Category Archives: Housing

HUD Took Over a Town’s Housing Authority 22 Years Ago. Now the Authority’s Broke and Residents Are Being Pushed Out.

Source: Molly Parker, The Southern Illinoisan, December 14, 2018

As recently as last year, HUD had told officials in Wellston, Missouri, that they would get their local housing authority back. Then federal officials changed their minds. Wellston will join a growing list of HUD oversight failures, including the Illinois cities of East St. Louis and Cairo.

Prosperity Now Scorecard

Source: Prosperity Now Scorecard, 2018

The Prosperity Now Scorecard is a comprehensive resource featuring data on family financial health and policy recommendations to help put all U.S. households on a path to prosperity. The Scorecard equips advocates, policymakers and practitioners with national, state, and local data to jump-start a conversation about solutions and policies that put households on stronger financial footing across five issue areas: Financial Assets & Income, Businesses & Jobs, Homeownership & Housing, Health Care and Education.

The Scorecard assesses all states on their relative ability to provide opportunities for residents to build and retain financial stability and wealth. The state outcome rankings are a measure of financial prosperity and how that prosperity is shared and safeguarded. The Scorecard ranks the 50 states and the District of Columbia on 62 outcome measures in the five Issue Areas. Data for an additional four measures are published, but states are not ranked on these measures due to insufficient data at the state level. The overall state outcome rank is determined by the rankings each state receives for outcome measures within each issue area. The issue area grades in the Scorecard are distributed on a curve, based on how each state fares compared with all other states.

The Scorecard also separately assesses states on the strength of 53 policies to expand economic opportunity. Taken together, these 53 policies provide a comprehensive view of what states can do to help residents build and protect wealth in the issue areas described above. Unlike the outcome measures, the strength of states’ policies are assessed based on fixed criteria arrived at through consultation with issue experts and Prosperity Now’s own knowledge of policies that are promising, proven or effective in helping families build and protect financial stability and wealth.

In addition to the outcome and policy measures used to assess states, the Scorecard provides additional data to understand financial stability and prosperity in states and communities. For 44 outcome measures, trend data are available for states to track progress over time. The Scorecard also allows you to drill down to the local level—city, county, Congressional district, tribal area and metro area—on up to 26 measures. Additionally, for 21 outcome measures at the state level and 11 at the local level, the Scorecard includes outcome measure estimates disaggregated by race and ethnicity. The Scorecard also disaggregates 14 outcome measures at the state level by disability status, providing for the first time in 2018 a glimpse into the financial challenges facing people with disabilities. While these additional data do not factor into a state’s overall performance in the Scorecard, we provide the data to allow for a more meaningful analysis of financial security and stability in the United States.

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Donald Trump Asked, “What Do You Have to Lose?” This Illinois Town Found Out.

Source: Tim Murphy, Mother Jones, July/August 2018

How a small town got caught up in Ben Carson’s crusade against fair housing.

Related:
In Small-Town America, the Public Housing Crisis Nobody’s Talking About
Source: Molly Parker, ProPublica and The Southern Illinoisan, April 6, 2018

The shuttering of public housing complexes in two small Midwestern towns raises big questions for residents, HUD and Congress.

Out of Reach 2018

Source: Andrew Aurand, Dan Emmanuel, Diane Yentel, Ellen Errico, Jared Gaby-Biegel, Emma Kerr, National Low Income Housing Coalition, June 2018

From the press release:
…. The Out of Reach report shows the Housing Wage for every state, metropolitan area, and county in the country. The Housing Wage is the hourly wage a full-time worker must earn to afford a modest rental home without spending more than 30% of his or her income on housing costs. The report compares the Housing Wage to average renter wages and minimum wages, as well as wages in the fast-growing occupations, nationally. The report also shows how many hours an individual must work each week for all 52 weeks per year at the prevailing minimum wage to afford a modest one- and two-bedroom apartment at the Fair Market Rent. Out of Reach 2018 also provides Housing Wages for ZIP codes in metropolitan areas. ….

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Interactive map

Why there are so many unsheltered homeless people on the West Coast

Source: Margot Kushel, The Conversation, June 14, 2018

One-quarter of homeless people in the U.S. live in California, despite Californians making up only 12 percent of the population.

Not only is homelessness more common on the West Coast but it is also more visible, because a higher proportion of homeless people are unsheltered. In the U.S., 24 percent of homeless people sleep outside, in vehicles or somewhere else not meant for human habitation. But that varies greatly from place to place: In California, 68 percent of homeless people are unsheltered, compared to just 5 percent in New York. ….

…. What’s to blame for such high numbers of unsheltered homeless on the West Coast? The reason isn’t drug use, mental health problems or weather. Rather, it is due to the extreme shortage of affordable housing. ….

