#125 Sep/Oct 2002

Shelter Shorts: Community Development News

Out of Reach in California Six California cities are among the top 10 metropolitan areas deemed least affordable by the latest edition of Out of Reach, the National Low Income […]

Out of Reach in California Six California cities are among the top 10 metropolitan areas deemed least affordable by the latest edition of Out of Reach, the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s annual report of housing affordability. The report measures the housing wage – the amount a full-time worker has to earn to be able to afford a two-bedroom rental home at the fair market rate while paying no more than 30 percent of his or her income in rent. According to Out of Reach, a full-time worker has to earn an average of $14.66 an hour – almost three times the federal minimum wage – to be able to rent such a home. Metro areas topping the list as least affordable are: San Francisco, CA; San Jose, CA; Stamford-Norwalk, CT; Oakland, CA; Boston, MA; Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA; Long Island, NY; Westchester County, NY; Orange County, CA; and Santa Rosa, CA. www.nlihc.org .

…But Not Out of Sight About 23,000 people in Orange County have nowhere to sleep at night and subsist on day jobs, public beach showers and free meals provided by area churches. Homeless men and women have set up makeshift camps on hilltops, sleeping behind bushes next to the San Diego Freeway and on hotel fire escapes. (Los Angeles Times, 9/9/02)

The $10 Million Delay Some New York City homeless families will be paid $100 for each night they were forced to sleep in city offices due to overcrowded shelters. The payment comes through an agreement between the city and the Legal Aid Society, which charged that the city’s Emergency Assistance Unit didn’t act fast enough to house families once they went to the agency for help. According to law, the city must place families in housing within 24 hours. The agreement is expected to cost New York more than $10 million for each incident between 1995 and 2002. No individual family is likely to receive more than $300. (The New York Times, 9/20/02)

Reversal of Fortune Squatters in the East Village have become the official residents of 11 buildings once owned by New York City. In August, the city agreed to sell the buildings for $1 each to the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB), a nonprofit group that develops, trains and supports low-income limited-equity co-ops. UHAB then turned over the buildings and their 167 apartments to the squatters. For more than 15 years, squatters have done self-financed and sweat-equity rehab and repairs in buildings and survived eviction threats. (www.citylimits.org)

Doing the Right Thing in Denver The city of Denver has approved a mandatory affordable housing law that gives developers incentives to build more middle- and low-income housing. Developers will receive $5,000 per unit for homes built for households with incomes between $35,000 and $50,000. Additionally, they will receive $10,000 per unit for homes built for residents with incomes below $30,000. Developers also have the option of buying out of the program, which will help to fund the incentives. The new, market-driven law also provides flexibility for the city because if the housing market is soft, the city won’t pay any incentives. (Denver Post, 8/6/02)

Faith-based Demolition? Terry Peterson, executive director of the Chicago Housing Authority, drew gasps from his audience when he praised CHA board chairwoman Sharon Gist Gilliam for guiding the agency through a 10-year, $1.6 billion plan to demolish or refurbish 25,000 units around the city. Peterson said he appreciated her work because “it’s not easy when you are trying to do God’s will.” The latest segment of the plan is the $52.4 million overhaul of the Ida B. Wells and Madden Park housing developments that housing activists charge will hand over public land to private developers and ultimately result in a loss of more than 2,000 units of low-income housing. (Chicago Tribune, 8/22/02)

A Tighter Leash for Landlords Remember the California landlord who tried to give 30-day eviction notices to 559 Sacramento and Santa Rosa renters (SF #122)? Thanks in part to his actions, Gov. Gray Davis has signed new legislation requiring landlords to give at least 60 days notice before evicting tenants, and 24-hour formal written notice before entering their property. The new law, which goes into effect January 1, will also make it harder for California landlords to bypass rent control laws by evicting tenants, temporarily pulling a property off the market and then inflating the rent for new tenants. (San Francisco Chronicle, 9/4/02)

Town Without Pity The Orlando City Council approved an ordinance that levies a $500 fine and 60 days in jail to anyone found sitting or lying down on sidewalks. In addition, the council is considering a limit on the number of days volunteer organizations can serve free meals each year. (Real Change, 8/22/02)

Motor City Retools Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick fired three of his top housing officials just weeks after the Michigan Court of Appeals rejected arguments by the city council and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and allowed the mayor to make the Detroit Housing Commission an independent agency. City-council and union officials sought to maintain civil service hiring practices and oversight of contracts. The commission, which oversees 4,600 public housing units and provides assistance to more than 5,500 families in subsidized housing, has come under fire from HUD for mismanaging its properties and squandering millions through waste, fraud and abuse. More than 9,000 people are on a waiting list for public housing. (Detroit Free Press, 8/6/02)


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    September 1, 2002

    Rosanne Haggerty was on vacation in Ireland not long ago when she decided to see how that country addresses the housing needs of its poorest residents. What she discovered in […]

  • Feeling Safe in the Real World

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    Foster Care Youth United (FCYU) is a bimonthly magazine published by Youth Communication in New York. Since 1993, FCYU has provided a forum for young people to write about their […]

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