Housing News Roundup: May 14, 2015
The Link Between Poor Neighborhoods and Poor Schools
High-poverty schools can compound the challenges low-income children face when growing up in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty. To review the state of poverty concentration in U.S. public schools, the Southern Education Foundation recently released an analysis of students who qualify for free and reduced-price lunches, which the Urban Institute has now mapped by county. According to the report, poor kids are six times more likely to attend high-poverty public schools, high poverty concentration is found in Southern rural schools and Northern city schools, and black students are six times more likely to attend high-poverty schools.
S.F., Oakland Activists Call for Building Affordable Housing on Public Lands
Housing activists in San Francisco and Oakland are pushing their Bay Area-cities to use publicly owned land for new affordable housing projects. Activists staged a three-hour takeover of the Oakland City Council chambers last week, preventing a vote to sell public land to a developer who planned a 24-story, 300-unit luxury building. Three days later, San Francisco’s City Hall rotunda was filled to overflowing with another group of protestors. “If we don’t build affordable housing on public lands, where will it be built?” asked the activists.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
Pittsburgh EcoDistrict to Bring Together ‘Forgotten’ Communities
What’s in a name? For one Pittsburgh neighborhood, perhaps a brighter future. Uptown’s new moniker the “Uptown EcoInnovation District” is part of a plan to bring together communities that have been largely overlooked by city officials, with an emphasis on transit access and housing affordability, as well as entrepreneurship and community cohesion. “Finding development opportunities centered around transportation accessibility, whether it is walking, biking or transit, feels really critical,” said Grant Ervin, city sustainability manager. “Providing for price points all along the [income] continuum is going to be a key factor that the plan we will be developing.” The district’s transformation includes an emphasis on engaging residents for an inclusive economic transformation.
Source: Next City
FHFA to Spur More Lending for Low-Cost Housing
The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which is the U.S. housing finance regulator, is taking steps to ensure mortgage lenders are providing support for low-cost housing. The move responds to the Federal Home Loan Bank’s hesitation over how they can meet affordable housing goals. Agency head Mel Watt said the measure is focused on “assuring that very-low, low- and moderate-income households and communities have access to credit and affordable housing.”
Facebook Raises Wages, Adds Benefits for Contractors
Recognizing the impact that it and other tech giants are having on California’s economy and standard of living, Facebook is taking steps to turn what have been minimum wage jobs into positions where workers can build for the future. The company will require contractors with more than 25 employees to pay a minimum wage of $15/hour and offer a minimum of 15 paid days off. The company will also pay a $4,000 childcare benefit if the contractor doesn’t already offer parental leave. “Taking these steps is the right thing to do for our business and our community,” according to a statement from Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg. “Women, because they comprise about two-thirds of minimum wage workers nationally, are particularly affected by wage adjustments.”
Source: Washington Post