Housing News Roundup: January 17, 2019
How Healthy Is Your Neighborhood?
A new map highlights environmental health and socioeconomic disparities in Washington State neighborhoods, showing that people of color and low-income communities are much more likely to live near sources of toxic pollution and contamination. “This map helps policymakers think about where the areas are facing the greatest health disparities and makes investments to lift up those communities so all communities have an equal chance at clean air and clean water,” said Deric Gruen, program director for one of the organizations that helped create the map.
Monterey County Has One of the Highest Rates of Student Homelessness in California
More than 9,000 students are homeless in Monterey County, California, marking an increase of more than 8,000 in the past decade. Housing prices are partly to blame, as rents in Salinas have risen at twice the rate of San Francisco and Oakland. Twelve-year-old Gabrielle, who lives in a downtown homeless shelter, explains, “I can’t concentrate real good to get all my work done. My mom tells me it’s going to be OK. Sometimes I feel it’s not going to be OK.”
Is Oakland’s Innovative Solution to the Homelessness Crisis Working?
To reduce the number of homeless people on the streets, the city of Oakland began moving them into makeshift structures that look like sheds under a freeway. City officials pitched the idea as an innovative emergency tool to ensure shelter. “It is better than nothing,” said Sara Bedford, the city’s director of human services. But critics say the shelters can be dysfunctional, and residents may be exposed to more violence.
Source: The Guardian
Three Financial Corporations to Invest $70 Million in Charlotte Affordable Housing
On Tuesday, Ally Financial, Bank of America, and Barings announced a $70 million investment to increase Charlotte, North Carolina’s affordable housing stock. Funds will go toward below-market loans to affordable housing developers, economic mobility programs and grants, land on which to build affordable units, and more. Ally chief executive Jeff Brown said the bank is “encouraging other companies to join [them] in this important initiative.”
When Your Employer Is Also Your Landlord
Rizi Manzon earns $65,000 a year as a teacher in Santa Clara County, California, where rents average more than $3,500 a month. But thanks to the school district, he pays $1,450. Santa Clara Unified School District owns his apartment complex and rents to teachers—an arrangement that’s becoming more popular in tight housing markets. But some local residents are pushing back.
Source: Herald Tribune