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.
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.
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.