Housing News Roundup: October 26, 2017
Affordable Housing Stock Experienced a Colossal Drop in Recent Years
A new report by Freddie Mac reveals that the number of affordable apartments for very low–income families fell more than 60 percent between 2010 and 2016. A flood of renters entering the housing market after the housing crisis and a stagnant supply of apartments contributed to this trend. “Absent some kind of government intervention or subsidy, there is just not going to be any investments made at that lower end of the market,” said Urban Institute research associate Karan Kaul.
Source: Washington Post
Puerto Rico Could Lose Its Federal Housing Subsidies in Hurricane Aftermath
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is planning to send a letter to landlords in Puerto Rico telling them that they’re at risk of losing federal subsidies that allow them to provide housing for seniors and low-income residents. HUD officials said they are following the law, which states that properties must meet safety and sanitation standards, but are now considering all options because of backlash from property owners. The National Association of Realtors says that losing the federal money could have devastating consequences for residents, who have nowhere else to go.
Source: Wall Street Journal
Why Some Governments Are Making It Less Risky for Landlords to Accept Vouchers
Increasingly, cities are reimbursing landlords for some losses they incur from accepting applicants who have rental vouchers, including repairs for damages caused by tenants and unpaid back rent. “Many, many communities are doing this, and it’s out of necessity,” says Elisha Harig-Blaine of the National League of Cities. “They simply can’t get people placed into housing with these subsidies.” Such programs attempt to address landlords’ desire to have renters with steady jobs, understanding that housing generally is the first step to helping people get and keep a job.
Philadelphia’s Plan to Protect Renters
In light of Philadelphia’s shortage of safe, affordable housing, the city has proposed a bill to protect renters from unfair evictions. Like eviction provisions in Seattle, Washington; Oakland, California; and other cities, it would require landlords to have a “good cause” for eviction when leases end and would give tenants the right to appeal to the Fair Housing Commission. “You have a right to be a capitalist. But when you wholesale exploit people’s ignorance and poverty, then it is government’s responsibility to step up to the plate and provide protections,” said city councilman Curtis Jones Jr., who introduced the bill.
Phoenix’s New Plan to Combat Homelessness
To combat growing blight, Phoenix is cracking down on homeless encampments and will launch a new initiative called Community Action Response Engagement Services to connect homeless people with necessary services. It will include a hotline where residents can report homelessness issues and outreach teams to transport people to shelters, hospitals, or other services. Phoenix mayor Greg Stanton is optimistic about the plan, saying, “Our goal is not to manage homelessness, it’s to end homelessness,” while Vice Mayor Laura Pastor has expressed concerns about a possible lack of accountability because the plan involves various departments and doesn’t have a single person overseeing it.
Source: AZ Central