Here is our weekly round-up of developments from the world of housing law and health. For the week of August 7-14, 2017:
HUD released its “Worst Case Housing Needs” report to Congress providing national data and analysis of the problems facing low-income renting families. CityLab offers a summary of the report here.
Is California’s housing laws making its housing crisis worse? Natalie Delgadillo at Governing analyzes the impact of the 1985 Ellis Act, which allows landlords to mass-evict tenants in order to leave the rental business.
A new study from University of Hawaii researchers finds homelessness and inadequate housing are major causes of unnecessary hospitalizations. Read more.
HUD is inviting paper submissions for a symposium on housing and health. Submissions will be accepted through September 30. Full details here.
A new Colorado law requires landlords to give 21-days notice of rent increases and lease terminations, via HousingWire.
Amy Clark at the National Housing Conference offers an explanation of YIMBYism — “yes, in my backyard” — via NHC’s Open House blog.
The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a global initiative of UNICEF and the World Health Organization aimed at promoting hospital policies that encourage and support breastfeeding. Baby-Friendly USA, the organization primarily responsibile for implementing BFHI in the United States, has outlined 10 evidence-based practices that hospitals can implement to support breastfeeding — called the 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. These include written breastfeeding policies, staff training, rooming-in, and educating mothers about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
Several states have enacted statutes or regulations encouraging or requiring hospitals to adopt one or more of these “baby-friendly practices.”
The newest map on LawAtlas.org, which was created and is maintained by ChangeLab Solutions, identifies key features of state laws and regulations regarding recommendations or requirements for hospitals related to any of the 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. It also includes state laws recommending or requiring certain hospital discharge practices related to breastfeeding.
In 15 of the 18 states with laws laws or regulations that encourage and support breastfeeding initiation and continuation, hospitals must follow one or more baby-friendly practices.
As of October 1, 2016, 18 states had enacted laws or regulations that encourage and support breastfeeding initiation and continuation. In 15 of these states, hospitals must follow one or more baby-friendly practices.
Below is our weekly review of news and publications related to housing law and equity. This week — July 17-23, 2017 — included news about zoning, segregation and lead poisoning:
Dr. Herbert L. Needleman died on July 18. Dr. Needleman was a pioneer in the study of the impacts of lead on children’s cognitive ability. Dr. Needleman’s research was a catalyst for wide ranging safety regulations. His obituary appeared in the Washington Post.
Jake Blumgart of PlanPhilly writes for Slate on the neighborhood that he grew up in, the persistence of microsegregation, and the importance of continuing to push for diversity in neighborhoods.
ThinkProgress published a series of articles about lead poisoning.
Toledo considers Rochester, NY and its success in reducing the incidence of lead poisoning as a model, via the Toledo Blade.
The National Apartment Association and the National Multifamily Housing Council released a new report on the need of affordable housing units to meet demand in US metro areas by 2030.
After a long battle between the Westchester, NY, and HUD, the department decided that zoning in Westchester is not exclusionary, although similar data was rejected multiple times in the past. Story via the Journal News.
The legal status of medical marijuana in the United States is unique. On one hand, the Controlled Substance Act of 1970 classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug with no acceptable medical use and high potential for abuse. On the other hand, as of February 1, 2017, 27 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws authorizing the use of medical marijuana. This discrepancy between federal and state regulation has led to a wide variation in the ways that medical marijuana is regulated on the state level.
In a study published today in Addiction, our team of researchers from the Temple University Center for Public Health Law Research and the RAND Drug Policy Research Center finds that state laws mimic some aspects of federal prescription drug and controlled substances laws, and regulatory strategies used for alcohol, tobacco and traditional medicines.
In the past, studies on medical marijuana laws have focused on the spillover effect of medical marijuana to recreational use and not on whether the laws are regulating marijuana effectively as a medicine. Using policy surveillance methods to analyze the state of medical marijuana laws and their variations across states, this study lays the groundwork for future research evaluating the implementation, impacts, and efficacy of these laws.
The study focuses on three domains of medical marijuana regulation that were in effect as of February 1, 2017: patient protections and requirements, product safety, and dispensary regulation.
We’re back after a few weeks’ hiatus because of summer holidays. There was much ado this week about the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), spurred by an article in the NY Times (third bullet down). Some of the conversation circling that article are captured in the subsequent bullets.
