The week of Sept. 4-11, 2017 brought more housing-related news from the southeast in the wake of Harvey and Irma, and a few new resources. The latest in housing equity and the law, below:
Matthew Desmond writes a Housing State of the Union for the Stanford Center on Inequality and Poverty’s Pathways Magazine State of the Union issue. The report emphasizes the home-ownership racial gap, the relationship with the affordability crisis, and the reform that is needed for the mortgage interest tax deduction.
Paul Krugman of the New York Times writes about the need to find equilibrium between negative sprawl (such as in Houston) and NIMBYism (as experienced in San Francisco). He asks, “Why can’t we get cities right?”
Community Land Trust has a tool for community focused development.
Much of the devastation from Harvey is centered on homes and housing. Our focus this week is on the housing and equity issues related to displacement, and recovery and development in the future. The news from the world of housing after Harvey, for the week of August 28-September 5, 2017:
Although tenants’ homes are under water, their landlords are still demanding that they pay rent. Texas law allows a tenant or a landlord to terminate a contract due to a natural disaster only if the property is “totally unusable,” via the Guardian.
Harvey will dramatically change the housing market in Houston for a long time. Once a city with a glut of rental properties, Houston almost overnight became a city without enough habitable housing units. Some estimate that 60,000 units have been damaged in the storm, about 85 percent of all available units before the storm. Rents are expected to go up as much as 10 percent in the area, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Susan Popkin at the Urban Institute writes on the importance of inclusive development and learning from the past after a disaster.
Here’s the latest news in housing law and equity, for the week of August 15-21, 2017:
The Urban Institute has released a new tool about using fair housing data. The report contains details on data sources related to demographics and segregation, housing, land use, disability, education, employment, environment, health, and public safety.
The Washington Post reports that California lawmakers are planning on putting housing as a top priority after the summer.
Richard Rothstein, author of the critically acclaimed book The Color of Law, writes an op-ed for the LA Times about the role law plays in maintaining racial segregation in Los Angeles.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
Lots of questions and debate this week in housing equity and law. Here’s the latest for the week of February 21-27, 2017:
After a win for the Civil Gideon movement in New York, Next City asks if other cities could follow New York City’s lead and extend the right to counsel to low income tenants facing eviction?
There is a known racial wealth gap in the United States. Many attribute the wealth gap to the legacy of housing policies, such as redlining, that did not allow property of people of color to appreciate in the same manner as property of white Americans. Does that mean that today the solution to the wealth gap is in housing? Not necessarily argues Dorothy Brown of Emory University, via Forbes.
What does a Trump administration and large business tax cuts mean for affordable housing? Developers in California are concerned in the face of uncertainty as the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program might become less attractive to banks and investors, via the LA Times.
While the research community still debates the extent to which gentrification leads to displacement, a new study in Journal of Urban Health assess the health outcomes of those who stay. Analysis via CityLab, paper here.
Some interesting local-level developments in housing, equity and law last week. Here’s our round-up of the news from last week, February 6-12, 2017:
What would happen if we stopped thinking about our home as an investment? Conor Dougherty of the New York Times argues that if we treated houses like we treat microwaves, the economy will improve and inequality will reduce.
Cleveland shared its timeline for first citywide housing inspection for lead
New York City will devote $90 million to offer legal representation for low income tenants in housing courts. This is a big victory for the “civil Gideon” right-to-council movement, via Gothamist.
The US Treasury and the Tennessee Housing Development Agency come together to provide funds for first time homebuyers down payments in Nashville, via NextCity
Did we miss any big housing, law and equity stories this week? Let us know!
Last week, January 23-29, 2017, saw a mix of national and local-level housing news. Here’s our round-up for the past week:
Surprising some on the “Warren-wing” of the Democratic Party, Elizabeth Warren came out in support of Dr. Ben Carson as the 17th Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. In the confirmation hearing, Warren asked Carson if he can promise that no taxpayer dollar will go from HUD to developments’ of Donald Trump, then pointing out that it was a trick question since there was no financial disclosure, no one knows exactly what how or what President Trump benefits from financially. However, due to promises to abate lead in housing and to protect from LGBTQ discrimination in housing markets, Warren decided not to stand in Carson’s way. Coverage via The Hill.
President Trump’s pick for Secretary Treasury, Steve Mnuchin, lied during his confirmation hearing about foreclosure practices of One West Bank while he was the chairmen and CEO, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
As the population ages, housing needs change. Are we keeping up with the new demand? New York Times opinion piece on the housing needs of the elderly.
Few believe that new HUD leadership under Ben Carson will continue to pressure cities to pursue the affirmatively furthering fair housing (AFFH) rule. However, some cities, like Philadelphia, are already on course