Housing News Roundup: February 15, 2018
How Will Budget Cuts Affect the Affordable Housing Shortage?
The administration’s budget proposal eliminates two block grants that state and local governments use to fund affordable housing and infrastructure projects and the funds used to renovate and maintain public housing units, and many question how the cuts will affect an already tight affordable housing market. “We already have a situation where only one in five households eligible for housing assistance gets it. This is only going to make that worse,” said Sue Popkin, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute.
What Will Happen to Puerto Rican Evacuees When Their Housing Vouchers Expire?
Since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, thousands of families have fled to the US mainland. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has processed 1.1 million aid applications from storm victims but has provided basic living expenses, including hotel stays, through vouchers for fewer than half the applicants. On Wednesday, vouchers for 200 families nationwide expired, and Florida is the only state where FEMA will cover state spending on sheltering evacuees.
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
The NYC Housing Authority Could be Sued for Failing to Provide Heat and Hot Water
The Legal Aid Society might sue the New York City Housing Authority if it does not refund up to $15 million in rent to tenants left without heat or water this winter, which has seen the most days below freezing since 1961. Housing authority officials say that between October 1, 2017, and January 22, 2018, 143,000 units did not have hot water or heat for 48 hours on average. “It’s old boilers, but they didn’t have enough staff and enough quality staff to do the work. It rendered their apartments unlivable, and it put people’s lives in danger who had to rely on the stove for heat,” said Judith Goldiner, head of the Legal Aid Society’s civil reform unit.
Source: New York Times
How Can the Transition to Clean Energy Reach People Hit Hardest by Energy Costs?
Energy costs increased three times the rate of rent between 2000 and 2010, causing many people—especially low-income people—to dedicate a large portion of their monthly income to energy bills. “There are people here paying 300, 400, 500 dollars a month. Some are paying utility bills that are as much as their mortgage,” said Andreanecia Morris, executive director of HousingNOLA in New Orleans, which has one of the highest energy burdens in the country. With shrinking federal resources, what will happen to energy assistance?
New Report Reveals That Los Angeles Needs Thousands More Units to End Homelessness
A report released Tuesday reveals that Los Angeles County needs more than 22,000 new supportive housing units, 11,000 short-term rental vouchers, 1,281 rapid re-housing spots for families, and 3,200 more beds in temporary shelters to effectively end homelessness. According to the 2017 count, Los Angeles County has approximately 58,000 homeless people. Despite recent investments in housing for the homeless in recent years, there is still a large shortage. The report “provides a road map to address homelessness.”