Housing News Roundup: March 31, 2015
Terwilliger: More Subsidies Needed to Support Affordable Housing
Federal officials and policymakers must double development subsidies in order to ensure the continued creation of affordable housing across the country, according to developer J. Ron Terwilliger, chairman of Charlotte-based Terwilliger Pappas. He said current subsidy levels promote the construction of few units affordable for lower-income people. “You have to pay the rate for concrete, you have to pay architects, you have to pay interest, you have to pay framing, you have to pay for mechanical,” he said. “The return that capital requires on that does not reach the people we’re talking about. It’s got to be subsidized in some way.”
Source: Charlotte Observer
One-third of U.S. Adults Have No Emergency Savings
The effects of the housing crisis continue to linger in myriad ways, with a recent report finding that approximately one-third of U.S. adults — or about 72 million people — have no emergency savings. “The hole that many people found themselves in due to the Great Recession — dug by sharply reduced home equity during the crisis and lagging wages during the recovery — was deep and digging out is going to take more time,” said Paul Weech, president and CEO of NeighborWorks America. Data indicates that the average unemployed person goes 31 weeks without a job, making emergency funds to pay for housing and other necessities critical.
Source: Housing Wire
Cities with Better Social Equity Also See Better Economic Growth
There is a direct link between social equity and economic growth, according to a new report in the journal Urban Studies. An analysis of 184 urban areas from 1990 to 2011 found that a region’s income equality was the “largest and most significant predictor” of economic growth. The findings also support engagement between businesses, community organizations, and local residents. “When you look at these regions that are successful, they’ve been able to create institutions and processes that are binding together diverse populations,” said study author Chris Benner.
NYC Housing Authority Turning Underutilized Spaces into Affordable and Senior Housing
The New York City Housing Authority is selling off underutilized parking lots, green spaces and playgrounds to turn into desperately needed affordable and senior housing units. The agency has sold 54 plots with 441,000 square feet of public land since 2013. Under the prior administration, the agency’s land holdings may have been reused for mixed-income development. Affordable units and tenant engagement play a more prominent role as the agency seeks to maximize the productive use of their land holdings. The planned sales are also part of an effort to make up for a $98 million budget gap.
BPC Launches Senior Health and Housing Initiative
The Bipartisan Policy Center has launched a new initiative to develop policies to support senior housing while also lowering health care costs. “Our aim is to call attention to this emerging challenge facing our nation,” said former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros. “This challenge offers incredible opportunity in the near-term, yet is on track to become a major crisis in the coming years if left unaddressed.” Cisneros is joined on the Health and Housing Task Force by former Sen. and HUD Secretary Mel Martinez, former Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) and former Rep. Vin Weber (R-Minn.).
Source: The Hill