Affordable Housing

  • Affordable housing program costs more, shelters fewer, By Laura Sullivan, May 9, 2017, National Public Radio: “On the south side of Dallas, Nena Eldridge lives in a sparse but spotless bungalow on a dusty lot. At $550 each month, her rent is just about the cheapest she could find in the city. After an injury left her unable to work, the only income she receives is a $780 monthly disability check. So she has to make tough financial choices, like living without running water…”
  • Section 8 vouchers help the poor — but only if housing is available, By Laura Sullivan, May 10, 2017, National Public Radio: “Farryn Giles and her 6-year-old son Isaiah have been living in a crumbling apartment building with her ex-husband, who’s letting her stay for a couple months. Pigeons have infested the walls of the courtyard. Before she lived here, she was sleeping on and off in her car. But Giles, 26, says she recently felt like she hit the jackpot. She was awarded a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher, which will pay the difference between her rent and what she can afford…”

Affordable Housing Projects

Talk of federal tax cuts chills affordable housing market, By Elaine S. Povich, April 25, 2017, Stateline: “The planned A.O. Flats housing development in this city’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood was billed as an oasis for low- and middle-income families, a place where they could get affordable housing in an increasingly affluent area. Financing was nearly in place and construction was set to begin until President Donald Trump and Congress started talking right after the election about delivering the biggest overhaul of the federal tax code in more than 30 years. Those plans include simplifying tax law as well as cutting taxes, especially for the better-off and for corporations. Suddenly, because of the proposed slash in corporate tax rates, federal low-income housing tax credits, the key to financing almost every affordable housing project in the nation, looked like they might be worth less to investors…”

Low-Income Housing – Wisconsin, Texas

  • Scott Walker’s budget would limit low-income tax credits to those who work, By Jason Stein, February 13, 2017, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Gov. Scott Walker’s budget would require able-bodied adults to work to receive a low-income housing credit — part of broader proposals in the bill to move more people into jobs. Starting in 2018, able-bodied adults below the age of 62 will need to earn money to claim the state’s Homestead Credit. The disabled and seniors would be exempt from the requirement…”
  • State lawmakers take aim at low-income housing, By Lydia DePillis, February 15, 2017, Houston Chronicle: “Two bills filed this month in the state legislature would make it harder to develop affordable housing in Texas, imposing onerous new requirements on the projects and giving neighbors broad powers to oppose them. Although the chances of passage are unclear — thousands of measures are filed during the four-month session and only a few become law — the bills would be consistent with many other restrictions the legislature has placed on affordable housing development. Meanwhile, helping low-income people access housing is a rising concern for Texas cities, as a flood of new residents has boosted the cost of both rental and for-sale units…”

Low-Income Housing in Ohio

Not enough low-income housing is being built in better neighborhoods, report finds, By Rachel Dissell, August 18, 2016, Cleveland Plain Dealer: “Not enough is being done to help build low-income housing in neighborhoods with betters schools and safer streets, according to a report commissioned on behalf of state legal aid programs.  The report found that Ohio gives most of its federal tax credits to developers who pitch projects in distressed neighborhoods that are deeply racially segregated and impoverished…”

Lawrence Journal-World Series on Affordable Housing

Affordable Housing in Lawrence, series homepage, By Nikki Wentling, May, 2016, Lawrence Journal-World: “This five-part series explores the shortage of affordable housing in Lawrence, which is designated through national health rankings as a ‘severe’ problem in Douglas County. We’ll cover the attention that issue has received in the past year and what measures city leaders and others are proposing, moving forward, to improve it…”

Public Housing

  • Syracuse’s public housing creates prisons of poverty; what if they could move to suburbs?, By Marnie Eisenstadt, April 14, 2016, Syracuse Post-Standard: “If David Paccone could, he would begin attacking Syracuse’s poverty crisis from outside the city. He’d build small developments of low-income family housing in DeWitt, Manlius and Fayetteville, in the hopes that some people now in Syracuse’s poorest neighborhoods would move there. But that’s not a solution in Paccone’s arsenal. As the assistant executive director of theSyracuse Housing Authority, he oversees 2,340 public housing apartments. The tenants largely are the poorest of the poor, making less than 30 percent of the average median income — less than $16,000 a year…”
  • Public housing residents could get credit boost, By Philip M. Bailey, April 9, 2016, Louisville Courier-Journal: “The Louisville Metro Housing Authority is partnering with a nonprofit to help its public housing occupants improve their financial future, Mayor Greg Fischer announced Thursday morning.  The city has made an agreement with Credit Builders Alliance to begin a credit building program that Fischer’s office says is one of only five of its kind in the country…”

