Housing News Roundup: November 1, 2018
Los Angeles County Declares a Shelter Crisis
On Tuesday, Los Angeles County leaders declared a shelter crisis, signaling that the health and safety of a significant number of residents are at risk. This declaration gives the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority flexibility to spend $81 million in state money and ignore certain regulations to provide emergency housing. It also gives local governments flexibility in spending the state’s Homeless Emergency Aid Program, which set aside $500 million to combat homelessness. “We still have an incredible social and humanitarian crisis. We definitely need all levels of government to be in,” said Phil Ansell, director of the county’s homeless initiative.
Source: LA Times
Investors Are Buying Most of New York City’s Affordable Housing and Flipping It for Profit
A new report by the Center for NYC Neighborhoods found that investors who buy and flip homes accounted for 62 percent of affordable home purchases in New York City in 2017. It also found that millennial homebuyers are shut out of the housing market and that three-quarters of the city’s senior low- and moderate-income homeowners will need financing assistance for home repairs and to improve accessibility. The report’s recommendations for how to face these realities are relevant to all cities, as large private investment firms have become the country’s largest landlords of single-family homes in the past 10 years.
Another Hurricane-Ravaged Community Expresses Frustration with FEMA Response
Weeks after Hurricane Michael hit Panama City, Florida, local officials and residents are echoing the complaints of many other storm-affected communities about the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) slow response. Three weeks later, an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 people are homeless because of the hurricane, and more than 1,000 are living in three city homeless shelters. Advocates argue that the agency’s failure to provide adequate temporary housing puts everyone from children, to seniors, to people with disabilities at risk. “There should be a playbook for something like this, but apparently there isn’t,” said local lawyer Denise Rowan.
Source: New York Times
Austin’s Antidisplacement Task Force Recommends an All-Hands-on-Deck Approach
The Antidisplacement Task Force convened by the Austin City Council last year just released initial recommendations. The wide-ranging strategies include using existing local funds to provide housing and tax relief and working with private investors to develop affordable single-family homes. The task force emphasizes that strategies will require funding and political will to succeed. “There are a number of tools available to the city that aren’t being fully utilized…and while there are some steps that are currently out of bounds with existing (state) law, there are also some tools we’ve not been bold enough to implement,” said Nefertitti Jackmon, cochair of the task force.
Source: Austin Monitor
Where Are Seattle’s Homeless From?
Contrary to a popular narrative that Seattle is a “magnet” for homeless people from around the country, evidence shows that most moved to the city and King County from within Washington State. Limited data make it difficult to draw conclusions, but experts say that this year’s point-in-time count—which found that about 3 percent of the 800 homeless people surveyed in King County came there to access its homeless service or benefits—provides the best available picture of the population. Experts add that when talking about a “magnet” effect, it’s important to consider pressures homeless people may feel to leave their home cities.
Source: Seattle Times