Housing News Roundup: May 24, 2018
Kaiser Permanente Pledges $200 Million toward Affordable Housing
Kaiser Permanente announced it will spend $200 million in eight states and the District of Columbia on investments in affordable housing and combating homelessness. The health care giant expects the funds to yield a return so that they can make future investments. “Our goal is that other corporations will see this and really think hard about how affordable housing and homelessness is impacting cities nationwide and their own individual businesses,” said Brooks Rainwater, director of the National League of Cities’ Center for City Solutions.
NYC’s Largest Source of Affordable Housing Is Disappearing
New York City’s roughly 1 million rent-regulated apartments, which make up the city’s biggest stock of affordable housing and the largest rent-regulation system in the country, are in danger of vanishing. Landlords take advantage of gaps in the regulatory system by renovating units (sometimes illegally) and raising rents, forcing tenants out. Meanwhile, onus to investigate is placed on the tenants, and the city’s housing court cannot reliably distinguish abusive lawsuits.
Source: New York Times
Some of Portland’s High-Rent Neighborhoods Are Designated as Opportunity Zones
Several high-rent neighborhoods in Portland, Oregon, along with 86 other areas in the state in need of revitalization, have been designated as Opportunity Zones. These areas, in which corporations and wealthy people will receive tax breaks for investing, were eligible because of their high poverty rates. Spokesman Nathan Buehler noted that although there is no guarantee of investment in the zones, the government chose not to omit places like downtown Portland if they qualified for the program.
Minneapolis’s Plan to Combat Segregation
Minneapolis’s new mayor, Jacob Frey, recently proposed a $50 million housing plan that would provide housing choices to undo patterns of racial and economic segregation. Amid a housing market that has been putting renters—particularly residents of color and cost-burdened households—at risk of displacement, Frey said, “We have an affordable housing crisis in Minneapolis. Values are going up. Rents are skyrocketing out of control. People are being displaced from the neighborhoods they’ve made wonderful to begin with.”
As Forecasters Predict a Worse Hurricane Season Than Last Year, Houston Rebuilds
Post–Hurricane Harvey construction is being built to stricter standards than before, which planners say reflects the local government’s commitment to avoid past mistakes and to prepare for this year’s hurricane season. Yet the region’s projected growth rate spurs the need to build in areas that flood. Recently, the city council approved new floodplain building regulations, which a public works department analysis said would have saved 84 percent of the homes flooded by Harvey.
Source: Washington Post