Housing News Roundup: October 5, 2017
Detroit Family’s Quest for Stable Housing Is “a Greek Tragedy”
Latasha Tucker’s children were getting sick living in a home with rodents and sewage problems. They needed to move—indeed, they would face eviction if they did not—but finding a new home was a dead end. Wayne County been losing affordable rental housing, according to research by the Urban Institute. When Tucker finally found a suitable home to rent, a prior tenant’s unpaid electric bill prevented her from moving in. “It’s a Greek tragedy,” said Richard Johnson Jr., the father of Tucker’s 5 year-old son. “We are ready to move, prior to the eviction; now all of the sudden this guy takes our money and he doesn’t want to give our money back. Now all of a sudden we are being evicted.”
Source: Detroit News
Los Angeles’s Section 8 Housing List Will Reopen for the First Time in 13 Years
Up to 600,000 people are expected to apply when Los Angeles reopens its Section 8 housing list for the first time in 13 years. During the 2004 housing lottery, some 300,000 applicants—including 36-year-old Tamara Meeks—got a place in line instead of a subsidy. Meeks has been waiting ever since and hopes she will be one of the 20,000 selected to make up the new Section 8 waiting list. “It’s going to expose the tremendous need there is in Los Angeles for affordable housing and the limited resources that are traditionally available to address this tremendous need,” said Douglas Guthrie, chief executive and president of the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles.
Source: LA Times
How Does Gentrification Affect a Community’s Health?
Emancipation Park, the $34 million renovation in Houston’s Third Ward, has experienced a mixed reception, with many worried about resulting effects of gentrification. “There are a lot of these hidden processes associated with stress,” said Ruby Mendenhall, a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “I think gentrification could help with that, but again I want to stress that those who do not benefit from the gentrification, their level of health and well-being has probably decreased a lot.” There is little research on the health outcomes of residents displaced by gentrification.
Source: Houston Chronicle
San Francisco’s Ambitious Plan to Drastically Reduce Homelessness
This week, San Francisco is releasing its five-year plan to reduce homelessness. Its ambitious goals include reducing the number of hard-core street people by half, ending family homelessness, and eliminating large tent encampments. The Homelessness Response System will merge information from 15 independent databases that track homeless people through various services. Jeff Kositsky, head of the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, said that under the new response program, “You’ll be able to access the system through schools, hospitals, drop-in centers, the HOT (Homeless Outreach) team, and more.”
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
Maryland and HUD Reach a Fair Housing Agreement
Maryland reached an agreement with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to finance the development of 1,500 affordable housing units in Baltimore. This settles a fair-housing complaint that a coalition of civil rights and fair-housing advocates brought against the state in 2011 and includes changes to policies that the groups say perpetuated segregation. “What this means is there are going to be more housing options for families with kids in areas that have good schools, other services, and amenities and lower poverty that are conducive to raising kids,” said Barbara Samuels, a fair-housing attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland.
Source: Baltimore Sun
Study Finds Uneven Reach of Inclusionary Zoning Policies
A new paper found that 80 percent of 889 jurisdictions that use inclusionary housing programs (any program or policy that requires or offers incentives for creating affordable housing when there is new development) are located in California, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. The authors say this is primarily because of state laws or judicial decisions and point to the uneven way cities track the accomplishments of these policies. In cities where affordable housing production does not match market needs, the study begs the question, who has benefited from these programs?