Housing News Roundup: November 9, 2017
The Working Homeless in Silicon Valley
Tes Saldana and her three adult sons had been living in a camper parked on the streets of Mountain View, California, until authorities told them to move. All four work regular jobs, but in the area—which is home to Google and other tech giants—monthly rents are $3,000 or more for apartments, making them out of reach for many families. “This is not a crisis of unemployment that’s leading to poverty around here,” said Tom Myers, executive director of Community Services Agency, a nonprofit based in Mountain View. “People are working.” Saldana and her sons are among many in the area who work but do not have access to affordable housing.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
Civil Rights Groups Fight Suspension of HUD Rule They Say Helps Families Move into Opportunity
In August, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) said it was suspending the Small Area Fair Market Rent rule, which mandates the maximum amount a Housing Choice Voucher provides using zip codes. Using zip code data more accurately reflects the cost of living in a specific neighborhood, allowing voucher holders to move into high-opportunity neighborhoods. In October, five civil rights groups challenged the position, and now, housing advocates are worried about people who are missing out on needed help, future housing segregation, and more.
What Will Happen to the Broken National Flood Insurance Program?
For more than 5 million households, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is their only real source of flood insurance—and it’s broken. The program has spent billions repairing homes that flood repeatedly, and its flood maps can’t keep up with new construction that changes an area’s flood risk. The program’s director that the Federal Emergency Management Agency plans to update 30-year-old rate-setting methods, but other changes are up to Congress. “Put plainly, the NFIP is not designed to handle catastrophic losses like those caused by Harvey, Irma, and Maria,” White House Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney said in a letter to Congress.
Source: New York Times
Massachusetts Study Says Building More Homes Doesn’t Lead to Crowded Schools
A new study by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) found no correlation between growth in the number of housing units and growth in the number of students in public and charter schools in Massachusetts. In Greater Boston, school enrollment dropped 2 percent from 2010 to 2016, while it was down 7 percent in 23 “developing” suburbs and down 3 percent in 43 “maturing” suburbs. “There is little real connection between housing growth and student growth. Yet impact on schools is one of the biggest arguments we hear against new housing in many communities,” said Marc Draisen, the MAPC’s executive director.
Source: Boston Globe
State and Federal Governments Are Pressured to Increase Spending on Affordable Housing
State and federal governments are facing increasing pressure to expand funding for affordable housing in Florida after the influx of thousands of Puerto Rican evacuees. Elected officials have proposed providing federal housing vouchers to evacuees, earmarking more state funds for housing, and tapping funds from several federal housing programs. “Florida is doing the right thing by taking in thousands of our fellow American citizens whose lives were uprooted as a result of Hurricane Maria, and the federal government should have our state’s back,” said Representative Stephanie Murphy.
Source: Orlando Sentinel