Here are the latest news stories in housing law and equity for the week of July 2-10, 2017:
Given the local context of housing policy, it is hard to find “one glove fit all” solutions. There is a growing consensus that zoning and land use regulations have made the affordability crisis in booming cities such as New York City and San Francisco worse. Could the policy that harmed one area saved another? Richard Florida of CityLab argues that land use regulation saved the Rust Belt.
Suburbia is still largely thought of as white and affluent, while inner cities are thought of as poor and black. A new book by Scott Allard of the University of Washington, called Places in Need, debunks misconceptions about suburban poverty. The author was interviewed by CityLab.
The United States spends $8 billion each year in tax credits to provide more affordable housing. A The New York Times article on the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) suggests the program entrenches segregation on the lines of class and race.
On the other hand, the Washington Post covers a Stanford study (originally published in NBER in April 2016) that shows that building LIHTC affordable housing developments into low income neighborhoods can increase property values and lead to income and racial integration.
Daniel Hemel, an assistant professor at University of Chicago school of Law, responds to the New York Times article, in his own post here.
In May 2016, Daniel Hertz of City Observatory responded to the Stanford study, pointing at methodological issues and challenging the study’s conclusion, here.
Our latest round-up of the biggest stories in housing law and equity, for the week of June 12-18, 2017:
The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University released the yearly State of the Nation Housing report. The report encourages a renewed national commitment to expand the range of housing options available.
A NY State Appellate Court struck down a chronic nuisance ordinance in Groton, NY, because of provisions that led to the eviction of those who seek emergency services. Story via Ithaca.com
The Out of Reach report and tool that was published a couple of weeks ago by the National Low Income Housing Coalition is getting press around the country for showing the gap between current wages and rents in most US cities. This article, from CNBC highlights the lack of affordable housing for minimum wage workers.
An opinion piece in The Hill makes, again, the case for investment in housing as an investment in childhood development and health.
79 people are presumed dead in the fire at Grenfell Tower in London. Some argue that the tragedy should be a red light for distressed public housing in the US.
The Philadelphia Inquirer posted its second article in its Toxic City series. This most recent article investigates lead-poisoned soil in the city’s River Wards neighborhoods. While lead paint is often considered the biggest danger to children, in these areas and others, the soil may be a great danger.
It was a busy week in housing equity and the law! Here’s the news from the week of June 5-11, 2017:
The National Low Income Housing Coalition published Out of Reach 2017, a comprehensive report and tool to assess housing affordability in the U.S. The tool assess the rent-wage needed for a two bedroom unit in every county in the United States.
The National Fair Housing Alliance, along with other groups, is circulating an open letter the Senate to reject the CHOICE Act that was passed by the House of Representatives last week. The act, which the Alliance refers to as the “Wrong CHOICE Act,” is a deregulation attempt that strips elements of consumer and investor protection from Dodd Frank. These protections, the Alliance argues, had a significant impact mainly on consumers and borrowers of color. Read their statement.
Meanwhile, Senate Democrats led by Tim Kaine (D-Va.) introduced the Fair and Equal Housing Act of 2017, which will add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes under the Fair Housing Act. The Act will be introduced soon and is accompanied by H.R. 1447: Fair and Equal Housing Act of 2017 that was introduced to the House of Representatives earlier this spring. Coverage via Housing Wire.
“The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America” is a new book by Richard Rothstein that explores the role of law in creating and maintaining racial residential segregation. He sat down last week with Ted Shaw at UNC-Chapel Hill and Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) to discuss his book. Watch a recording of the event here.
A report by New Jersey Future assesses changes New Jersey has made to their Low Income Housing Tax Credit Qualified Allocation Plans (QAP). The changes to the QAP are meant to move LIHTC developments away from concentrated poverty areas. The adjustment proved successful in locating LIHTC developments in high opportunity areas. Read more about this from New Jersey Future.
Affordable housing was the biggest topic of conversation last week, May 29-June 4. Here’s the week in review for housing equity and the law:
Vox published an interactive tool with “Everything you need to know about the affordable housing debate.” It covers issues from “What is affordable housing?” to gentrification, section 8, and zoning.
