Housing News Roundup: November 29, 2018
Camp Fire Exacerbates California’s Affordable Housing Shortage
Butte County, California, has struggled with a housing shortage. Before the Camp fire, more than a third of renters in Chico and Oroville spent more than half their income on housing. On November 8, about 14,000 units, or 14 percent of the county’s housing stock, burned to the ground. With evacuees residing in temporary housing ranging from hotels, to motels, to travel trailers, to Red Cross shelters—and some even leaving the state—what will happen to those who struggled with the cost of living before the fire?
Source: LA Times
New Study Finds Some Black Homeowners Have Made Gains
In 15 metropolitan areas, African Americans’ home values appreciated as much as if not more than their white counterparts’ homes across income levels, new research finds. Between 2012 and 2017, the value of the median black homeowner’s home rose more than 38 percent, while the appreciation rate for white households was nearly 30 percent. Despite these recent trends, African American homeownership nationwide is the lowest it’s been in 50 years. “We need to reaffirm minority homeownership as a way to reduce wealth inequality,” said the study’s author, Dan Immergluck.
HUD Interviews Landlords to Encourage Acceptance of Section 8 Vouchers
A recent Urban Institute study found that 67 percent of Philadelphia landlords refused to accept tenants with Section 8 vouchers. To boost participation, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) may reform the program based on feedback from landlords. HUD regional administrator Joe DeFelice has received inquiries and complaints from Philadelphia landlords about navigating relationships with local housing authorities and inspectors. “I think there is a lot of room to improve how individual housing authorities interact with the landlords around the inspections,” said one of the study’s authors, Martha Galvez. But, Galvez cautions, “I don’t know how much housing authorities can do without a clear directive and funding to support that kind of work.”
An Arkansas County Provides Free Transit to Help End Homelessness
The Pulaski County transit agency in central Arkansas will allow eligible homeless people to ride buses for free, and in exchange, several area homeless organizations will pay for the annual bus passes. Riders can qualify if they show they are working toward stabilizing their life, such as by seeking employment and education from one of the providers that is part of the homeless coalition. B. J. Wyrick, who helped broker the deal, notes that small homeless service providers who serve different homeless populations “are vital to the total system.”
Source: Arkansas Online
Helena’s Affordable Housing Shortage Contributes to Its Worker Shortage
Helena employers across many industries believe that a lack of affordable housing is contributing to worker shortages and note that the problem affects their daily business and productivity. “There is a lot of room for employment and housing,” said Cathy Burwell, president of the Helena Area Chamber of Commerce, “but we need more affordable housing for low-income brackets. This is a huge deterrent.”
Source: Helena Independent Record