Housing News Roundup: February 14, 2019
Poor-Quality Military Housing Threatens Health and Safety of Service Members and Families
Thousands of military families experience decrepit and dangerous housing conditions—such as mold, lead, vermin, flooding, and faulty wiring—according to a survey released Wednesday and taken by more than 16,000 respondents. Families say their complaints are often ignored, and they cannot withhold rent to demand improvements.
Source: Washington Post
The Link between Natural Disasters and Gentrification
A new paper found that hurricane damage is associated with the likelihood of New Orleans neighborhoods gentrifying in the decade after Hurricane Katrina and that gentrification was more likely in neighborhoods with worse physical damage. The paper also found that gentrification was less likely in neighborhoods with higher concentrations of African American residents.
Seattle Audit Report Reveals Shortcomings in Addressing Homeless Tent Camps
Seattle’s outreach efforts to an estimated 400 unsanctioned homeless tent camps are inadequate, according to a new report by the city auditor. The report also highlights conditions that pose “serious risks to public health and safety,” such as exposed hypodermic needles left in plastic bags waiting for pickup and lack of access to working toilets. The report recommends that Seattle centralize and bolster communication among outreach groups but recognizes that limited resources are a barrier.
Source: Seattle Times
Austin Explores Strategies to Prioritize Affordable Housing
After last year’s approval of a $250 million housing bond in Austin, Texas, lawmakers and advocates must determine how to use the funds and capitalize on the momentum. Some are considering a proposal to waive land-use regulations, such as height and density restrictions, to increase affordable housing stock. Uniquely, this proposal targets subsidized, income-restricted housing instead of attempting to encourage market-rate developers to build reduced-rent units—a popular strategy in other cities.
San Diego Seeks State Funding to Build Countywide Mental Health and Housing Program
San Diego County will apply for up to $125 million in state funding for a plan to acquire, rehabilitate, construct, and preserve permanent supportive housing for more than 1,000 people with mental illness experiencing homelessness or housing instability. The program aims to hire employees who could provide outpatient care, support services, intensive case management, and more. Housing is “an accelerant of other services and improvements,” said Alfredo Aguirre, director of county behavioral health services.
Source: Times of San Diego