California’s State Senate and Assembly passed multiple laws to tackle the affordability crisis in California cities. Laws include more funding and relaxed regulation to build affordable housing units. Coverage via KQED.
Last week, HUD secretary Ben Carson said that, to a large extent, “poverty is a state of mind.” Today, Carson clarified that “state of mind” is just one component. Affordable housing advocates like Diane Yentel, of the National Coalition of Low Income Housing, responded that housing poverty is due in large to HUDs budget, not state of mind. Coverage via NPR.
The mortgage interest tax deduction is a controversial program that many critique as being beneficial mainly to the rich. Eliminating the mortgage interest tax deduction could make houses much more affordable. CityLab offers a way to make homes 10 percent more afforable.
Five hundred people lined up to try to get an apartment in a 88 unit development in Philadelphia, shedding light on the city’s affordability and homelessness crisis. Coverage via Philly.com.
We’re back this week with more news from the field of housing law and equity. Here’s the latest for the week of May 22-29, 2017:
The Atlantic ran an investigative piece on one of the largest lead crises in the history of the US – New Orleans in the 1990s.
The Mayor of Denver revealed an action plan of 30 short-term items to address housing affordability in the city using a holistic approach. The plan spans renter eviction assistance, employment opportunities, guidance for LIHTC, mental health counseling, and many more. Coverage via the Denver Post.
Allowing land banks to be established is a legal lever to handle blight properties. However, having a land bank is not enough by itself. The experience of different cities can teach us plenty! NextCity covers the New York land banks.
There is an ongoing debate in Ohio about the state government’s role in lead poisoning prevention. After Cleveland announced a rental inspection program and Toledo passed a lead inspection ordinance, Ohio republicans are attempting to preempt local efforts to address the issue. Cleveland.com has the story.
It’s a rainy day on the East Coast; what better way to get through the damp than four new legal epidemiology articles? Our colleagues have published papers examining vaccine policies, telehealth reimbursement policies, scope of practice laws for health care providers, and the field of legal epidemiology as a whole:
Lots of news from the past week in housing equity and law. Check out the latest in the field from the week of April 10-17, 2017:
In his first television interview as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Ben Carson talked about the rich’s obligation to help the poor and the importance of private sector involvement in planning of housing policy. Coverage from NY Times.
Ben Carson’s listening tour arrived in Miami, where he then got stuck in an elevator at a public housing complex. Some advocates hope that this will be a live example of the need for more funds to maintain these facilities, via CBSNews.com
Chronic nuisance ordinances continue to be a driver for eviction, but do they have a disparate impact against victims of domestic abuse? Via the NY Times.
Baltimore is taking a new approach to neighborhood revitalization. Can it be done without gentrification? Via the Nation.
The Atlantic’s CityLab published a New Urban Crisis Index map!
Beginning in the early 2000s, there was a push in the public health world for jurisdictions and localities in the United States to adopt a Health in All Policies (HiAP) approach similar to recent initiatives in Europe. At its core, HiAP is a collaborative approach to improve the public’s health by incorporating health into decision-making across sectors and policy areas.
According to the Public Health Institute, HiAP is centered around five core elements: promoting health and equity, supporting intersectoral collaboration, creating co-benefits for multiple partners, engaging stakeholders, and creating structural or process change. It can be adopted at all levels of government, and jurisdictions that adopt HiAP approaches do so to ensure that all decision-makers and stakeholders work together to improve the health of their communities.
The Policy Surveillance Program, with support from the Health Impact Project, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts, has just published that detail state-level HiAP bills and laws that were proposed or passed between the start of 2012 and the end of 2016. Continue reading →
The HUD budget was the big story the last week of March in housing law and equity. Here’s the week in review for March 27-April 2:
The largest story in housing is still the looming HUD budget cuts. The New York Times ran a story of a couple in Ohio, living well below the poverty line, who used the HOME Investment Partnership Program to renovate their home to make it habitable. The next year they voted for Trump. Now, Trump’s proposed budget is considering eliminating the HOME Program.
Secretary Ben Carson is currently on his listening tour. The first stop of the tour was Carson’s home town, Detroit (story via the Detroit Free Press). None of the Assistant Secretary positions have been filled so far.
Seattle’s stable, livable but expensive, housing market is undergoing a crisis and a dramatic spike in homelessness. The mayor started challenging the powers that be, seeking more input from renters and low income residents and not exclusively from affluent homeowners. Would this shakeup of traditional power lead to solutions to the crisis? Story via NextCity.
