Housing News Roundup: June 23, 2016
Housing Recovery Leaves Many American Families Behind
The number of American households with unaffordable housing costs has risen after three years of downward trends. By 2014, nearly 40 million U.S. households spent more than 30 percent of their income on housing. Middle-income households increasingly face affordability challenges. In the ten most expensive U.S. housing markets, half of renter households with incomes between $45,000 and $75,000 paid at least a third of income for rent. Housing costs are also leading more young adults to delay household formation. Around 22 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds lived with their parents in 2014 compared with 17 percent in 2008.
Source: Wall Street Journal
Santa Clara to Vote on $950 Million Housing Bond
Santa Clara County, California, supervisors have put a $950 million affordable and workforce housing bond on the ballot for November. There would be $700,000 earmarked for extremely low-income households and/or permanent supportive housing; housing for very low-income households and workforce housing would each receive $100,000 from the bond; and the remaining $50,000 would assist first-time homebuyers. The bond would be paid through a property tax assessment at a cost of $1.9 billion inclusive of debt service. The expected cost for a typical homeowner is less than $100, while businesses and commercial property owners can expect higher bills.
Source: Silicon Valley Business Journal
Pediatricians Recommend Stricter Lead Laws
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a policy statement in the journal Pediatrics calling for stricter rules to eliminate the sources of childhood lead poisoning. “We now know that there is no safe level of blood lead concentration for children, and the best ‘treatment’ for lead poisoning is to prevent any exposure before it happens,” says Dr. Jennifer Lowry, chair of the AAP Council on Environmental Health. The recommendations stem from evidence that even low levels of lead exposure cause mental and behavioral problems. The AAP calculates that every dollar spent on lead reduction in the home would yield $17 to $221 in societal benefits.
Source: Medical News Today
Connecticut Studies Sex Offender Laws
As Connecticut addresses chronic homelessness, the challenge of housing people on the state’s sex offender registry remains. As ex-offenders reenter society with little family support and unstable housing, it can foster an environment that increases recidivism. “In an effort to make things more safe, we are making things more dangerous,” says Cathleen Meaden, senior manager of housing services at Columbus House in New Haven. The Connecticut Sentencing Commission is studying the state’s sex offender laws at the governor’s behest. A similar study of parole access for juveniles sentenced as adults took three years before legislators enacted any changes, “and that was nothing as controversial as this,” says Thomas Ullmann, a public defender and cochair of the subcommittee on sex offender sentencing.
New Kids Count Data Ranks States on Child Wellbeing
Minnesota, Massachusetts, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Connecticut ranked best for child well-being according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2016 Kids Count Data Book. The scores are based on economic well-being, education, health, family, and community trends from 2008 to 2014. Compared with prior data, the 2016 study shows improvements in reading proficiency and health insurance access, but “unacceptable levels of childhood poverty” and other risk factors. The lowest-ranked states were Mississippi, New Mexico, Louisiana, Nevada, and Alabama.
Source: USA Today