Housing News Roundup: May 28, 2015
San Francisco Opens Free Accommodations for Former Inmates
In a new partnership among the San Francisco Superior Court, the Adult Probation Department and a housing clinic, some former inmates will be getting free, temporary supportive housing in a newly refurbished hotel. The program is geared toward people who committed low-level crimes, who are on probation for more serious crimes, or who are homeless and addicted to drugs or alcohol. No alcohol will be allowed and the house will have a curfew and other rules, but tenants won’t be evicted for relapsing. “You can’t let someone out of jail, give them $5 and say, ‘Good luck.’ The better plan is to do things like this so they can go out and get permanent housing, find work and not commit the crimes that got them in trouble in the first place,” said Krista Gaeta, deputy director of the housing clinic. The program will help up to fifty released prisoners.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
Connecticut Fund that Helps Subsidize Low-Income Housing in Jeopardy
A long-standing $40 fee on all Connecticut real estate transactions has helped fund affordable housing, rapid rehousing and green space, but some or all of the proceeds could soon be shifted to general state funds. Governor Daniel Malloy has proposed sending the collected funds to the state treasury to help shore up a projected $1.2 billion budget gap for next year. The state legislature is mulling taking just half, while advocates are lobbying to leave all the funds for their current uses, including subsidizing homeownership and short-term financial assistance to people at risk of becoming homeless. A decision is expected within the week.
Source: New Haven Register
Austin Mayor: It’s Time to Consider Inclusionary Zoning
The city of Austin – which in recent years has seen both rising home prices and efforts to provide low-income housing for those in need – must also take steps to help the “missing middle” that fall between these two extremes, according to Mayor Steve Adler. Adler’s comments came at a recent event held by the Urban Land Institute in Austin. He suggested inclusionary zoning as a possible solution. “This is the time we need to act. We need to find new ways and methods for bringing capital to Austin. We need more tools.”
Source: Austin Business Journal
Waiting to Buy Could Cost Future Owners Big
A lack of housing that is forcing many would-be buyers to delay homeownership could also lose them as much as $20,000 while waiting as little as a year to buy. “Current market conditions give buyers the opportunity to build substantial wealth in the long-term, compared with renters and later buyers, in advance of the projected increase in mortgage rates and continuing price appreciation,” said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for Realtor.com. “The problem is inventory is low, which has many would-be home buyers – especially first timers – standing on the sidelines and missing out on potentially material financial gains.” The average homebuyer will accumulate approximately $217,726 in today’s dollars over the next three decades.
Source: Housing Wire
Bikes to Buses: Stay on Your Side
Affordable and mixed-income developments increasingly hold up bike storage and paths to residents as amenities to reduce commuting costs and increase physical activity. But cities have yet to make much headway in improving safety for bike riders, including keeping buses and bikes from traveling in the very same space. CityLab reports on a decades-old Dutch dividing system that separates the bus stop from the cycling space, sometimes with a divider for increased safety. Many European cities have adopted the divided spaces, which are far less common on the United States.