Housing News Roundup: June 12, 2015
Governor Cuomo Criticizes de Blasio’s Housing Reform Efforts
Facing a Monday deadline, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo strongly criticized Mayor Bill de Blasio’s affordable housing plan, saying that time had run out to amend a state program, known as 421-a, that gives developers tax breaks in exchange for developing multifamily housing. De Blasio is seeking to reform the program to require developers to build more affordable units. While pointing a finger at dysfunction within the state legislature, the governor also criticized the way in which the New York City mayor had gone about pushing for reform of the program. The mayor’s office responded by saying that the measure could still pass before the Monday deadline because “nothing gets done in Albany until the last minute.”
Source: New York Times
New Data on Housing Cost Burden as New York City Considers Rent Stabilization Changes
New data shows that approximately the same share of New York City’s rent-regulated and market-rate tenants pay more than 30% of income for housing, despite the argument among advocates that rent-regulated tenants pay more of their income towards rent. This news comes at a time when rent-stabilization laws are up for renewal, and advocates are pressing for closing rent increase loopholes that occur with vacancy or crossing rent thresholds. New York City’s Rent Guidelines Board will also consider a freeze for one-year leases on stabilized apartments.
Source: Wall Street Journal
VA Takes Step in Effort to Revitalize West Los Angeles Campus
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has chosen a team of three firms – HOK, Walsh Group, and Core Cos. – to develop a master plan that will revitalize its West Los Angeles campus. When complete, the VA wants the redesigned campus to be a center of permanent supportive housing for veterans, especially those who are chronically homeless, aging or disabled. The decision to transform the campus was part of the January settlement of a lawsuit filed on behalf of chronically homeless veterans. Officials plan to end veteran homelessness in the county by the end of the year.
Source: Los Angeles Times
5 Overlooked Factors that Affect the Educational Outcomes of Poor Children
In order to improve educational outcomes among disadvantagde children, Leila Morsey and Richard Rothstein of the Economic Policy Institute suggest looking outside the classroom at social and economic factors that directly affect a child’s ability to learn. A new report by Morsey and Rothstein focuses on five factors that may hinder the achievement of poor children and have not yet been addressed by education policy: parenting practices in low-income households, single parenthood, irregular work schedules of parents in low-wage jobs, poor access to health care, and exposure to lead. “Policymakers are generally focused on the wrong things. They’re trying to fix things in schools that can’t be fixed in schools,” Rothstein explained.
Source: Washington Post
Google Announces Initiative to Improve City Living
On Wednesday, Google announced Sidewalk Labs, a new initiative that will seek to develop solutions that merge digital technology with age-old urban infrastructure. According to Google CEO, Larry Page, the goal is to develop tools that address issues like cost of living, efficient transportation and energy usage. “At a time when the concerns about urban equity, costs, health and the environment are intensifying, unprecedented technological change is going to enable cities to be more efficient, responsive, flexible and resilient,” said Sidewalk Labs CEO Dan Doctoroff, former CEO of Bloomberg.
Source: Next City