Tag: housing

Los Angeles Should Expropriate This Land and Give It to Tenants

Though slumlords are not directly to blame for our nation's wealth disparities, they profit from them. Seizing their property and giving it to tenants would produce a more just and equitable outcome than what has been practiced in the past.

Starting Conversations with Public Art

An arts collaboration comes up with a creative spark to facilitate discussions about neighborhood change.

Housing Advocates—Seize This Moment!

I’ve been working to address housing affordability since the late 1970s. There has never been this much media and public focus on the issue.

Absence of Eviction Court Recordings Leaves Tenants Vulnerable

In a court division where a family can lose their home after a two-minute trial and only 12 percent of tenants have lawyers, Cook County's lack of eviction court transcripts—with no court reporters or digital recording equipment since 2004—has serious repercussions for tenants.

Shared-Equity Homeownership With No Public Subsidy

What if the future of shared equity homeownership was not dependent on government subsidies? Vivacité - Société immobilière solidaire, a Quebec-based non-profit organization, designed a shared equity program based on a social economy model that leverages impact investors to ensure perpetual affordability and scales its impact.

The CLT Solution: In Suburbia and Beyond

After 30 years and the development of thousands of units of affordable housing, the Long Island Housing Partnership Inc. and its affiliates are now concentrating on the Community Land Trust model.

HUD Was Wrong To Suspend This Important Tool For Racial Equity

On May 8, 2018, three fair housing groups took action to preserve an important tool for community empowerment and equity.

Shelter Shorts, The Week in Community Development—June 15

History In San Francisco | Confusing, But Good News From Carson’s HUD | An Eviction Program Disguised As Public Safety | A National Health + Housing Model Is Completed | More...

Here’s Why Costa-Hawkins Repeal Would Be Revolutionary for Housing in California

Rent control is one of the foremost demands of grassroots movements organizing around housing justice today. To activists across the country, from Los Angeles...

Smaller Cities Are Laboratories for Change

In smaller cities it is typically much easier to engage high levels of leadership, get traction for strategies that are more visible, engage the wider community, build trust, and scale solutions more quickly than in larger areas. Here are a few examples.

Shelter Shorts—The Week in Community Development, April 27

Climate Gentrification | A Marijuana Tax for Housing? | Homeownership Alone Can't Close the Wealth Gap | Illegal ICE Raids on Farms | Keeping An Eye on Opportunity Zones | More...

Homeowners Reap Profits While Fueling Housing Crisis

The widespread critique of California's SB 827 got me thinking about why nobody talks about those really profiting from land use decisions that inflate their property values: homeowners.

Remember Slavic Village? It’s Back

A Cleveland neighborhood made famous as an epicenter of the foreclosure crisis works its way back to stability. Here’s how.

Believe in CLTs? Make Them Sustainable

Though much fanfare is showered on the CLT model, land trusts often struggle to get off the ground because very little support is available for those trying to create one or for existing CLTs looking to expand.

A Case of Construction Eviction in Queens

How tenant and rent protections failed the residents of eight rent-stabilized buildings in Queens.

Shelter Shorts—The Week in Community Development-Feb. 16

Gentrification's Off the Hook | Double Housing Discrimination | Medical Care for the Homeless | It's Still Expensive to be Poor | A Robust Economy Lifts "Some" Boats

Oft-Quoted Studies Saying Gentrification Doesn’t Cause Displacement Are “Glaringly Stale”

Oft-cited study concerns 1990s renters already paying huge portions of their income on housing.

Proposed Changes to the Mortgage Interest Deduction: Some Simple Facts

The discourse around proposed changes to the federal tax system, especially between talk show pundits and economists and politicians—each with their own allegiances—is devoid...

Rowhouse Repairs for Health in Philadelphia

In Philadelphia, health care professionals and housing advocates are working together to deliver home repairs to low-income homeowners.

When Bad Names Get in the Way of Good Policy

Today, America is a place where symbols are often more important than the causes or deeds they describe. With social media and the 24-hour...

A Policy Agenda for Manufactured Home Owners

In Minnesota, ten mobile home communities have closed in the past twenty-five years, and no new ones have opened. This uncertainty affects nearly 3 million Americans who are residents in the nation’s 50,000 manufactured housing communities. While most of these homeowners own their own homes, they rent the land, leaving them vulnerable to dramatic rent increases, arbitrary rules, and even eviction.

California Takes Historic Step Toward Affordable Housing for All

Amid a housing crisis in California, legislators last week approved a historic package of bills that will shape the future of housing policy in...

In Spite of HUD, Fair Housing Process Can Help Communities

Last year, Philadelphia was one of the first cohorts to go through the AFFH process, a fair housing assessment mandated by HUD to discover...

