Housing News Roundup: March 18, 2015
California’s High Housing Costs Harming the State’s Economy
The high cost of housing in California — where the average home price is $440,000 — is negatively impacting the state’s economy and population in a variety of ways, according to a new report. “The state’s high housing costs make California a less attractive place to call home, making it more difficult for companies to hire and retain qualified employees, likely preventing the state’s economy from meeting its full potential,” wrote the report’s authors.
Source: Wall Street Journal
Philadelphia Group Using Urban Development to Combat Segregation
A Philadelphia organization will use an $11 million grant to repurpose and redevelop public spaces, with the goal of encouraging greater community engagement in one of the country’s most segregated cities. Fairmont Park Conservancy’s efforts will focus on five projects, ranging from a wildlife habitat that children can visit to the transformation of an industrial site into a park.
Study: Income Gap is Growing Even Within Individual Cities
The gap between the rich and the poor continues to widen in many cities across America, demonstrating the importance of deliberate policies for increasing opportunities across income groups, whether through housing, workforce development, education, or other systems. Atlanta, San Francisco, Boston, Miami, and Washington, D.C. topped the list of the most unequal places. “The top and the bottom seem to be living in somewhat separate economies even within these places,” said Alan Berube, a senior fellow with the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. “At the city level, we’re not always seeing much of a relationship between the two. That suggests that market forces alone are not going to help close this gap.”
Source: Washington Post
Tax Programs Help Nation’s Wealthiest Far More than Its Poorest
Tax credits, deductions, exemptions and other forms of tax-based subsidies (known as tax expenditures) disproportionately benefit the wealthiest Americans. An analysis of the $340 billion in tax expenditures for housing, education, retirement and savings found that the bottom 80 percent of Americans by income received $5 billion less than the nation’s richest 1 percent. Tax expenditures in these program areas far exceed the federal discretionary budget for non-defense programs, yet this form of spending is not debated through the federal budget process.
Source: New York Times
Free, Mobile Health Screenings for Kansas City Public Housing Residents
Kansas City area medical centers and the city’s housing authority partnered to bring healthcare access into public housing complexes. Free health screenings through the mobile program were targeted to public housing developments with large numbers of families with children. The health fair included dental services, vision screenings, healthy eating consultations, blood pressure checks and even information on Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act.
Source: Kansas City Public Media