Housing News Roundup: October 18, 2018
Homelessness in the Boston Children’s Hospital ER Spikes
A new study found that since 2012, emergency room (ER) visits for homelessness more than quadrupled at Boston Children’s Hospital. It found that 65 percent of children seen in the ER had no medical problems, and their diagnosis was homelessness. Researchers attribute this increase to a Massachusetts policy change implemented the same year, which requires additional documentation of homelessness to qualify for admission to shelters. Documentation could include sleeping in places not meant for habitation, such as emergency rooms. “The emergency department also offers an easier method of documenting their homelessness, since they receive discharge paperwork stating they were in the emergency department for homelessness,” said study author Amanda Stewart.
Knowing They Can Charge Higher Rents, Philadelphia Landlords Refuse Section 8 Vouchers
Though it is illegal for landlords in many states, including Pennsylvania, to discriminate against voucher holders, a recent survey found that 67 percent of landlords in Philadelphia refused to consider accepting Section 8 voucher holders as tenants. In other hot-market cities, rejection rates were higher. Many now wonder about the future of this federal housing program, which serves 2.2 million low-income families. “It used to be that Section 8 was basically a guarantee of shelter for families, for the elderly, for disabled people, but now it’s becoming much harder for tenants to get landlords to take the vouchers,” said Rasheedah Phillips, an attorney at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia.
Source: New York Times
A New Study Underscores Drastic Disparities between Ohio Neighborhoods
A new study conducted by the Health Policy Institute of Ohio (HPIO) found that Franklinton has the lowest life expectancy, at 60 years, of all neighborhoods in Ohio. Meanwhile, the statewide average life expectancy is 77.8 years, and Ohio ranks 46th out of the 50 states and Washington, DC, in HPIO’s 2017 analysis—suggesting that Ohio is less healthy and spends more on health care than most states. “This troubling disparity is attributed to the fact that not all Ohioans have the same opportunity to live a healthy life based on geography, race and ethnicity, income, education, or other social, economic, or demographic factors,” the study stated.
Source: The Columbus Dispatch
States Are Determined to Tackle the Affordable Housing Crisis
Across the United States, renters are struggling to afford rent. In 2017, nearly half of renters spent about a third of their income on housing. This year, as states propose strategies to address the housing crisis—including easing zoning restrictions and ending bans on multifamily housing—experts wonder what these policies will mean long term. “You’re seeing the formation of these policies that could have unforeseen consequences and could make the housing crisis worse,” said Elisha Harig-Blaine, program manager for housing at the National League of Cities.
Source: Christian Science Monitor
Public Hearing Highlights Health and Safety Hazards in New Jersey Low-Income Housing
A public hearing held on Tuesday shed light on the consequences of New Jersey’s policy that does not require landlords of subsidized housing to test for mold or lead. Two-thirds of the state’s homes were built before lead-based pain was banned, and according to Kelly McLaughlin of the Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative, a quarter of children tested have detectable levels of lead in their blood. Meanwhile, thousands have not been tested for the presence of lead in their bloodstreams. “The solution is to remove the…hazards by holding landlords accountable for providing a safe, healthy, and affordable home for their tenants,” she said.
Source: Courier Post