Housing News Roundup: December 10, 2015
California School District Plans Housing for Teachers
To address one of the contributors to a local teacher shortage, the Cupertino Union School District in California announced a plan use surplus school-owned land to build housing for teachers. The 10-acre plot, which is currently leased to private schools, would be used to build 200 one to three bedroom units of affordable housing for teachers. High housing costs in the area affect recruitment of new teachers as well as retention of experienced staff. “When you lose seasoned teachers and teachers who have been here five to 10 years, who got the ropes down, you lose the experience,” according to Dave Villafana, a sixth grade teacher in San Jose.
Source: KTVU Fox 2
U.K Pilot Offers Insight on Kids and Crowding
To address concerns that residents of public housing in the British city of Manchester resided in unnecessarily large apartments, policy makers tested a reduction in housing benefits for those deemed to have spare bedrooms. Under the new program, housing benefits would be reduced by 14 to 25 percent unless same-gender children under the age of 16 share a bedroom. Families with spare bedrooms could move to avoid a penalty. Researchers interviewed families, teachers, social workers, and others to gauge the impact of this change on families. Parents who paid for spare bedrooms reported a reduction in spending on food, heating, and other essentials. Schools attempted to fill the gaps for families by increasing their spending on social and economic supports. In families who opted to move rather than lose benefits, the increase in crowding affected children’s sleep and capacity to study.
Source: BBC News
Portland Considers Anti-Gentrification Plan
A 2013 study of gentrification in Portland, Oregon, may be coming true. The study, which was financed by the city, predicted the next neighborhoods to experience widespread change and displacement would likely be east of 82nd Avenue and south of Powell Boulevard. Community members and advocates are calling on the city to enact anti-gentrification policies. The plan, currently being considered by the Portland City Council, would include just cause eviction laws, rent stabilization, and a policy of no net loss of affordability when new developments are approved. “The tipping point is now,” says Lore Wintergreen, a city employee who serves as an advocate for the East Portland Action Plan. “We can still prevent a lot of displacement here.”
Source: Portland Tribune
New FSS Grants Continue Pathways to Education and Jobs
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced new Family Self Sufficiency program grants, including grants made to New Britain and Meriden. The grants will help residents with HUD rental assistance to develop and implement plans to improve their education and job prospects, while building savings through an FSS escrow account. U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, who represents the district, lauded the grants, saying, “In order for Connecticut to remain economically competitive, it is vital that our residents have access to educational resources that provide for self-fulfillment and the necessary skills for employment.”
Source: New Britain Herald