Housing News Roundup: May 17, 2018
As 6,580 People Apply for 95 Units, Housing Lottery Highlights San Francisco’s Affordability Crisis
When Karen Calderon’s landlord learned that the Calderons were expecting a third child, they were kicked out of their home. After sleeping in their car with a newborn for months, they cycled in and out of homeless shelters. When Calderon heard of an affordable housing development downtown with 95 homes, she grew excited to apply—until she learned that 6,580 people had applied to rent there. She drew number 905. Kirk McClure, a professor at the University of Kansas, says lotteries “are a simple manifestation—and apparently an unavoidable one—of the fact that we have never in America made affordable housing a right.”
Source: New York Times
Seattle Passes Big Business Tax to Address Growing Homelessness Problem
This week, the Seattle City Council passed an annual tax of $275 on each employee at businesses that make at least $20 million a year in revenue. The measure is expected to raise $47 million annually, and funds will go toward housing and serving the city’s homeless residents. It has received mixed responses, as some argue that the tax is too low, while others worry about its effect on jobs. “When I looked at this new revenue tax stream, I think we have to convince the public that we are using it wisely and strategically, and I think we’ve failed in that regard as a city,” said council president Bruce Harrell.
Source: Washington Post
Wichita’s Eviction Rate and Poverty Rate Rank Higher than Kansas’s
On average, nearly eight households are evicted in Wichita, Kansas, every day, according to data compiled by the Eviction Lab. The city has a higher eviction rate, higher poverty rate, and higher percentage of rental homes than the state average. “The reality is you could build a million shelter beds and fill it up, but we don’t want people living in shelters; we want people living in the community in their own home,” said Lynn Tatlock, director of homeless services for the Salvation Army in Wichita.
Source: The Wichita Eagle
To Combat Inequity and Segregation in the Chicago Region, Make Affordable Housing More Accessible
According to Metropolitan Planning Council and Urban Institute research, Chicago may experience a 17 percent drop in its African American population by 2030. How can the Chicago region tackle its inequities? A new report from the planning council suggests that among other options, expanding the Chicago Housing Authority voucher program would make more than 3,300 housing units available and promote mobility and accessibility within the city. “To get affordable housing is like finding the golden ticket,” said Chicago resident Joseph Moore.
Source: Chicago Tribune
City Seeks to Increase Affordable Housing Options through New Restaurant Tax
Eighteen years ago, Alexandria, Virginia, had a population of about 130,000 people and more than 18,000 market-rate affordable housing units. Today, it has a population of more than 150,000 but fewer than 2,000 affordable rental units. Last week, the Alexandria City Council agreed to raise the local tax on restaurant meals by 1 percent and to dedicate the funds to the preservation or construction of affordable housing or financial assistance for renters or homeowners. The city expects the new tax will raise $4.75 million a year.