Gentrification

What happens when housing for the poor is remodeled as luxury studios, By Emily Badger, November 12, 2014, Washington Post: “For years, this brown-brick building near Wrigley Field housed people who had nowhere else to go. It had peeling walls and broken smoke detectors. But its tiny one-room apartments offered homes to residents too poor for a one-bedroom, too risky to pass a credit check, too vulnerable — on the perpetual edge of homelessness — to sign a one-year lease. Today, from the outside, the building looks the same: six stories, with tall windows and an elaborately carved entryway that still announces the property by its pre-World War II name, the ‘Hotel Carlos.’ But it now contains studios remodeled with stainless steel appliances, granite countertops and hardwood floors. Rent reaches $1,125 a month. The ad in the window promises ‘vintage charm.’…”

Section 8 Housing – Oregon

Locked out: Some landlords still turn away Section 8 tenants despite a new anti-discrimination law, By Bennett Hall, October 12, 2014, Corvallis Gazette-Times: “Elizabeth Prevish knew it could be tough to find a house to rent in Corvallis, but she had no idea just how hard it would be when she decided to relocate from Redmond in May. A single mom, Prevish has two sons, ages 3 and 13. The older boy struggles with a serious emotional disorder, and Prevish was thrilled when she got him placed in the Children’s Farm Home for inpatient treatment in January. After months of making the three-hour drive across the mountains to visit her son, she got approval to transfer her federal housing benefits from Deschutes County to the mid-valley — but ran into a brick wall when she tried to use them in Corvallis. So far, she says, half a dozen local landlords have refused to accept her Section 8 voucher — even though such discrimination is illegal under Oregon fair housing laws…”

Evictions from Public Housing

Nonprofit points to benefits of preventing evictions, By Megan Woolhouse, January 23, 2014, Boston Globe: “The state could reduce homelessness and save millions in shelter and other costs by finding ways to prevent evictions from public and subsidized housing, according to a report by a nonprofit housing group. HomeStart Inc., in coordination with the Boston Housing Authority, used its report to track its efforts to intervene in evictions from public housing and to provide financial counseling to poor families. The report said Home Start has prevented more than 500 evictions from the authority’s properties since 2010, not only saving families from homelessness but saving taxpayers thousands of dollars…”

Section 8 Housing – Minnesota

Cuts in federal rent aid are squeezing Minnesota’s poor, By Chris Serres, January 16, 2014, Minneapolis-St. Paul Start Tribune: “Brittannea Stevenson felt like she had ‘won the lottery’ on the day she qualified for federal rental assistance after a two-year wait. A cashier at a Mankato Wal-Mart, Stevenson imagined finally buying her first car and a new pair of work shoes. She spent 60 grueling days scouring the North Mankato area, by public transit and taxi, for an affordable apartment and a landlord willing to accept her rental voucher, which would cover two-thirds of her rent. But her search ended quite unexpectedly two weeks before Christmas, when her unused voucher was revoked because of budget cuts enacted by Congress last year…”

Low-income Neighborhoods and Childhood Asthma

Mold, mice and zip codes: Inside the childhood asthma epidemic, By Linda Carroll, January 3, 2014, NBC News: “Javier Sepulveda watches the cockroaches skitter across the floor of his Harlem apartment with a mixture of anger and angst. For him they are more than just a nauseating nuisance: They’re one of the main reasons his 12-year-old daughter, Melissa, sometimes struggles to breathe with the scary sensation that she’s suffocating. Like many others living in low-income neighborhoods, Sepulveda has discovered that his home is implicated in his daughter’s asthma—and that there’s little he can do about it, a Dateline investigation, part of the year-long NBC News ‘In Plain Sight’ poverty reporting initiative, found. Not long ago scientists noticed a link between poverty and asthma. Now they’re starting to discover that where you live plays a big role in explaining the connection. From dilapidated and deteriorating housing to smog-choked outside air, impoverished inner-city neighborhoods are a breathing hazard for both young and old…”

