Housing News Roundup: May 1, 2015
San Francisco Shelter is Going its Own Way — and Succeeding
The Navigation Center, a homeless shelter in San Francisco’s Mission District, is finding success by throwing out the traditional way of doing things and following its own path. The pilot project focuses on encampments, giving groups of friends, couples and even people’s dogs a place to stay. The more accommodating approach makes it easier to attract and help homeless people. “When you set up a lot of rules, a lot of requirements, and a lot of appointments to sign up for benefits, the odds are that person’s going to fail,” said Bevan Dufty, director of the mayor’s office of Housing Opportunity, Partnerships & Engagement, one of the agencies that helps run the Navigation Center. “Our goal here is to make it really difficult to fail.”
‘Income Inequality’ Shaping Out to Be a Key Issue in the Presidential Race
Presidential elections tend to find all candidates speaking to a core set of issues that are most relevant to the public at that particular time. Right now, the major economic issue is income inequality, according to U.S. News and World Report. “Now that the rubble has been cleared from the Great Recession … people on the low- and middle segment of the income spectrum have started to demand answers to a deeper and longer-in-development problem: why are the people at the top making so much money, while others work full time and must still rely on federal assistance to buy food and afford housing?”
Source: U.S. News and World Report
In Denver, Affordable Housing is Big Business
Denver’s focus on improving its affordable housing stock has been a benefit for everyone. From 2009 to 2013, the construction of affordable housing generated $543 million in local income, $54 million in revenue and 7,345 jobs. “With the cost of shelter in the metro Denver region rising and wages failing to keep up, affordable housing development is more important than ever,” said economist Elliot Eisenberg.
Source: Denver Business Journal
One in Four Renters Spends Half of their Income on Housing Costs
Approximately 25% of renters spend more than half of their income on housing and utilities. That comes out to 11.25 million households — a 26% increase since just 2007. More than 30% of income going toward housing costs is classified as “burdensome.” The findings come as rent continues to climb faster than wages and affordable housing opportunities aren’t meeting demand. “It means making really difficult trade-offs,” said Angela Boyd, a vice president at Enterprise Community Partners. “There are daily financial dilemmas about making their rent or buying groceries.”
D.C. Metro Riders May Have Troubled Commutes Ahead
Washington, D.C.’s Metro system has the second-highest annual ridership of any subway system in the country and extends throughout the region, in low-income and high-income areas alike. However, Congress is considering cutting Metro’s maintenance and development budget by half — down to $75 million — which is raising concerns about the continued safety of commutes. “Providing anything less than the federal commitment of $150 million would jeopardize rider safety and the successful partnership with Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia to fund the purchase of new rail cars and vital safety improvements throughout the system,” said eight House members in a statement.
Source: Next City