Housing News Roundup: September 20, 2018
Farmworkers and the Homeless Are among the Hardest Hit by Hurricane Florence
Thousands of homeless people, working poor, and farmworkers in North Carolina have been hit hardest by Hurricane Florence. Shelters have reported an influx, and advocates for farmworkers say many didn’t know the storm was coming. “In eastern North Carolina, we don’t have Spanish media. There was almost no warning for a lot of farmworkers,” said Melissa Bailey Castillo, community outreach director for the Kinston Community Health Center. According to the North Carolina Farmworker Health Program, there are at least 150,000 farmworkers in North Carolina, and the National Coalition for the Homeless estimates that there are about 13,000 homeless residents.
Source: Washington Post
Bay Area Housing Costs Are Exacerbating Neighborhood Disparities
A new University of California, Berkeley, study found that rising housing costs are pushing low-income Bay Area residents into neighborhoods with rising levels of poverty and racial and ethnic segregation. It found that a 30 percent median rent increase in a given Bay Area neighborhood corresponded with a more than 20 percent decrease in the number of low-income African Americans, Latinos, and Asians living there, but no significant loss of low-income white households. “The housing market today is operating in the context of an architecture of segregation and vulnerability that was baked into cities and regions over a period of many decades,” said Dan Rinzler, a senior policy analyst with the California Housing Project.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
DC Opens Innovative Affordable Residence for Grandfamilies
Last week, a new affordable housing community for grandparents caring for grandchildren, or “grandfamilies,” opened in Washington, DC. The space includes more than 9,500 square feet of outdoor recreational space, a library, a community room, and other amenities. It serves DC residents making 30 to 40 percent of the area median income (or $22,650 to $30,200 a year). Residents who make 50 to 60 percent of the area median income will have access to 173 units. “Plaza West is an example of how we are ensuring residents and families of all backgrounds and income levels have access to safe and affordable places to live across all eight wards,” says DC mayor Muriel Bowser.
Housing Prices Present a Barrier to First-Time Las Vegas Homeowners
During the financial crisis a decade ago, one in three homes in North Las Vegas went into foreclosure. The story is much different today, as housing prices skyrocket and much of the middle class cannot afford to buy. The city, having attracted major employers such as Amazon in recent years, is one of the fastest-growing in the nation, and renters live in about 45 percent of single-family homes—compared with only 33 percent in 2008. Fifty-one-year-old Angela Guthrie, a mother of four who lost her home years ago, now lives in a rental. “How do you build wealth?” she asked. “My views on homeownership have changed.”
Source: Las Vegas Sun
New Study Highlights Vulnerabilities of Low-Income Austin Residents amid Gentrification
A new report reveals stark patterns of gentrification in Austin, Texas, as affluent residents seek housing options in revitalized neighborhoods near downtown, pushing out low-income residents who are often people of color. The study points to the Texas legislature’s role in the housing unaffordability problem, as it forbade citywide wage increases above the federal minimum and imposed fees on new market-rate developments that are used to fund affordable units, among other measures. “Making a difference will require a considerable investment of dollars—much more than Austin voters have been accustomed to allocating towards affordable housing and antidisplacement,” the report says.
Source: Texas Tribune