Our weekly update of the latest news in housing law for health and equity, for the week of March 20-27, including one piece written by our own Abraham Gutman:
Philadelphia city council held a hearing to evaluate the impact of the evictions on the lives of Philadelphians. One solution of for the eviction crisis is extending the right to counsel to housing courts. We, at the Temple University Center for Public Health Law Research, believe that evidence-based legal solutions are always worth considering, via Huffington Post
At a time when large budget cuts are looming over affordable housing programs, an audit of the largest affordable housing funder in Washington D.C., found inefficiencies, via NextCity
Some warn that reducing corporate taxes would lead to reduce use of the Low Income Housing Tax Credits
The proposed budget cuts to HUD are still the main story in the housing world. In Chicago dozens of affordable housing advocates took to the street to demand protection of affordable housing programs.
According to FiveThirtyEight, suburbanization in America is increasing in a faster rate.
Here’s the latest news in housing equity and law, from March 13-20, 2017:
Inspired by Matthew Desmond’s award winning book, “Evicted,” the Reinvestment Fund published research mapping eviction rates in Philadelphia. Now, the pressure on the city to act on eviction is piling up. Deborah Ross, the chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association, and Catherine Carr and Joseph A. Sullivan, co-chairs of the Association’s Civil Gideon and Access to Justice Task Force, wrote a letter calling on the city to fund legal representation for low income Philadelphians facing eviction. The Philadelphia City Council hosted a hearing Monday, March 20, about eviction following a resolution proposed by Council Member Helen Gym. Will Philly become the next city with free legal representation in housing court?
Dr. Megan Sandel has been on the front of advocating for housing as a public health solution for children’s illnesses. In an opinion piece this week in Stat News, Dr. Sandel criticizes the proposed cuts to HUD’s budget and asks Ben Carson to “Think of a stable home as a vaccine, something that can keep people healthy now and in the future.”
Senator Cantwell (D-WA) and Senator Hatch (R-UT) re-introduce a bipartisan bill to increase the housing credit authority by 50 percent in Low Income Housing Tax Credit development, via RentalHousingAction.org
CPHLR is joining forces with the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) for a free, two-part webinar series on public health law research and policy data evaluation.
Public Health Law Research Part I: Creating and Using Open-Source Policy Data for Public Health Evaluation Research March 29 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Will introduce participants to the practice of Policy Surveillance and the various law and policy datasets available through LawAtlas and other open-source portals. REGISTER >>
Public Health Law Research Part II: Developing and Implementing a Policy Evaluation Using Open-Source Legal Data April 12 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Will introduce participants to the theory, design and implementation of a policy evaluation using policy surveillance datasets. REGISTER >>
It was a national and international first week of March in housing equity and law. Here are some of the big stories from the field March 6-12, 2017:
On the campaign trail, Donald Trump promised to cut domestic spending. Now the administration is considering a $6 billion cut to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This could have major effects on programs such as Section 8, which is already notorious for the long waiting period for vouchers. Story from the Washington Post.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition report on affordable housing is out! “The Gap: A shortage of Affordable Homes” shows that we are still 7.4 million units away from meeting the need for affordable rental units for low income households.
In September 2015, we offered a glimpse of the current landscape of laws addressing mental health and gun violence. Many of the laws addressed public safety concerns that arose from active shooters with mental illnesses. At both the state and federal levels, government officials continue to debate the relationship between gun violence and mental health issues. Questions of safety and stigma continue to be asked, and are leading to changes in the laws. Here’s where we stand now:
In July 2015, Congress introduced the Safer Communities Act of 2015, but after being passed around four different committees, it was never released to the House floor for a vote. If the bill had passed, it would have further clarified who is restricted from possessing a gun based on their mental health and treatment.
After the bill died in committee, agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA) have passed regulations to further define reporting and restriction requirements for people with mental illnesses. On January 4, 2016, HHS finalized a rule that modified the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). The modification allows HIPAA-covered entities to release personal information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) if the person has a “mental health prohibitor” on their record that limits ability to possess, transport, receive, or ship a firearm under federal law. The rule went into effect on February 5, 2016. Continue reading →