Housing News Roundup: February 12, 2015
Housing Shortage in Portland, Maine, is Keeping Substandard Apartments on the Market
An editorial in Portland’s Press Herald links dangerous rental dwellings to a shortage of housing stock. This predicament forces tenants to rent apartments that may lack safety features such as working smoke detectors or sprinkler systems. “The city’s lack of affordable and market rate housing creates a distorted market that rewards landlords who cut corners. … New construction that’s affordable for workers and middle-income Mainers would force bad owners of older buildings to shape up.”
Source: Portland Press Herald
Blacks and Hispanics Still More Likely to Be Denied Mortgages
Certain minority homeowners experience more difficulty securing mortgages than their white and Asian counterparts, according to a new report. In 2013, approximately 27% of black and 22% of Hispanic mortgage applicants were turned down, but only 10% of white applicants were denied. Reasons for the disparity include differences in income and the fact that communities with a majority of black and Hispanic residents tend to be in areas that were hit hardest by the housing bubble burst and the recession.
Source: Housing Wire
New Documentary Highlights Plight of Homeless School Kids
An estimated 1.2 million students in the United States are homeless. “The Homestretch,” a documentary set to air on PBS in April, looks at the difficulties they face. “Being homeless as an adolescent or young adult entails more than simply lacking a reliable place to resort to after school,” Terrance Ross writes in The Atlantic. “It’s compounded by the absence of stability, both physical and mental, at a time when a person is most vulnerable.”
Source: City Lab
L.A. County Report Links Lack of Quality Affordable Housing and Health Problems
This new report found that high housing costs leave many residents unable to afford medical care or healthy food. “A worker in Los Angeles County needs to earn $26.88 per hour to afford rent on a two-bedroom apartment. Meanwhile, the average renter earns only $18.53 per hour,” according to the document.