More Than a Fad: Tiny Houses Save Lives, Provide Dignity

After seven years of advocacy from housing activists, the city of Seattle unanimously passed an ordinance permitting tent encampments or tiny house villages on city-owned or private property.

20 Years Later, What HOPE VI Can Teach Us

Affordable housing programs are at great risk of elimination under the current administration. In this uncertain climate, what can we learn from a program that leveraged private interest while aspiring to be a protector of affordable housing?

Look Outside the Box with Health and Housing Partnerships

Though it seems the connection between health and community development is on everyone’s lips these days, the two sectors are really still at the beginning stages of learning how to work together.

Entrenched Poverty, Juxtaposed Against Occasional Pockets of Progress

Recently, more than 150 people from across the nation rolled along the backroads of the iconic Mississippi Delta, peering through bus windows at scene after scene of entrenched poverty juxtaposed against occasional pockets of progress that had been achieved against seemingly insurmountable odds. While there were signs of advancement, they were set against the backdrop of conditions that disproportionately plague these places—substandard housing, underperforming schools, inadequate access to quality health care, and limited private and philanthropic investment. 

After Paying for Housing, How Much is Enough for Basic Necessities?

We need some standards to explain what “enough” means. Here's a breakdown of the Family Budget Calculator, the Self-Sufficiency Standard, and the Housing Poverty Measure.

How to Build a Case for Community Development and Affordable Housing

In the new administration, housing programs will feel the pressure of budgetary cuts and tax reform. Advocates should be careful not to put down other programs in the process of defending their own, or everyone will lose.

The 30 Percent Rent-to-Income Ratio Doesn’t Add Up in NYC

The 30 percent standard only ‘works’ in calculations where it is irrelevant. The residual-income approach, on the other hand, can turn what all too often becomes an abstract and theoretical discussion into a series of researchable questions.

Housing Need Is Even More Skewed by Income Than We Thought

Measuring only for cost burden overstates the housing needs of higher-income people and understates the extreme need at the lower end.

Affordability: The 30 Percent Standard’s Blinders

Using a simple cost-to-income ratio to measure affordability doesn’t give us a good picture of who is really burdened by housing cost. We need a different approach.

Tenant Organizing From the Ground Up

California is home to over 16 million renters— about 45 percent of the population—and the majority are low-income people...

VASH and LIHTC Can Work Together to Support Veterans in Housing...

Earlier today, the U.S. Senate advanced Ben Carson's nomination to lead the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development...

Should Online Shopping Change How We Use Space?

Should ground-floor use go from retail to housing? In San Francisco, the closing of once-popular San Francisco restaurants and the decline of...

Housing and The “Flyover” Mentality

Right around the New Year, an article by Wired’s Emily Dreyfuss popped up on one of my newsfeeds titled,...

Tenant Protections Are a Cornerstone to Solving the Housing Crisis

I’ve read far too many think pieces, op-eds, and reports that neglect the role of tenant protections as a...

Not All Artists Are Young. Or Childless.

On Dec. 3, the Ghost Ship fire in Oakland became the deadliest in the city’s history, claiming the lives of 36 individuals. The warehouse...

Take the Best of Public Housing, And Make More

Housing and its affordability are arguably the most pressing issues in the United States today. As the number of renters...

In the Delta, Homeownership Strategies Need Innovation

Earlier this month, the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) partnered with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis for...

Stop Subsidizing Bad Landlords

Esperanza Menendez-Jackson is a single working mother who lived with her three children in a government-subsidized apartment building in...

Housing Assistance for All Is a Matter of Racial Justice–and It’s...

Project-based Section 8 has been a successful public-private partnership that helps provide affordable housing to very low-income households while...

Homeownership Is a Culprit in The Racial Wealth Divide

Homeowners' Equity (HOE)—the market value of residential real estate minus the value of home-secured debt—has long been the largest...

Housing Doesn’t Filter, Neighborhoods Do

There has been a renewed interest in the role that the real estate market can play in solving our...

Stopping Declining Homeownership Requires More than Affordability

According to recent research, the availability of starter and “trade-up” homes is in the midst of a four-year decline,...

The ‘Filtering’ Fallacy

The Council of Community Housing Organizations has created an info-graphic that breaks down the basics of filtering, the assumptions behind it, and the reasons it doesn’t work the way some say it does.

A New Perspective on Housing Tenure

Those of us who work in housing and housing policy know how complicated housing tenure can be. The most...

“Your Lease Should Be Next to Your Bible,” #RentersDayofAction

This Tuesday, advocates took to the microphone on the steps of Newark City Hall, speaking passionately about the city...

Let’s Get Rid of the Words “Property” and “Manager”

One of my first jobs as a young housing professional in the 1980s at a local public housing authority...

