Housing News Roundup: July 11, 2019
San Francisco Homeless Population Increases 30 Percent—Not 17 Percent, As Per Earlier Reports
On Friday, the City of San Francisco released a report showing that if it had used the same standards for counting people experiencing homelessness as it had in past years, numbers should show that homelessness increased 30 percent since 2017. This contradicts the 17 percent increase that preliminary numbers showed in May. “The helpfulness of the count is that we are comparing those apples to apples, so at least we’re comparing year to year—but now that’s not entirely the case,” said Jennifer Friedenbach, head of the San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
DC’s Attorney General Fights Housing Discrimination
DC Attorney General Karl Racine has requested that Craigslist, Zillow, and CoStar Group block or remove advertisements on their websites that violate antidiscrimination laws, including posts that specify owners will not accept Section 8 vouchers. “Discrimination still makes it hard for too many people to find safe and affordable places to live, find jobs that pay living wages, get a high-quality education, or simply live happy and productive lives,” Racine said in a statement.
Denver’s Affordable Housing Shortage Is Popularizing Community Land Trusts
Since 2017, community land trusts have gained popularity as a policy tool to help Denver residents buy homes and stabilize neighborhoods that are rapidly becoming unaffordable and experiencing accelerated investment. Elevation Community Land Trust just completed its first home in Aurora and plans to complete seven other houses in the same neighborhood, and it aims to build 700 permanently affordable housing units across the state. “When it comes to homeownership, that’s the largest asset that most people own in their lifetime, and what a land trust does is really helps provide that valuable asset for a family but also makes it so it becomes a community asset, a piece of public infrastructure,” said president and CEO Stefka Fanchi.
Source: Denver Post
Charleston County’s New Strategy to Fight Eviction
A new Charleston County court, created after 2018 Eviction Lab data showed that North Charleston had the highest eviction rate in the country, is working to educate tenants about their rights and facilitate communication between tenants and landlords. “Everybody thinks our country, our state, is past all this. Whether it’s ensuring there’s equity in work, equity in housing, equity in how the criminal justice system works, equity in how we feed people…. We are not there yet,” said Sue Berkowitz, director of the SC Appleseed Legal Justice Center.
Source: The Post and Courier
Local Leaders Face Mounting Affordable Housing Pressures
Across the country, municipal leaders are encouraging the integration of affordable housing in mixed-use developments through a range of policy tools. Minneapolis will rezone much of the city to ban new single-family homes, and cities like Atlanta and Austin are requiring a minimum percentage of affordable units in all mixed-use projects. Solutions to the lack of affordable housing are posing a unique challenge in the DC area, where Amazon will soon bring 25,000 new jobs.
Source: New York Times