Housing News Roundup: March 20, 2015
Report: 1 in 7 Americans Rely on Food Banks Each Year
Housing. Health care. Nutrition. For many families, this reads not as a list of essentials, but as a series of options that must be weighed against one another, depending on cost. One in seven people in the United States turn to food banks for assistance annually, according to a 2014 study by Feeding America. Approximately 79% of the households helped by Feeding America report choosing inexpensive, nutritionally deficient foods because of their cheaper cost.
Source: Huffington Post
Report: Workers’ Wariness of Construction Jobs Is Impeding New Home Construction
Many construction workers who lost their jobs when the housing bubble burst are reluctant to go back to the now-open positions. This is contributing to the continued slowdown in homebuilding, according to a new study from the Federal Reserve. From 2006 to 2010, construction employment dropped from 11.5 million jobs to 9 million; the industry has since gained back only about one third of the lost workers. “The first obvious place to look for formerly employed construction workers is among the ranks of the unemployed,” said NY Fed economist Andrew Paciorek.
Source: Business Insider
D.C.’s Affordable Housing Efforts Still Lacking
One of Washington, D.C.,’s efforts to improve access to affordable housing so far hasn’t accomplished much — unless you’re in one of the six households that purchased a home during the life of the six-year program. The program requires developers to include affordable units in pricier condo buildings, but the number of units is no match for the rising demand. The affordable units go to buyers making between 50 and 80 percent of the region’s median income of $90,000. Considering the area’s need for affordable housing and adequate homeless shelters, some call for changing the incentives. “Some homelessness is about mental illness and family dysfunction and substance abuse, sure. But mostly, it’s about affordable housing,” wrote Post columnist Petula Dvorak. “And changing that pattern must be No. 1 on our agenda.”
Source: Washington Post
When You Don’t Have a Car…But Still Must Pay for Parking
Zoning regulations can add a hidden housing cost for residents living in urban areas crisscrossed with busy public transit systems: Mandatory payments for parking spots, even for people who don’t own a car. This disconnect is the result of mandatory parking requirements attached to new building permits in cities such as Chicago and San Francisco.
Source: Broken Sidewalk
Boston Is Helping Low-Income Earners Improve Financial Literacy
Adalziza Campbell of Boston works two jobs, but still couldn’t secure a loan to buy a house and has dipped into her savings to cover monthly bills. “I’m making money … Why don’t I have it?” Boston’s Office of Financial Empowerment has opened two centers (and plans a third) to help the city’s residents escape the cycle of poverty by learning about financial matters such as creating a budget and improving credit scores. Approximately half of Boston’s residents couldn’t sustain a lifestyle above the poverty line for more than three months if they were forced to go into their savings.
Source: Boston Globe