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.
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.
- Mapping Inequality: Redlining in New Deal America is a tool by created by Robert K. Nelson et al. It allows users to explore credit worthiness maps in American cities of 1935-1940.
- “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.