Mapping State Interference

Source: Partnership for Working Families, 2018

What is State Interference? While attention focuses on Washington, aggressive corporate and special interests are systematically working at the state level to close critical avenues of power-building for poor people, people of color, women, LGBTQ individuals, and immigrants. Their strategy: targeting local governments, which provide essential hubs of innovation, protection and progressive political power. The Koch Brothers-backed American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the architect of this strategy, has moved state legislators and courts to gut the ability of local governments in a vast number of states to alleviate unemployment, poverty and residential displacement and to protect their residents from threats to their health, safety and civil rights. In many cases such state interference laws are being used as a tool through which largely white state legislatures both deny cities of color of self-determination and preserve longstanding racial inequities.

To help shed light on this development, we created the interactive map below. Click on any of the nine issues to see which states block local standards and laws on that issue. Click on a state to see whether local authority has been preserved or preempted across all nine issues. For further information, you can click through to the actual text of the statute.

Our partners at Grassroots Change have a companion map that covers issues related to public health. Please visit that site to learn more.

Rental Insecurity: The Threat of Evictions to America’s Renters

Source: Chris Salviati, Apartment List, October 20, 2017

Apartment List is committed to improving the process of renting, and as part of that mission, we publish research on issues that impact both renters and landlords. In this report, we study the prevalence of evictions, an issue that has serious implications for renters, and often for landlords as well. Our data shows that the vast majority of evictions are the result of non-payment of rent. Apartment List does not endorse the views or opinions of any individuals mentioned in this article, including Matthew Desmond.

– Analyzing data from Apartment List users, we find that nearly one in five renters were unable to pay their rent in full for at least one of the past three months. We estimate that 3.7 million American renters have experienced an eviction.

– Evictions disproportionately impact the most vulnerable members of our society. Renters without a college education are more than twice as likely to face eviction as those with a four-year degree.

– Additionally, we find that black households face the highest rates of eviction, even when controlling for education and income. Perhaps most troublingly, households with children are twice as likely to face an eviction threat, regardless of marital status.

– The impacts of eviction are severe and long-lasting. Evictions are a leading cause of homelessness, and research has tied eviction to poor health outcomes in both adults and children. These effects are persistent, and experiencing an eviction makes it difficult to get back on one’s feet.

– Performing a metro-level analysis, we find that evictions are most common in metros hit hard by the foreclosure crisis and in those experiencing high rates of poverty. Perhaps counterintuitively, expensive coastal metros have comparatively low rates of eviction, in part because strong job markets with high median wages offset expensive rents in those areas.

Why America Needs More Social Housing

Source: Peter Dreier, American Prospect, April 16, 2018

The quest to provide what has come to be called “affordable housing” in America is hobbled by one fundamental reality. Too much housing is in the market sector and too little is in a social sector permanently protected from rising prices. The result is that supply and demand relentlessly bids up market prices. Government is required to provide deeper and deeper subsidies to keep rents within the bounds of incomes, so fewer and fewer people get any kind of help. This is true whether the form of public subsidy is tax breaks, direct subsidies, vouchers, or deals with developers to set aside some percent of units as affordable. In most cities, the median rent far exceeds what median incomes can afford. In cities with hot housing markets, homeownership is even further beyond reach for those who do not already own homes, exacerbating competition for scarce apartments.

The idea of having a permanent sector of social housing, protected in perpetuity from market pressures, has a bad reputation in the United States, in part because of misleading stereotypes about public housing. But other forms of social housing are being depleted as well, including middle-income projects built with tax breaks, such as Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village in Manhattan, which were sold to the highest bidder and converted to market housing; and government-subsidized buildings from the 1960s through the 1980s, built under federal housing programs but allowed to be converted to market-rate apartments once their original mortgages were paid off or the 20-year subsidy contract expired.

Government policymakers have made almost no provision to protect the stunted social sector that exists, much less add to it. There are some exceptions to this dismal pattern, such as land trusts that preserve a social housing sector in perpetuity, in cities like Burlington, Vermont. But for the most part, the place to look for models is abroad. And no place does it better than Vienna….

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Income Limits
Source: Department of Housing and Urban Development, 2018

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sets income limits that determine eligibility for assisted housing programs including the Public Housing, Section 8 project-based, Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher, Section 202 housing for the elderly, and Section 811 housing for persons with disabilities programs. HUD develops income limits based on Median Family Income estimates and Fair Market Rent area definitions for each metropolitan area, parts of some metropolitan areas, and each non-metropolitan county.

Substantial increase in federal funding is credit positive for sector

Source: Dmitriy Plit, Florence Zeman, Moody’s, Sector Comment, Public housing authorities – US, April 4, 2018
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The recently enacted federal omnibus spending bill appropriates $2.75 billion for the Public Housing Capital Fund, a substantial increase over the $1.94 billion for federal fiscal year 2017.