Affordable Housing and Homelessness

  • Lack of affordable housing fuels Connecticut homelessness, By Brian Charles, December 10, 2013,  New Haven Register: “Connecticut’s battle to bring down the number of homeless people living in shelters or on the streets has been hampered by a dearth of affordable housing, according to the Partnership for Strong Communities. At a time when the nation’s homeless population is in steady decline, the number of homeless people in Connecticut has increased. During the last three years, the state’s homeless population has risen from 4,316 to 4,448, according to data collected in January and released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development last month…”
  • With rental demand soaring, poor are feeling squeezed, By Annie Lowrey, December 9, 2013, New York Times: “Violeta Torres cannot afford her apartment. Ms. Torres, a 54-year-old nanny, pays $828 a month for a rundown one-bedroom that she keeps spotlessly clean, making the rent only by letting an acquaintance sleep on a mattress in the living room for about $400 a month. But her one-bedroom happens to be in the booming Columbia Heights area here, where such an apartment, once renovated, would easily command twice the price…”
  • Alaska’s thin line between camping and homelessness, By Kirk Johnson, December 7, 2013, New York Times: “People come to Kenai Peninsula for the natural beauty or for an Alaskan escape from the routines that shape life in fussier places. There are good oil industry jobs, and a Russian patina hangs over the landscape in the names of the small towns and a few orthodox churches that keep the flame alive. When the salmon are running on the Kenai River, you can pull them in until your arms are sore, people here are fond of saying. But those bounties of nature, which have drawn settlers and fortune seekers since the days of Captain Cook, also mask a hard reality. When someone’s life goes awry, through a misstep or a spousal betrayal, a job loss or an eviction, or just a stretch of bad luck, there is not much of a safety net here…”

Low-Income Households and Hurricane Sandy Recovery

  • N.J.’s low-income households still reeling from Hurricane Sandy: Study, By Stephen Stirling, October 26, 2013, Star-Ledger: “New Jersey’s low income households were disproportionally affected by Hurricane Sandy and received a starkly small amount of federal assistance in the year following the storm, according to a new study released by Rutgers University. The study, released Friday by the Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration, analyzes reams of state and federal data to paint a comprehensive picture of where New Jersey is one year after Sandy struck, and shows the state still needs tens of billions of dollars of work to truly recover from the storm…”
  • Public housing residents relying on agency still recovering from storm, By Mireya Navarro, October 29, 2013, New York Times: “The midday food giveaways at Gravesend Houses in Coney Island began soon after Hurricane Sandy, and are still going strong. A year after the storm, the food line is one of many reminders of the persistent vulnerability of New York City’s public housing and the hundreds of thousands of people who live in the projects…”

Homelessness and Housing – New York City

In New York, having a job, or 2, doesn’t mean having a home, By Mireya Navarro, September 17, 2013, New York Times: “On many days, Alpha Manzueta gets off from one job at 7 a.m., only to start her second at noon. In between she goes to a place she’s called home for the last three years — a homeless shelter. ‘I feel stuck,’ said Ms. Manzueta, 37, who has a 2 ½-year-old daughter and who, on a recent Wednesday, looked crisp in her security guard uniform, waving traffic away from the curb at Kennedy International Airport. ‘You try, you try and you try and you’re getting nowhere. I’m still in the shelter.’ With New York City’s homeless population in shelters at a record high of 50,000, a growing number of New Yorkers punch out of work and then sign in to a shelter, city officials and advocates for the homeless say…”

Low Income Housing – North Dakota

Housing challenges abound in North Dakota, By Jessica Holdman, August 25, 2013, Bismarck Tribune: “The groups that build, fund and manage housing in North Dakota all face different challenges, but most agree on one thing: There is not enough affordable housing in the state.“There’s still plenty of work to do,” said Max Wetz, director of public affairs for the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency. The agency funds low- and middle-income housing projects statewide through taxpayer donations given in exchange for state income tax breaks. Wetz said a housing needs study conducted by the agency last year “shows a pretty dramatic increase in needs…”

Mixed-Income Housing – Nashville, TN

Mixed-income plan could lift Nashville public housing, By Joey Garrison, May 16, 2013, USA Today: “Long before Nashville’s Cumberland River found new life as an attraction, a slum community thrived along its East Bank. It grew during the Great Depression. And as the federal government systematically built barracks in cities for the poor in the 1940s, many inhabitants found their next home nearby: a new publicly subsidized housing development erected where a women’s college and mansion had been torn down near East Nashville’s Shelby Avenue. Here, on 64 rolling acres, emerged the James A. Cayce Homes, the doorstep to East Nashville and the city’s largest public housing neighborhood, shadowed by a loud interstate and plagued historically by crime and poverty. But today, as once-forgotten, now-buzzing East Nashville continues its rebirth, the city’s most visible swath of public housing — suddenly occupying a coveted location — is the subject of a planning process to rethink and potentially tear down, rebuild and overhaul the community…”

Section 8 Housing Subsidies

Federal rent subsidies vanish for many low-income Minnesotans, By Randy Furst, April 12, 2013, Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune: “Corinne Lewis, who is disabled and lives in a rental unit in need of repairs, was on a waiting list for six years to get a rental subsidy under a federal housing program. In February, the Woodbury woman was elated to learn that she, her disabled daughter and a granddaughter finally would receive the subsidy under the Section 8 program. She began hunting for an apartment. Then, last month, Lewis got a second letter from the Metropolitan Council’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority. The agency told her the subsidy was on hold because of a reduction in federal funding due to sequestration — the automatic budget cuts that went into effect starting last month…”

