Housing News Roundup: February 21, 2019
New Orleans Reduced Homelessness by 90 Percent
Two years after Hurricane Katrina, there were more than 11,600 homeless people in New Orleans. Fast-forward to today, and the city has reduced that number by 90 percent. How? Extensive outreach to rescue and re-house people, a Housing First approach, and federal dollars for rent assistance were key, according to Martha Kegel, executive director of Unity of Greater New Orleans.
North Chicago Housing Authority Violated Housing Quality Standards
A federal audit found more than 60 percent of the housing the North Chicago Housing Authority helped pay for in the spring and summer of 2018 violated federal housing quality standards. Violations included exposed nails, uncapped gas lines, dysfunctional windows, and feces on the floors from a sewer backup. The audit states that more than half of these violations existed before the inspection. The housing authority’s deputy director said that poor housing quality is widespread in Chicago, not just in units paid for with assistance.
Source: Chicago Tribune
HUD’s 2019 Budget Slightly Increases
The passage of the federal budget late last week signaled an end to uncertainty for people who receive federal housing assistance and will result in slight funding increases for most US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs. Among these are tenant-based rental assistance, project-based rental assistance, and the public housing capital fund. Congress rejected a request to cut several block grant programs.
Denver’s Camping Ban Has Serious Consequences for People Experiencing Homelessness
Denver’s urban camping ban, a 2012 ordinance banning people from camping on public property, has acute consequences for the safety of people experiencing homelessness in a city with skyrocketing housing costs. It has resulted in sexual assault and even death for some, says Sophia Lawson, a former outreach worker for the Downtown Denver Partnership.
Washtenaw County Voucher Holders are Restricted to Less Affluent Neighborhoods
Analysis of Section 8 housing voucher data from 2016 and 2017 in Washtenaw County, Michigan, found that, for the most part, the county restricts voucher holders to low-income neighborhoods. Barriers to entry, even for residents who can afford to pay the rent, include tenant screenings (landlords are not required to accept voucher holders) and high fees and security deposits. “With affordable housing being limited right now in Washtenaw County, even though we’re giving out all these vouchers to people, they’re having a hard time finding places to stay,” said Ann Arbor Housing Commission Voucher Program manager Misty Hendershot.
Source: Michigan Live