Housing News Roundup: June 14, 2018
New York City Housing Authority Agrees to Oversight after Accusations of Systemic Misconduct
This week, federal prosecutors filed a civil complaint against New York City’s housing authority, saying that it lied about its compliance with lead paint regulations, endangering workers and tenants for years and possibly leaving more children poisoned by lead paint than was previously known. The prosecutors said the problems “reflect management dysfunction and organizational failure, including a culture where spin is often rewarded and accountability often does not exist.” The New York City Housing Authority manages the nation’s oldest and largest public housing stock and has agreed to submit to oversight by a court-appointed monitor.
Source: New York Times
Seattle Repeals Big Business Tax to Help Homeless
On Tuesday, the Seattle City Council voted to repeal a tax increase on large corporations after Amazon and Starbucks funded a ballot challenge, and Mayor Jenny Durkan is expected to approve the repeal. The measure, which passed unanimously last month, would have raised $48 million a year to fight homelessness and the city’s affordable housing crisis. Mayor Durkan says she and the city council will continue looking for solutions to the homelessness problem, as Seattle has the country’s third-largest homeless population.
Source: Washington Post
Houston Unveils How It Will Spend More Than $1 Billion in Housing Aid
Houston officials have drafted an action plan for how they will spend $1.15 billion in federal housing aid, which was allocated after Hurricane Harvey last fall and includes $600 million for repairing or building single-family homes and $375 million for fixing or constructing apartments. Tom McCasland, head of the city’s housing department, recognizes that it’s not enough to meet Houston’s housing needs, but he notes, “The opportunity here is one we’ve never had before. It’s a big step toward a city where everyone has a safe, affordable home in a thriving neighborhood.” The city council will vote on the plan on June 27.
Source: Houston Chronicle
Many in Los Angeles Struggle to Afford Basic Needs
A new report found that nearly a million Los Angeles households (nearly 40 percent of the city’s population) do not earn sufficient income to meet basic needs. Peter Manzo, president of United Ways of California, the organization that released the report, noted that housing costs are a key part of the issue. As families struggle to make ends meet, it’s nearly impossible to save to buy a home. “If we could somehow wave a wand and make it so that no one spent more than 30 percent of their income on housing, it would make a huge difference,” he said.
Source: Curbed LA
Minneapolis Rethinks an Ordinance That Encourages Landlords to Evict Tenants as a First Resort
A 28-year-old Minneapolis ordinance that laid out rules for handling problem rental properties encourages landlords to evict tenants as a first resort when police are called to the property. This has led to victims of domestic violence being kicked out of their homes. Councilmember Phillipe Cunningham has vowed to overhaul the ordinance. Though there are more than 3,000 court-ordered evictions in Minneapolis each year, lawyers at Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid estimate that the number of informal evictions are probably double that number. “It’s harming vulnerable renters, and also it’s not addressing chronic criminal behavior,” said Cunningam.
Source: Star Tribune