Housing News Roundup: July 6, 2015
Cap-and-Trade Funds Long-Anticipated San Francisco Affordable Housing Project
A Tenderloin affordable housing project has found a financial savior: a grant from California’s cap-and-trade program. The $10 million grant will speed up development of the planned 103-unit project, allowing developers to finish the design and construction documents for construction to start in 2017. The state’s cap-and-trade grants have added $47 million to transit-adjacent affordable housing developments in the San Francisco area.
Source: San Francisco Business Times
Incentivizing Private Affordable Housing in Denver
Denver’s rental prices continue to increase, and as a direct result are driving the city’s growing homelessness problem. The region’s affordable housing groups are coming together with federal, state and local officials in an effort to incentivize landlords to rent to people with low incomes or experiencing homelessness. The program would link with existing voucher programs and provide caseworkers to help new residents as well as a fund that acts as a supplemental security deposit. “Apartment owners willing to provide units can be found, but sometimes the last piece to bring them in the fold is a way to assure them they won’t be left with damages when a renter moves out,” said Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan said.
Source: Denver Post
OECD: Americas Work-Life Balance is Abysmal
According to OECD’s Better Life Index, the U.S. ranks high in housing, income and wealth, but we’re desperately trailing much of the world when it comes to work-life balance, with a rank of 29th. The OECD’s Better Life Index was created in 2011 to measure quality of life, something that doesn’t factor into Gross Domestic Product and other assessments of economic strength. Romina Boarini, a senior economist at OECD, suggests that flexible work hours would go a long way toward improving the nation’s work-life balance. Topping the OECD’s work-life balance list are Denmark, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway and Sweden.
Source: PBS NewsHour
Billionaires Speaking Up Against Income Inequality
An expected set of voices is increasingly calling attention to income and wealth disparities: the world’s “socially conscious” billionaires. Paul Tudor Jones II, a private equity investor with an estimated personal net worth of $5 billion, recently gave a TED Talk in which he claimed that the divide between the top 1% in the U.S. and the rest of the country is unsustainable; tech billionaire Nick Hanauer has argued for a minimum wage of $15; and real estate entrepreneur Jeff Greene says the modern U.S. doesn’t resemble “the inclusive economy that I grew up in.” Darrell M. West, author and a scholar at the Brookings Institution, says that when it comes to wealth inequality, the person making the argument is important. “When people of modest means complain about inequality, it usually gets written off as class warfare, but when billionaires complain, the problem is redefined…as basic fairness and economic sustainability.” However, former Wall Street banker William D. Cohan expresses doubts, arguing that if the investor class were truly interested in targeting unfairness, they would alter the policies of the Federal Reserve, which tend to help the rich.
Source: Business Standard