Affordable Housing in the US

  • Gap between poor and their ability to pay rent grows, agencies say, By Tom De Poto, March 11, 2013, Star-Ledger: “A report released today by two agencies highlighted the gap between affordable rent and low-income households. Data from the U.S. Interagency on Homelessness and the National Low Income Housing Coalition showed that one-third of households in New Jersey were rentals. The median hourly income – half make more, and half make less – of a renter is $16.77, the report showed, while the housing wage – the hourly rate a worker needs to earn to afford a two-bedroom apartment — is $24.84. For workers earning the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, the gap was even greater…”
  • California is second-most expensive state for rents, report says, By Andrew Khouri, March 11, 2013, Los Angeles Times: “A minimum wage worker in California must toil about 130 hours a week in order to feasibly afford a two-bedroom rental, a new report found. Wage earners must take home $53,627 annually, or $25.78 an hour, to afford a two-bedroom home, making California the second-least affordable state behind Hawaii, the National Low Income Housing Coalition said Monday in its annual Out of Reach report…”
  • Typical Pennsylvania wage is too little to pay the average rent, By Tim Grant, March 13, 2013, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “When a basic two-bedroom apartment in Pennsylvania costs an average $895 a month, renters must earn at least $17.21 an hour — 2.4 times the state minimum wage — to afford a decent roof over their heads. Although the cost of renting a two-bedroom unit in the Pittsburgh region is lower at $772 a month, Pittsburgh households still must earn about $14.85 an hour to afford the apartment, which amounts to more than twice the state minimum wage and 117 percent of what the average city renter earns…”

Housing and Academic Achievement

  • How housing narrows the achievement gap, By Mercedes White, October 29, 2012, Deseret News: “It’s hardly news that an achievement gap exists between children from high-income and low-income families in the United States. Although policymakers, politicians and educators work tirelessly to decrease these differentials, new evidence suggests the gap is actually growing…”
  • Study: Homeless students in Minneapolis score lower in math, reading tests, By Tim Post, October 30, 2012, Minnesota Public Radio: “Of the many academic risk factors that students face, homelessness may be one of the worst according to a study released today. Researchers looked at Minneapolis public school students over a six-year span and found that homelessness and high mobility had a greater effect on grades than other poverty-based measure. Even the most basic elements of school like homework and studying can be tough to sort out for homeless students, or those considered highly mobile because they move more than three times in a year…”
  • Minneapolis homeless pupils lag in math, By Steve Brandt, October 30, 2012, Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune: “Homelessness among Minneapolis students stunts their growth in math and can leave them behind their peers in math and reading for years, according to a long-term study released Tuesday by the University of Minnesota. ‘The risk isn’t limited to the time they are homeless. It’s a persistent risk,’ said Ann Masten, a professor of child development who was involved in the study. Students who are homeless or move frequently make slower progress in math, both compared with their own previous progress and compared with their peers, according to principal author J.J. Cutuli, now a University of Pennsylvania researcher…”

Low-income Housing – Wyoming, North Dakota

  • Low-income, elderly residents decry federal housing cuts, By Josh Mitchell, June 3, 2012, Wyoming Tribune Eagle: “Lillian Allen, a resident of government housing in Cheyenne, is upset about federal funding cuts that could hurt her livelihood. ‘I think it’s wrong,’ the 86-year-old Cheyenne resident said. ‘I think we should help our people here in America.’ Funding to keep the Cheyenne Housing Authority’s 266 local units in good shape has been slashed by the federal government. Those units help low-income, elderly and disabled residents…”
  • Low-income families facing difficulty finding housing, By Jessica Holdman, June 2, 2012, Bismarck Tribune: “With a 1 percent rental vacancy rate in Bismarck-Mandan, affordable housing is hard for everyone to find, but that’s especially true for those on low and fixed incomes. ‘It (demand) is driving the cost of housing up such that there’s less and less affordable housing today,’ said Mike Anderson, executive director of the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency. Even with housing assistance, North Dakota’s low-income residents can’t afford rent. ‘You can have a voucher and still not find place to live,’ Anderson said. North Dakota housing vouchers offer subsidies based on income. Those in the program contribute up to 30 percent of their personal income to rent and the state covers the rest. Renters have 60 days to find an apartment that fits their voucher. If they can’t find a place in that time, they can apply for a 60-day extension…”