Housing News Roundup: June 17, 2015
Forest City Boosts Affordability and Open Space in New S.F. Development
Plans for one of San Francisco’s largest mixed-use developments are being adjusted to address local priorities. The development will now make 33% of the housing affordable to low and moderate-income families. The revisions also more than double the amount of open space in the neighborhood and include $3 million to improve walkability. Forest City also set aside $4 million to go towards workforce development and youth services. According to Audrey Tendell, development director for Forest City, a main goal of the project is “to create a vibrant place that connects downtown and SoMa for people of all ages and backgrounds.”
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
Raleigh’s $20 Million Affordable Housing Program
A proposal encouraging developers to create more affordable housing in Raleigh is underway. The city hopes to provide funding to developers to make affordable housing financially feasible, as well as pursue initiatives that will preserve local affordable housing stock. The proposal considers several strategies, such as partnering with groups like Habitat for Humanity, offering forgivable loans for the rehabilitation and preservation of affordable units, and creating clear standards for developers interested in building affordable housing. Initial funding for the program is $20 million, but Raleigh is considering creating more permanent funding sources by selling bonds specifically for affordable housing, creating an affordable housing fund, or setting aside some fo the general fund for such projects.
Source: The News & Observer
A Stark Look at the Country's Affordable Housing Problem
Although Los Angeles has been working hard to provide affordable housing for low-income families, there are still only 18 affordable units available for every 100 poor families in the city. The Urban Institute study determined that across the country the increase in the number of rental units affordable for families making below 30% of area median income has not kept pace with the increase in the number of low-income families. Between 2003 and 2013, the majority of cities have experienced a decrease in their affordable housing stock, leaving 72% of poor families unable to find housing they can afford. According to the report, “After flatlining investments and the impact of sequestration at the federal level, state and local policies to build and preserve affordable rental housing matter more than ever”.
Source: LA Curbed
Opinion: Don't Denounce Gentrification
Rather than denounce all new investment in economically distressed areas as “gentrification,” Wonkblog reporter Emily Badger reminds readers to consider that many of these areas have been suffering without critical amenities. Similarly, many of these areas have been suffering from segregation. So when new investment enters a distressed area, along with new residents, existing residents often benefit. Not all new investments—like new apartments renting for $2,500 a month in a low-income area—serve the existing population, however many provide needed jobs and access to food and other services that cross income groups.
Source: Washington Post
Mobilizing Against Homelessness with the WeShelter App
A new mobile app is trying to turn a person’s discomfort and concern at the site of a homeless person into an opportunity to help. When users of the WeShelter app see a person in need, they can open the app, tap on a green button and – instead of donating their own money – “unlock” a donation from a corporate sponsor, whose name then appears on the screen. “In effect, the sponsor’s brand is kind of the main event,” says Ilya Lyashevsky, one of the apps’ creators. “There’s a very direct connection to the impulse to do good. The user’s action is directly enabled by the sponsor.” The app, which originated in New York City, also has a button to call the city’s help line if a homeless individual is in need of immediate assistance.
Source: City Lab