Housing News Roundup: November 12, 2015
Change to Affordable Housing Lottery Prioritizes Locals
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors Land Use and Economic Development Committee on Monday unanimously approved a proposal to reserve 40 percent of newly developed affordable units for residents of the surrounding neighborhood. In order to move into the new affordable housing units, individuals must win a lottery that has been criticized as cumbersome and not widely advertised. In particular, residents complain that too many of the limited number of units have been made available to people from outside the community rather than to the primarily black residents from the neighborhoods where the development is occurring. The board will vote on the proposal next week; if approved, the city would need to obtain permission to use this neighborhood preference in projects using state and federal funds.
Source: The San Francisco Examiner
Permanent Supportive Housing for Veterans Opens
In June, a new permanent supportive housing project for veterans opened in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Veterans Manor, a 50-unit project serving veterans from all branches of the military, was developed by Cardinal Capital Management and the Center for Veterans Issues. According to Joe Thomae, asset manager at Cardinal Capital Management, community support made the project possible. “The county, the city, and the neighborhood were universally 100 percent for this. They look at this as their responsibility and obligation to do the right thing for veterans.” In addition to setting rents at 30 percent of the resident’s income, Veterans Manor provides on-site wraparound case management services to help veterans reintegrate into civilian society and is located a half mile from a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs outpatient clinic.
Source: Affordable Housing Finance
Wider Geographer Alters Findings of Moving to Opportunity
A new study by Pennsylvania State University sociologist Corina Graif revisits findings from the evaluation of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Moving to Opportunity for Fair Housing demonstration. Graif adds perspective to the finding that young boys who moved to higher-income neighborhoods were more likely to engage in risky behavior like drug use, saying that the surrounding neighborhood plays a role as well. “I thought, if the less-than-10 percent poverty neighborhoods had some highly disadvantaged neighborhoods surrounding them, maybe that’s what explained the risky behavior,” she said. By widening the geographic scope of the neighborhoods examined, Graif found that when young boys and girls moved to higher-income neighborhoods surrounded by similarly advantaged areas, risky behaviors decreased.
New Tool Maps Economy by Neighborhood
The Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development (ANHD) recently developed an interactive map that visually depicts equitable economic development indicators. The first edition of “What Does Your Neighborhood Economy Look Like?” looks at each New York City council district, and analyzes 19 economic factors, such as poverty rates and percentage of local jobs paying less than $40,000 per year. Based loosely on ANHD’s Affordable Housing Risk chart, the color-coded chart provides economic developers a citywide perspective that will help them address community development issues. Lena Afridi, who leads equitable economic development at ANHD, says, “It allows people to see that problems they might be having in their neighborhood are not exclusive to their neighborhood.” The chart’s organizers see the chart as a way of focusing advocacy and believe it will help build political relationships across neighborhoods that face similar issues.
Source: Next City
HUD Proposes Smoking Ban for All Public Housing
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has proposed a rule to ban all smoking in public housing across the nation. The rule would ban smoking of cigarettes, cigars, and pipes in all public housing units, common areas, outdoor areas within 25 feet, and administrative offices. A survey conducted by the New York City Housing Authority, the largest such agency in the country, found that in 2012 38% of residents smoked or lived with someone who did, and 35% of households had a child with asthma or other respiratory problems. As HUD Secretary Castro put it, “The argument about secondhand smoke is over. It’s harmful, and we believe it’s important that we have an environment that’s healthy in public housing.” A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that a ban of smoking in public housing would save $153 million in health care, maintenance and savings from fire prevention.
Source: The New York Times