From Barracks to Apartments: Serving Vets in Transition

As regular readers of Shelterforce know, with the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008, Congress provided $75 million to the...

As Affordability Worsens, State and Local Governments Act on their Own

While local and state resources are increasingly stepping up as federal funding continues to be strained, it remains a question as to whether these actions and resources will be enough to meet affordable housing needs.

Housing Groups Should Expand to Repair Work to Help Seniors Age...

Before school Oliver used to collect baskets of wood that his father would sell. That was his way of...

Say What, Washington Post? Declining Homeownership Rates Aren’t a Good Thing

On Aug. 3, The Washington Post published a remarkable opinion piece by Charles Lane, one of the paper’s editorial...

Don’t Rush to Judge These Three Artist’s Lofts in The Twin...

There has been some debate recently around three Minnesota affordable housing projects. The Carleton Place Lofts, Schmidt Artist Lofts,...

FHA Sends Mixed Signals to Nonprofits on Sales of Delinquent Loans

Last week, FHA announced 11 significant changes to the Distressed Asset Stabilization Program (DASP), a federal program that sells...

Leveling the Playing Field for Tenants Facing Eviction

New York City renters who face eviction could get a little more help on their side if a proposed initiative is given the green...

There’s No Shortage of Low Quality Housing

In two recent posts, Emily Washington at Market Urbanism (part 2 here) argues that middle class sensibilities, with regard to...

Two Sneaky Reasons Why Building More Housing Isn’t Helping

The discussion about how much building more housing will help with affordability, and the nuances of the neighborhood and regional effects and what to...

The “Supply-Side” Arguments, and Why Geography, Scale, and Migration Matter

Rick Jacobus' article, "Why We Must Build," published here on Shelterforce a couple of weeks ago has created quite a...

Canada Is Looking Better and Better (The Regent Park Story)

High-density public housing may seem like an idea whose time has come and gone, buried along with the ruins of notorious projects like St....

The Next Step in Supportive Housing

With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, individual-focused healthy lifestyles—regardless of socioeconomic status—became an increased topic of discussion. Along with clear correlations between...

Matthew Desmond’s “Evicted” Supports, Challenges Housing Field

With Evicted, Desmond is taking a powerful argument that housing matters beyond the usually circles where that is discussed.

Are the Kids All Right? Austin Is Asking

Recently here on Rooflines, Tiffany Eng wrote about Oakland’s challenges in “family friendly” planning. Here in Austin, we're facing...

A Critical Piece of the Mixed Income Puzzle

So, what kind of neighbor are you?When last did you take a true risk to establish a meaningful connection with someone with a very...

The Danger in Restricting Our Definition of “Preservation”

 A post last week here on Rooflines, called “Duty to Serve = Your Duty to Comment,” by Michael Bodaken...

Duty to Serve = Your Duty to Comment

In gridlocked Washington, rarely does one have the ability to truly influence community development or housing policy. Well, wait...

The REAL Rental Housing Issue

We know a few things about the majority of very low-income renters: They live in private market housing, not tax credit projects or public...

Seeking True “Multifamily” Housing

City planners and real estate professionals use the term “multifamily” to describe apartment and condominium buildings. But is there a greater misnomer in our...

Even Homer Nods: Paul Krugman Gets It Wrong on Housing

As the saying goes, even Homer nods. Paul Krugman must have been having an off day at the end of November 2015, when he...

Paying for Success in Permanent Supportive Housing

Earlier this year, the County of Santa Clara announced an innovative approach to addressing the housing resource problem. In July, the County launched “Project Welcome Home,” a PSH program financed through a cross-sector Pay for Success (PFS) contract.

The “Both/And” of the Housing Debate

Paul Krugman, the darling of progressive policymakers in the U.S., weighed in on the urban housing question recently, coming...

In Defense of the ‘Poor Door’

The other day a 12 year-old schooled me in the difference between equity and equality.  ‘Equity,' he said, is...

What the “New” Housing Advocates Miss

Today's housing supply advocates should look at the political and legal histories behind opening up the suburbs and embrace fair housing law as one tool in the fight to gut exclusionary zoning.

Big Sky, Big Opportunity?

Montana is an interesting state for manufactured housing. Looking at the policy and data environments of this component of...

The Ripple Effects of Having a Stable Home

“Homeownership increases a chance that a child will stay in school by up to 9 percent for low-income families,”...

Here to Stay: New Approaches to Community-Based Supportive Housing

We’re beginning to see big changes in the housing world as states ramp up efforts to move people with...

What Would It Look Like to Win?

In case you haven’t seen it, the Urban Institute has been organizing a great series of online conversations. The...

New Data on True Cost of Voucher Administration

HUD is trying to get better data on the true cost of administering the Housing Choice Voucher program, but...

