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This Month in Housing News

Community feast marks end of the homeless encampment and ‘the beginning of something great’
“The feast marks a turning point both physically in moving people from the camp to the navigation center and also from the city moving from being reactive around homelessness and addiction to being proactive,” said Camille Gage, an outreach worker in the encampment who helped organize the feast. Read the full story at MPR News.

County Commissioners postpone John Sevier Center vote
A decision on a $4.6 million tax increment financing plan for the Johnson City Development Authority’s purchase of the John Sevier Center has been delayed by the Washington County Commission for yet another month. Read the full story at Johnson City Press.

What Happens When Gentrification Comes for a Postindustrial City?
While the city desperately needs more shelters and supportive housing, officials have largely set their sights on homes that cater to higher-paying renters. A development known as 145 Front opened in February 2018, eventually putting 365 new apartments next to Worcester’s train station—just down the street from Kelley Square. Since the apartments went in, the city has stepped up its policing. Read the full story at The Nation.

Foreclosure red flags signal stress in local booming housing market
While the regional housing market is celebrating its best sales year in a decade there are distress red flags waving. Foreclosure starts increased 19.5% last year in the local NE TN markets. The local SW VA markets saw an 11% increase. The regional scorecard was a 12% increase. Read the full article at Core Data.

How Chicago Is Making Its Own Affordable Housing Crisis Worse
Developers are cashing in when they pay into the aforementioned low-income housing fund instead of offering an affordable unit. They get about half of that $225,000 fee back in tax credits and that’s just one of the incentives the city offers; more than $4 million has gone missing from the fund. Chicago has to stop rewarding developers for opting out of helping the poor. Read the full story at Truthout.

Yes, let’s build more social housing – and show that we’ve learned the lessons of the Grenfell tragedy (UK)
This would not only represent a housebuilding revolution, it would ultimately create a profound shift in the way we live. Read the full story in the Independent.

Gov. Brown backs bill to limit rent increases statewide (Oregon)
The bill also would prevent landlords from evicting tenants without cause after they’d lived in a property for more than one year — essentially banning what is commonly known as “no-cause evictions.” Read the full story at Blue Mountain Eagle.

Homeless Advocates Demand ‘Home Stability Support’ to Stem Crisis
The HSS bill, first introduced by Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi in 2016, would create a rent supplement for New Yorkers who are eligible for public assistance benefits and who face eviction or loss of housing due to domestic violence or dangerous living conditions. Read the full story at the Queens Daily Eagle.

276 more families left homeless by landlords with crisis deepening (Ireland)
“We’re still getting about 200 families a month coming in presenting as homeless, mainly coming from the private rented sector. We’ve a private rental sector that’s dysfunctional, it’s just not working and that’s the biggest issue for us.” Read the full story at Herald.ie.

Thousands without heat in NYC public housing on eve of polar vortex

Shelter House opens ‘housing first’ project to combat chronic homelessness in Iowa City
The new facility is a “housing first” model, operated with the mentality that stable housing should come before prerequisites such as addressing behavioral health issues or completing programs. Cross Park Place, which was debuted during an open house Wednesday, will begin filling its 24 single-occupancy apartments this month. Read the full story at The Gazette.

Disparate impact, the latest civil rights tool in Ben Carson’s crosshairs, explained
The Justice Department memo signals a renewed push to undermine a key legal tool used to sue landlords, insurance companies, and lenders for practices that have a discriminatory effect on women, people of color, and the disabled. Read the full article on Curbed.

No Place for the Displaced (Pakistan)
In the last couple of years, operations to reclaim possession of lands, anti-encroachment drives to evict people living in informal settlements on lands acquired by developers, and clearing water passages like Gujjar Nullah have resulted in thousands of inhabitants being deprived of the homes they occupied for decades. Read the full story in News Line Magazine.

Generation rent is a myth – housing prospects for millennials are determined by class
ThE tale of intergenerational unfairness overlooks the fact that there are equally significant inequalities between young people themselves. If politicians don’t recognise that, there’s a real risk that attempts to address the issues within the housing market won’t assist those worst affected. Read the full article at The Conversation.

Argentina’s indigenous people fight for land rights
“As the city of Tartagal grew, they pushed our indigenous communities out, so we go wherever we can,” explains López, who says that a couple of years ago they were evicted in an operation in which some 200 police officers participated. “We stayed on the side of the road for about two months, until the policemen left and we went back in. We have nowhere else to go. This used to be all forest. Today we are surrounded by soy,” she says. Read the full story on The Morung Express.

The Three Housing Stories to Watch in 2019
“Opportunity zones,” privatizing public housing, and ending single-family zoning. Read the full story at Next City.

HUD Housing Realities: Female-led And Feeling The Financial Burn
For residents of HUD-subsidized housing, housing has never been more expensive. Read the article in Forbes.

Nashville bill would mandate affordable housing payment when incentives are granted
A proposed Metro Council ordinance would require the city to make a contribution to Nashville’s affordable housing fund whenever economic development incentives are granted to companies. Read the article at The Tennessean.

Over Half of Urban Renters Face a Kind of Housing Insecurity
The study, published in Housing Policy Debate, uses a new housing insecurity index with measures in four key dimensions: overcrowding, unaffordability, poor physical conditions, and recent experience of eviction or a forced move. Read the full article at Futurity.

In tackling affordable housing, let’s start with a realistic home-price-to-income expectation
Imagine if Minnesota lowered its [idea of what affordable housing should cost]. Would it lure businesses and workers? Would economic disparities start to level? Would families devote more time to education? Would builders be challenged to be more innovative and creative? Read more at StarTribune.

Does domestic violence protect a tenant from eviction?
“For victims trying to leave a domestic violence situation, the ability to have safe housing is critical,” said Jamie Sabino, an attorney with the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute who filed an amicus brief with other domestic violence advocates in support of Y.A. “Were she not to be able to stay in her apartment … and have to try to find a home for herself and her children, there might be a possibility of having to go back to the abuser at some point.” Read the full story at Mass Live.

Why Co-op City confounds stereotypes about big housing projects
The community is proof that with well-designed apartments, sufficient public investment, and an engaged, politically mobilized community, large-scale affordable housing can work. Read more at Builder.

The Fowler got tax money for downtown housing. Some of the units are hotel-style rooms instead
Instead of housing, dozens of the units are operating as part of short-term rental business Stay Alfred. Stay Alfred says it has 30 units available in the building for short term stays. That means $30,000 in taxpayer dollars earmarked to boost housing is instead being used for a hotel-type service. Read the full article at BoiseDev.

Low-Income Affordable Housing At Risk As Shutdown Continues
Renters in some states are already facing threats of eviction from landlords as the shutdown has cut off funding to the federal rental assistance program that chipped in a portion of their rent. Read the full story on The Inquisitor.

‘There’s no money’: Shutdown freezes HUD funds for low-income senior citizens
More than 200 of the contracts that expired in December are for properties, like San Jose Manor II, that provide rental assistance for the elderly. While HUD has identified buckets of money that could potentially be used to shore up other low-income rental assistance contracts, including those for disabled adults, HUD has not been able to do so for the elderly housing program. Read the full story at NBC News.

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