Housing News Roundup: June 29, 2017
Silicon Valley’s Neighbor: Third-World Poverty
The sparsely populated South Coast is experiencing an identity crisis. On the one hand, it is part of San Mateo County, home to many huge tech companies and wealthy tech executives and named one of the country’s most expensive places to live. On the other hand, the South Coast has a rich agricultural heritage that is struggling to survive, in part because minimum-wage farmworkers are facing rising housing costs because of their proximity to the tech industry and because of an extreme affordable housing shortage. The coast’s four tiny towns are isolated, with no access to public transportation, and lack basic infrastructure and services, including sewer systems, drainage ditches, Internet service, hospitals, safe drinking water, and access to affordable food. “We have people living in Third World conditions in the heart of the First World, affluent prosperity that comes with Silicon Valley,” says Erica Wood, chief of community impact for the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Advocates hope that tech companies will consider investing in the struggling area a mere 30 miles away.
Source: The Atlantic
A Long-Term Solution to Santa Fe’s Homelessness Problem
One Door, a $20 million proposal to tackle homelessness in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is a funder shy and a site short of becoming a reality. The group working on the plan hopes that providing temporary housing on a large campus with medical and mental health care, substance abuse treatment, job training, and other services will be a long-term solution to the city’s problem. The proposed project is based on a similar, larger facility in San Antonio, Texas, that has gotten the city’s homeless population off the streets and transformed their lives (many are living independently in permanent homes). Although the San Antonio campus has proven successful, One Door faces a big funding challenge, as many advocates believe public funding would be better spent on affordable housing. If you don’t provide affordable housing, says Joseph Jordan-Berenis, director of the Interfaith Community Shelter at Pete’s Place, “you’re going to create a crisis.”
Source: Fox Business
Rents Will Rise for Regulated Apartments in New York City
The NYC Rent Guidelines Board voted Tuesday to allow landlords to increase rents on one- and two-year leases, breaking with their rent freezes the previous two years. The vote, which allows increases up to 1.25 percent for one-year leases and 2 percent for two-year leases, will affect tenants in about 1 million rent-regulated apartments throughout the city beginning on October 1. The decision was based on a formula that takes landlords’ operating costs into account. Althea Matthews, a 58-year-old Bronx resident who was homeless for two years and now barely makes enough to cover her $500 monthly rent, exclaimed, “I’m angry and it’s a shame. These landlords, they don’t do repairs. It’s messed up.” Meanwhile, many landlords wanted the increase to be higher, and some believe that the board’s vote was a political decision to back Mayor de Blasio’s affordable housing agenda. “What’s happening is that rental housing in the city is being strangled,” said vice president of the landlords’ group Jack Freund. “The economic lifeline of the city is being choked, and the mayor and this board don’t realize that it costs money to run housing.”
Source: New York Times
Innovative Housing Planned for Adults with Developmental Disabilities
Residential Options of Florida (ROOF), a Naples-based nonprofit that is a resource on housing for adults with developmental disabilities, is expanding its capabilities and embarking on a supportive housing project in Immokalee, Florida. ROOF hopes to purchase a three-bedroom, two-bathroom residence to renovate and rent to as many as three adults with developmental disabilities. Services provided would include assistance with daily living needs and medical care. “It’s not enough to be a resource,” said Sheryl Soukup, executive director of ROOF. Immokalee was chosen for the project’s location because of its low cost of living and its lack of housing support for adults with developmental disabilities. There is a huge need for housing for adults with developmental disabilities in Collier County, and parents of children with disabilities are worried about where their children will live after they (the parents) die. The organization is confident they will secure funding, as there are no competing plans in the region. Once the first house opens, ROOF plans to develop new construction projects and expand this supportive housing in Immokalee.
Source: Naples Daily News
Using Trauma-Informed Care to Treat the Homeless
Although the causes of homelessness are complex, experts agree that trauma is a major contributing factor. “Imagine a three-legged stool—we have addiction, and we have mental illness, and we have homelessness, and the common uniting factor is a history of trauma that links these things together,” says Marie Jackson, a licensed social worker at Volunteers of America’s Cornerstone Counseling Center. This mental health clinic in Utah and others like it use trauma-informed care when they interact with the homeless. The approach, which involves being mindful about verbal and spatial interactions and avoiding triggers, has been proven to help the homeless recover and get into and stay in housing. In addition to aiding recovery, this type of care is being used to prevent homelessness and other issues.