Housing News Roundup: May 30, 2019
Landlords File Four Times More Evictions in Black Chicago Neighborhoods
A new report reveals that landlords in predominantly Black Chicago neighborhoods file evictions four times more often than in white neighborhoods. Advocates link this pattern to poverty and structural racism. “The reason I say ‘look at structural racism’ is because it’s still the question of how do we get to the point to where there are more African American and Latinx renters being cost-burdened compared to white renters?” questioned Peter Rosenblatt, an associate sociology professor at Loyola University Chicago. The report also found that 79 percent of landlords were able to hire attorneys to represent them in court, but only 11 percent of tenants had lawyers.
Source: Chicago Tribune
Berkeley’s RV Ban Backlash Reflects Broader Housing Struggles
Berkeley, California, is home to the highest per capita homeless population in the Bay Area—and also to wealthy and gentrified communities and neighborhoods. The city’s recent recreational vehicle (RV) ban reflects these juxtapositions and was met with such instant backlash that the law was soon suspended. “The ordinance we passed, I will admit we rushed into it. But we were facing a lot of pressure from businesses and residents,” said Mayor Jesse Arreguín. As homelessness increases, affordable housing is limited, and as residents push back against what they consider to be blight, policymakers struggle to find solutions.
Source: Washington Post
HUD Proposes Rule to Segregate or Turn Away Transgender People from Homeless Shelters
Last week the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) proposed a rule change to allow single-sex homeless shelters that receive HUD grants to segregate transgender people, depending on state and local laws. The proposed change says that the shelter could consider “an individual’s sex” for admission or accommodation at the shelter. This rule is in opposition of the Equality Act, which the House of Representatives passed last week but which is not expected to pass the Senate.
Source: NBC News
California Schools Offer Housing Incentives to Attract and Retain Teachers
A movement to provide affordable housing for teachers in California is growing, spurred by the state’s high housing costs and school districts’ struggle to provide salaries that cover basic costs of living. The movement is especially prevalent in the Bay Area, where an analysis found the greatest disparity between rental housing costs and teacher salaries in the state. Dale Scott of Dale Scott & Company, a financial advisory firm that has worked with school districts to fund affordable housing, expects there to be “a fair number” of staff housing bonds on the 2020 ballot.
Source: Mercury News
Infrastructure Is a Top-of-Mind Concern for Mayors
Fifty-seven percent of mayors discussed infrastructure during their State of the City addresses this year, says a new National League of Cities report. The most popular topics ranged from roads and streets, to water infrastructure, to public transit, to parks and recreation. For Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson of Gary, Indiana, the “transformation of public housing” is a particular concern. “It’s important that people not only have a roof over their heads, but they have a place that they can call home,” she said.