Housing News Roundup: February 13, 2015
Domestic Violence Counseling Now On-site at San Francisco Public Housing
Victims of domestic violence who live in San Francisco’s public housing will now have access to two trained counselors, provided through a partnership between the city’s housing authority and the Department on the Status of Women. “According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 1 in 4 women (24.3%) and 1 in 7 men (13.8%) aged 18 and older in the United States have experienced severe violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Some of the people at greatest risk are people living in public housing,” said Emily Murase, Director of the Department on the Status of Women.
Source: San Francisco Examiner
Texas Planned Community Encourages Walking, Park Visits and Knowing the Neighbors
The Mueller Community of Austin has utilized “new urbanism” to create an environment that promotes physical activity, is energy efficient and gives neighbors more of an opportunity to get to know each other. The planned urban design includes a smart grid, parks and sidewalks. (See related How Housing Matters article.)
Zillow ‘Hackathon’ Creates Apps for Finding an Affordable Home
“Smartmove” solves a problem common to people looking for the right place to live. The app, which won first prize in a recent “hackathon” hosted by Zillow, searches for homes based on how their proximity to locations most frequently by the users. Contestant teams had to base their apps on publicly available datasets in areas such as federal housing programs, apartment buildings with accessible units, and transit information.
Source: Geek Wire
Energy Efficient Apartments Save Renters More than $50 Every Month
When apartments are built will energy efficiency in mind, renters can save more than $54 each month on their electricity bills, according to a new study by the Center for Housing Research at Virginia Tech. The study, one of the first of its kind, found that the savings had a direct impact in helping renters to afford housing.
Source: Richmond Times Dispatch
HUD Secretary Castro Defends FHA Insurance Fee Reduction
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro this week defended a recent decision by the Federal Housing Administration to cut the insurance fees it charges lower-income homebuyers. The change, which the FHA announced last month, drops annual mortgage insurance premiums by half a percentage point. “It simply isn’t right to unduly burden borrowers in the present because of the misbehavior of others in the past,” Castro said at a House Financial Services Committee hearing.