Housing News Roundup: February 8, 2018
HUD Might Introduce Work Requirements for Federal Housing Assistance
A leaked draft amendment reveals that the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) might introduce minimum employment requirements for public housing residents and raise rents for households who receive assistance. “It isn’t clear that there’s any policy rationale behind this. If you work, they raise your rent. If you don’t work, they raise your rent. If you’re elderly, they raise your rent.” says Will Fischer, a senior policy analyst for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
What America's History of Public Housing Means Amid America’s Affordability Crisis
Annie Ricks lived in the Cabrini-Green high-rise public housing building for 21 years while working in the community and raising her children. But in 2010, as part of Chicago’s civic remodeling, which included breaking up the concentration of poverty in buildings like Cabrini-Green, Ricks was forced to leave her home for a new public housing development, where she didn’t feel safe. “We were raised to stick together. If you’re a neighbor, you let the next neighbor know what’s going on. They don’t do that out here,” she said. Families dispersed from demolished public housing were left without former network supports, and virtually no new public housing stock has been built in decades. During today’s affordable housing crisis, where does this leave people who depend on federal aid?
Source: New York Times
With Limited US Aid, Will Puerto Rico’s Substandard Housing Problem Worsen?
Much of Villa Hugo—an illegal shantytown in Puerto Rico that emerged after Hurricane Hugo left people homeless in 1989—was damaged or destroyed after Hurricane Maria. Informal homes house about half of Puerto Rico’s population, and most have no titles to their homes. Puerto Rico’s government and US officials say they cannot afford to rebuild as many new homes as are needed. Does this encourage rebuilding substandard housing like that found in Villa Hugo?
Despite Los Angeles’s Denouncement of Criminalizing Homelessness, Arrests Soar
Arrests of people experiencing homelessness increased 31 percent between 2011 and 2016 as Los Angeles Police Department arrests declined 15 percent overall. The top five charges were nonviolent and minor offenses. Some see quality of enforcement, such as fees and arrests, as a way to get homeless people off the streets, while others note that fees are unaffordable, and homeless people go to jail for not paying for offenses that initially only warranted citations.
Source: Los Angeles Times
Headline: A DC Nonprofit Provides a Pathway to Housing with Mental Health Services
Linwood Blount spent about 30 years living on the streets before Pathways to Housing DC found him. The nonprofit helps chronically homeless people with mental health issues move into their own apartments, using a team of mental health experts embedded in areas like parks and encampments. The goal is to reduce downtown homelessness 50 percent in the next year. “The number one thing is relationships, relationships, relationships. They don’t just offer mental health services; they ask each person, ‘What’s important to you, and how can I help?’” said executive director Christy Respress.
Source: Washington Post