Court Decision Paves Way for Affordable Housing Revival in NJ

“Moribund.” That’s the term New Jersey’s Supreme Court used when referring to the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) in...

New Report Dampens Outlook for Would-Be Homebuyers

While few housing advocates have unbridled hopes for truly affordable homeownership in Manhattan—where in order to live “comfortably,” a...

Three Takeaways from the President’s 2016 HUD Budget

Here are three key facts to understand the President’s 2016 budget request for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in its broader budget, policy, and political contexts: 1. The proposed funding increase is much more modest than it may initially appear. The President’s $41.0 billion HUD request for 2016 is $6.2 billion, or […]

Are Millennials Different, or Just Delaying Homeownership?

Big, diverse, and a little bit different, the Millennial generation is often cast as the solution to—or the cause of—many of America’s housing challenges. But Millennials probably aren’t as principal to understanding U.S. housing market conditions as the sheer amount of media coverage may lead us to believe. The opportunities available to Gen Xers and […]

Time to Learn from Europe on Housing?

Since we recently had bloggers squaring off on the question of whether expanding homeownership really is an important policy priority in and of itself (Alan Mallach: Yes, Tony Roshan Samara: No), I thought it was interesting to throw this New Yorker article into the mix—a reminder that many of our tax subsidies ($200 billion a […]

Vouchers Are Helping Children Avoid Concentrated Poverty

More than 5 million people in some 2 million low-income families use Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV) to help them afford decent housing. Although the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program makes little difference in where poor white families with children live, it makes a large difference for poor families of color, as our recent paper explains. […]

Manufactured Housing: Underutilized and Misunderstood

What will it take for manufactured housing, the principal source of unsubsidized, affordable homes in the United States, to reach its potential? Limited and expensive financing options make life even more difficult for the financially vulnerable residents who live in manufactured housing (MH) communities. The continuing consolidation of ownership is taking a toll, and the […]

Do Urban Neighborhoods Need Homeowners?

At a conference I attended last week, one of the speakers, a colleague whose judgment and knowledge I respect, offered his take on the future of urban single family neighborhoods. The lower income families who have the credit and can get together the down payment to become homeowners are buying in the suburbs. People working […]

Covered Bridge: A Program That Keeps the Elderly in Their Homes

Nonprofit housers need to think gray in a new way. It has long been predicted that a demographic wave of retirement-age Americans would soon be breaking upon the shores of our communities. It has now arrived. Despite being forewarned, most communities are poorly prepared to meet the housing needs of this cohort. That is especially […]

Rural Housing: An Election Day Post-Mortem

For those of us in the rural housing silo, the most significant November 4 result may be a fairly ho-hum and fully expected re-election in Eastern Kentucky. In the nation’s most rural Congressional district, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) ran against the same Democratic opponent he defeated in 2012 with 78 percent of […]

Hey Housers, Health Folks Want to Talk to You Too!

  People in the affordable housing field have grown increasingly interested in talking about healthcare. Concepts like “housing as a platform” for health outcomes have become part of our professional lexicon and panel topics at our conferences. We talk a lot about the barriers to progress in aligning health and housing policy in this country. […]

Manufactured Housing as a Bridge Over the Affordability Gap

Although the percentage of new manufactured homes placed in manufactured home communities is still relatively low–about 30 percent in 2013—78 percent of the total new manufactured homes were titled as personal property.

Believing in Homeownership: How It Affects the Desire to Buy

Last week I wrote about the first part of my recent research into beliefs about the benefits homeownership: messages conveyed...

Is Homeownership Really Falling Out of Favor?

Homeownership seems to be falling out of favor.  Newspapers these days are peppered with articles that highlight the skepticism of...

Believing in Homeownership: Where Does the American Dream Idea Come From?

Homeownership in the U.S. has long been associated with a wide range of positive outcomes–from investment potential to social stability...

Homeownership Is Still Very Much an Asset-Building Strategy

Homeownership is, of course, still American’s greatest source of wealth and asset appreciation, and a key component of CFED’s work....

From Cargo Shipping to Home Sweet Home?

Livable buildings can be created from shipping containers, the big rectangular corrugated metal things stacked at docks by giant cranes....

We Still Need a Rent Freeze in NYC

Rents have become increasingly unaffordable in New York City. NYC has been in a housing crisis for decades. A housing...

What to Do When Environmental and Housing Needs Collide

San Francisco is making headlines for its new height restrictions limiting development along their waterfront, which some (including the Sierra...

Lifting the Voices of Housing Voucher Holders

My organization, the Maryland ACLU, recently helped launch a new website, www.housingmobility.org. Who needs another housing website? In fact,...

The American Dream Under Duress?

“For most Americans, the housing crisis is hardly a thing of the past.” This is how Hart Research Associates opened its presentation...