housing and real estate sectors to help ensure that transportation policy is really serving the community. Puentes writes, “Let’s hope the next study on urban transportation considers how to make it easier for people to access economic opportunity instead of how to move cars around faster.”
Maps Show Growth in Concentrated Student Poverty
According to Edbuild, a nonprofit organization that studies poverty, concentrated poverty in U.S. schools is rising. The number of students in school districts considered “high poverty”—meaning more than 20 percent of students live in poverty—increased from 15.9 million to 24 million from 2006 and 2013. The percentage of students attending schools in school districts where more than four in ten students live in poverty has quadrupled from 1 percent of the national student population to 4 percent. Rebecca Sibilia, founder of Edbuild, says, “What we’re seeing is a huge spreading of poverty, but potentially more problematic is a deepening of poverty.” Maps show that the Midwest and the South have experienced the largest increases in student poverty, with the change in Florida being the most dramatic.
Source: The Washington Post
Chicago Being Sued Over Affordable Housing Ordinance
Chicago developer Boyne Development and the Home Builders Association of Greater Chicago are suing Chicago regarding its affordable housing requirements. The plaintiffs say the city’s affordable housing ordinance is unconstitutional because it involves taking private property without just compensation, which violates the fifth amendment. Hoyne contends that the ordinance was impropertly applied to one of its properties, a former car dealership which was rezoned for condo developments. The rule requires developers to preserve 10 percent of units for affordable housing or pay a fee of $100,000 per unit. The case comes right as Chicago is set to strengthen its affordable housing ordinance, increasing both the required amount of affordable housing and in-lieu fees.
Source: The Chicago Tribune
Cluster-Site Shelter Program Grows Despite Criticism
New York City pays about $3,000 a month for housing and services per family under a program known as the “cluster-site” shelter program, started in 2000 as a temporary way to shelter homeless families. The program, in which New York City houses homeless families in private apartment buildings, has only grown since then. The program has been broadly criticized for being wasteful and ineffective, and its housing units are in a consistent state of disrepair. It is even blamed for worsening the affordable housing crisis. Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, the city’s deputy mayor of health and human services, says, “We believe that those apartments should be for permanent tenants. It should be permanent housing; it shouldn’t be shelter.”
Source: The New York Times
Connecticut Is the First State to End Veteran Homelessness
Officials in Connecticut say that as of August the state has ended chronic homelessness among veterans. The announcement was made August 27, during a visit to the state Capitol by Bob McDonald, secretary of veterans affairs. Connecticut is the first state to reach the goal set by the Obama administration in 2009 to end veteran homelessness by 2015. New Orleans, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, and Houston have also effectively ended veteran homelessness, but Connecticut is the first to eradicate it statewide. According to data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Veterans Administration, the number of homeless veterans has been reduced by more than 25,000 since 2010, but many challenges remain.
Source: The Military Times