Housing News Roundup: October 11, 2018
Study Finds Striking Racial Disparities in Homelessness
A study released last month found that older black Americans are three times more likely to experience homelessness than white Americans and that 17 percent of African American baby boomers have been homeless at some point in their lives. The authors say this is the first research since the 1990s that shows whether someone has ever been homeless, as opposed to the annual point-in-time count that captures only the number of homeless people when the study is conducted. “If homelessness has longer-term consequences, a lifetime estimate is an important complement to our homelessness numbers,” said coauthor Vincent Fusaro. Meanwhile, critics worry that using a broader definition of homelessness overstates the problem.
Source: Washington Post
Denver Leaders Debate How to Address an Impending Decline in Affordable Units
Though Denver is spending millions to create income-restricted housing, up to 8 percent of its existing affordable units will convert to full market prices over the next five years as affordability restrictions on rentals expire. City leaders are struggling to agree on a solution. “The folks it’s going to hurt the most is going to be our nonprofit partners, not the for-profit world,” said councilwoman at large Debbie Ortega. Some have suggested implementing longer affordability requirements like Boulder’s, while others are wary of further restrictions.
Source: Denver Post
Richmond Contemplates Solutions to Its Eviction Problem
Richmond, Virginia, is weighing options to address its eviction crisis, which was highlighted in a recent report that identified the city as having the country’s second-highest eviction rates. Martin Wegbreit, who works for the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, posits that the problem is not Richmond’s to solve, but Virginia’s. “What Virginia has that other states don’t have are eviction laws which are some of the least friendly, least favorable, and least fair for tenants in the country,” he said. He added that race is a leading factor, as African Americans tend to experience more evictions.
A Change in University of Washington Policies Will Affect Homeless Youth’s Shelter Options
Occasionally, homeless youth sleep or hang out in the University of Washington’s student union building, but this will soon change when the university finalizes rules that ban laying down on couches, sleeping for more than 30 minutes, using the restrooms for bathing, and other activities. The university is in Washington’s largest hub for homeless youth shelters and drop-in centers and has contemplated how to support this population while enforcing campus safety. As the university tries to find the balance, nursing professor Josephine Ensign worries that new policies will create “one less safe—if not welcoming, at least tolerant—place for them to hang out in the U District.”
Source: Seattle Times
Hundreds Are Still Displaced after Hurricane Florence
After Hurricane Florence hit North Carolina, the Department of Public Safety said that at one point, more than 20,000 people were in shelters. Though most returned home, as of late last week, more than 600 people were still living in Red Cross shelters, and officials report that many others could be homeless. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has paid $82 million through its individual assistance program for homeowners to make temporary repairs, but many homes—especially in southeastern North Carolina—are unlivable. “I just want a place to put my head down at night and know it’s mine, and nobody can tell me to get out,” said Geraldine Grant.
Source: The News & Observer