Housing News Roundup: July 31, 2015
Incentivizing the Development of Affordable Housing
New Orleans – like the rest of the nation – is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis that makes it difficult for many of its citizens to afford to live there. In response, the City Council is experimenting with new strategies designed to give developers more reasons to build affordable housing. The City Council has decided to allow apartment developers to build their units on smaller lots in exchange for assurance that there will be affordable units. The new rule is designed to combat the gentrification going on throughout the community and enable longtime low-income residents to remain in the city. Planning officials warn, however, that other density restrictions remain in place that may keep the new rule from being effective.
Source: The Times Picayune
Miami Residents Agree: Housing Costs Are Much Too High
When the Miami Herald asked residents of Miami if affordable housing was unattainable in Miami, the answers were grim. Residents believe that affordable housing is hard to find unless you are willing to move to poor areas, and that finding housing within a reasonable price range has become a serious problem for the community. They say that all too often their incomes are not enough to cover the basic costs of living. However, some respondents believe there are still good options like North Miami, which is affordable but still close to the city’s amenities. Readers also offered various solutions to the problem, from local to federal interventions.
Source: The Miami Herald
Mentally Ill Need Supportive Housing, Not Shelters
Recently, a restaurant owner in New York City’s Washington Heights, in the middle of a conversation about how much safer the area had become in recent years, was attacked by a mentally ill man who was staying in a nearby shelter. While the story is only a single incident, it demonstrates a larger problem facing the city: supportive housing, rather than shelters, are the most effective way of helping the mentally ill and keeping them off the streets. A program started by former mayors Dinkins and Cuomo, ‘New York, New York,’ was massively successful in the past, but in recent years, supportive housing has not been a priority. Of 20,000 applicants who applied to the program last year, it had capacity to accept only 3,000.
Source: The New York Times
Millennials Still Living at Home
Millennials have been increasingly successful in finding work since the end of the Great Recession. However, a recent Pew analysis of Census Bureau data shows that, despite finding employment, many are still living at home rather than seeking their own housing. The high cost of student debt can explain some of this pattern, but a contributing factor is the increasing cost of housing. In many of the strongest job markets, housing costs continue to rise, so many Millennials may still feel as though they cannot afford to live on their own. However, exactly how Millennials are spending the money they earn remains unknown. What also remains to be seen is how their decision to delay starting their own households will work out for them in the long run.
Source: The Washington Post
Gentrification in S.F.’s Chinatown
Change is coming to San Francisco’s Chinatown. Rising rents, an increasing number of evictions and older buildings changing hands are all being viewed as marks of gentrification. Nowhere are climbing housing costs clearer than in the neighborhood’s single-occupancy room hotels. “They’re charging up to $150 a night where we used to see SRO’s going for $600 a month,” according to one resident. As one tenant put it, “Chinatown is dying, that is what I feel.” Residents believe that, in order to keep Chinatown alive, the community needs to update its zoning laws, and that it needs to be accountable to people who have lived there a long time.