Housing News Roundup: July 22, 2015
Opinion: Where a Child Lives Shouldn’t Dictate Their Future
As part of its ongoing work to ensure quality, affordable housing for all, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has published a final rule on the process of how local communities use their federal funding to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing, a key provision of the Fair Housing Act of 1968. The move will have a wide-ranging impact on neighborhoods across the country, according to HUD Secretary Julian Castro, who writes that in the city of St. Louis, a child born in the Jeff-Vander-Lou neighborhood can expect to live 18 fewer years than a child born just 10 miles away in Clayton. As part of this new initiative, HUD will provide communities with data and tools to assess the “landscape of opportunity in their area and craft locally tailored plans to achieve their goals,” because according to Castro, “a ZIP code should never prevent any person from reaching their aspirations.”
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Proposed Building Fee Would Help S.F. Improve Transportation
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee’s administration plans to invest $1.2 billion in transit improvements over the next 30 years to meet the needs of the growing region. In order to help cover the cost, a transportation sustainability fee for all new market rate condominium and apartment projects has been proposed by Lee’s administration. The new fee would increase the total already brought in by similar fees by about $14 million. Under the proposal, market rate residential developers would pay a fee of $7.74 per square foot and commercial developers would pay $18 a square foot, up from $14. Medical centers, nonprofits and affordable housing developers would be exempt. “As our city grows, we must ensure that our transportation network grows along with it,” said the mayor in a statement. So far, citizens and stakeholders have largely supported the proposal.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
The Link Between Subway Stops and Income Inequality
What’s the nearest subway station to your home? The answer could give someone a quick and accurate idea of the size of your paycheck. A recent project from The New Yorker, “Inequality and New York’s Subway,” uses the city’s subway stops as a means of analyzing income inequality. MIT Media Lab’s “You Are Here” project has created similar maps for Chicago, Portland, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C. using Census data to examine income variations of residents within a half mile of different stations. For example, Washington, D.C. households near the Green Line, which stops in several poor neighborhoods, having lower average median incomes compared to other metro lines while the Orange Line, which travels through some of the wealthiest neighborhoods, has the city’s highest average income.
L.A. County’s Efforts to Up Its Minimum Wage
Los Angeles County is working toward raising its minimum wage to $15 per hour over the next five years. Supporters of the effort contend that a higher minimum wage will help lift the working poor into the middle class, which would save the county money over time. “Poverty is very, very expensive,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “When we lose billions in lost wages, when we see folks who can’t support themselves, who winds up paying for it? We do.” Los Angeles County is not the first place in the country, or even its own state, to mull a $15 minimum wage; San Francisco and Seattle have already upped their wages to that level. If passed, the new law would affect more than 100,000 workers in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.
Source: The New York Times
Project Brings Mental Health Care and Permanent Housing to the Homeless
A partnership between advocates for the homeless and a local health center is connecting the mentally ill with much needed health services in Miami. The project, dubbed the Lazarus Project, started by identifying key factors that affected homelessness, including lack of access to mental health services. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, approximately a third of the chronically homeless have a mental health condition. The program has already experienced success; although many of its clients have a history of hospitalizations and arrests, few have returned to jails and hospitals because they are finally receiving the mental health care they need, and have moved off the streets or are awaiting placement. The long-term goal is to move the patients into permanent housing.
Source: The Huffington Post