Housing News Roundup: January 31, 2019
California Sues One of Its Own Cities over Affordable Housing
Governor Gavin Newsom is suing Huntington Beach, California, for violating a state order to build affordable housing and for not responding to residents’ housing needs. This first-of-its-kind lawsuit is in direct response to the Huntington Beach city council voting against a 2016 proposal to build more affordable housing. “I think people are seeing a lot of building going on, [and] they just want it to stop,” said mayor Jim Katapodis. Meanwhile, Governor Newsom remarked, “Some cities are refusing to do their part to address this crisis and willfully stand in violation of California law. Those cities will be held to account.”
Technology Isn’t the Solution to the Housing Crisis—but It Could Help
Though many new start-ups focus on the housing market, few address the affordability crisis. “None of that investment, nor the solutions that those companies are offering, will fundamentally change the dynamic of the housing market in a way that increases housing affordability,” said Matt Hoffman, vice president for innovation at Enterprise Community Partners. But Enterprise sees potential and has even begun to invest in early-stage tech start-ups. Companies with the most potential to improve affordability are ones focused on saving construction costs.
Source: New York Times
Primary Caregivers to Children with Disabilities Will Develop a Housing Complex to Meet Their Needs
Susan Wallitsch wondered what would happen to her son Frank, a 27-year-old who is autistic and functionally nonverbal, when she could no longer be his primary caregiver. When she couldn’t find a viable option, she decided to partner with other parents of developmentally disabled adult children to establish an assisted apartment complex. Local affordable housing developer Wisconsin Housing Preservation Corp. agreed to contribute half a million dollars, and the project has applied for the low-income housing tax credit program. The complex would be open to people with disabilities at any level of severity and would not be income restricted.
Source: Washington Post
Will the Puerto Rico Recovery Plan Benefit Residents?
As Puerto Rico’s government begins reconstruction, funded by nearly $20 billion in grants from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, residents worry whether the government will spend the money in areas of greatest need, and they hope their community won’t be overlooked. “This money could be the answer for many communities that within an austerity crisis would not see any money coming in, but what we’ve seen so far is that this is a plan for developers and not for the people,” said executive director of Ayuda Legal Puerto Rico Ariadna Godreau-Aubert.
Evictions Hit Black Southern Renters Hardest
Valencia Hicks—who refused to pay rent after her landlord didn’t adequately repair her home—was evicted from her Fulton County, Georgia, home and lacked a lawyer to fight in court. Her story is not uncommon in the South—a region hit hardest by the eviction crisis, according to the Eviction Lab. “Evictions are both a consequence of cumulative forces of poverty—and black poverty—and a cause of it,” said Dan Immergluck, an urban studies professor at Georgia State University. “Evictions hurt folks in all kinds of ways. Because evictions are concentrated in black neighborhoods, it impacts whole communities.”
Source: Macon Telegraph