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Housing

A Unique Community Land Trust Making Homeownership Affordable

When Michael Haggins’ credit score disqualified him for a mortgage preapproval in 2021, he was crushed. A single father who grew up in Richmond, Haggins dreamed of owning a house in his hometown where his two sons could play freely. A shortage of just five credit score points — plus systemic inequities and a national housing crisis — left them all living with his mother. But today, Haggins is the proud owner of a home in Church Hill, thanks to Richmond’s Maggie Walker Community Land Trust (MWCLT) and its pioneering model for creating permanently affordable housing. “I don’t think I could’ve done it without their help, honestly,” says Haggins.

The Fight To Reclaim Texas’ Highways For People

Freeways rip apart neighborhoods, displace primarily Black and Brown people and increase greenhouse gas emissions — so why do we keep building them? According to a new book from Austin-based journalist Megan Kimble, “​​City Limits: Infrastructure, Inequality, and the Future of America’s Highways,” it doesn’t have to be this way. Right now, a new generation of freeway fighters is battling freeway expansion across the country. Kimble’s book profiles three campaigns in Texas to build places for people, not cars: Stop TxDOT I-45 in Houston, Rethink35 in Austin and the campaign to remove the I-345 highway in Dallas.

Detroit: $1,700 Duplex Is Now One Of The City’s Most Energy-Efficient Homes

In 2016, the home Kendal Kuneman’s grandmother grew up in sat abandoned in Detroit like so many others. Its doors and windows were gone, the roof was failing, part of a stairwell was missing, and scrappers had stripped the home of its metal. But the family connection drove Kuneman to buy the duplex for $1,700 from the Detroit Land Bank with the notion of transforming it into a green home. Seven years later, the Faust Street house is something else entirely: It is among the most energy-efficient homes in Detroit, fully electrified, and on the path to becoming net zero.

Venezuela: Government Delivers 4.9 Million Homes

The Venezuelan government marked the 13th anniversary of Venezuela’s Great Housing Mission (GMVV) by celebrating the 4.9 millionth home delivered to working-class families. On Tuesday, President Nicolás Maduro unveiled the new milestone by inaugurating the “Parque Hábitat El Ingenio” housing project, located in Guatire city, Miranda state. In a televised broadcast, Maduro handed the apartment keys to a young couple and their child alongside local authorities. One of the beneficiaries, young mother Marisabel Quiñonez, said she was studying electromedicine for free at the National Experimental University Francisco de Miranda.

When You’re Unsheltered, ‘Public Safety’ Doesn’t Include You

I’m going to tell you something you already know: Every human being is entitled to a roof over their head and a place to sleep at night. This is an indisputable truth, part of the catechism of humanistic virtue. In a world that lived up to its self-professed ideals of opportunity, any condition of homelessness would be rare, brief and non-recurring. The reality is cultural attitudes toward impoverished people – fueled by toxic portrayals, fear mongering in the media and systematic dehumanization – have made homelessness not a community problem to be solved, but an individual offense to be punished, and defines those who suffer this condition as enemies to the idyllic peace of ‘good (read: housed and well-fed) people’.

Clean Energy Investments Must Prioritize Climate-Resilient Housing

Whether it’s a homeowner wanting to install a heat pump, a restaurant looking to invest in solar panels, or a neighborhood organization hoping to add local green energy capacity, cost and ease of financing pose barriers to improving climate resilience for many people businesses, and organizations nationwide. Too often, traditional banks are skeptical of or have not previously supported climate investments. Filling this gap requires intentional policymaking, which the Biden Administration has prioritized through its new Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF), a first-of-its-kind $27 billion fund to finance a sustainable climate future for generations to come.

SCOTUS Is Set To Make A Watershed Ruling On Homelessness

This month, the Supreme Court will begin to hear one of the highest-profile court cases about homelessness in generations. City of Grants Pass, Oregon v. Gloria Johnson considers whether a local government can outlaw sleeping outside if adequate shelter is not accessible. If the Court sides with Grants Pass, cities will be able to rely on punitive policies that do little to nothing to decrease homelessness and often cause worse outcomes for unhoused people in the process. If it favors Johnson, local governments will be required to demonstrate adequate shelter is available for an individual before resorting to harsh enforcement tactics.

A Radical Vision For The Housing Crisis In The West Of Ireland

Transit-oriented development is a land use planning approach that concentrates high-density, mixed-use development – housing, groceries, retail, employment, childcare – within walking distance from rapid transit services. Centering development around transit hubs helps create vibrant, active, affordable and accessible neighbourhoods where both businesses and people – residents, workers and tourists alike – can thrive. Polysee chose a 32-hectare parcel of land by Oranmore station, just outside Galway City, to model what this could look like.

First City-Wide Rent Reduction In The History Of New York Upheld

New York State’s Emergency Tenant Protection Act of 1974 permits the regulation of residential rents (“rent stabilization”) on the declaration of a housing emergency in New York City when the vacancy rate falls below 5%, or by similar declarations in municipalities in the suburban New York City counties of Nassau, Westchester and Rockland. A “Rent Guidelines Board” then has the power to set guidelines for rent adjustments. Today about half of all apartments in New York City are rent stabilized.

Finally, A Path Toward ‘Modern Housing’ In 2024

In 1934, the architectural critic Catherine Bauer published one of the most important books ever written on housing. “Modern Housing,” based on years of research in Europe, recounts the sharp differences between the American and European approaches to the similar housing crises both regions experienced after World War I. Political movements for dignified housing forced many European nations, such as England, Germany and the Netherlands, to invest in what Bauer termed “modern housing”: non-speculative, affordable homes with adequate space, light, ventilation and community space.

Missing From Biden’s State Of The Union: A Plan For The Rent Crisis

Demetrius Mosley works on trucks all day, assessing crash damage and fixing brakes on 18 wheelers. He earns $29 an hour. On the first of every month, he purchases a money order from a local Kroger store to pay his rent, the biggest bill in his budget. Mosley moved to Louisville, Kentucky three years ago with his four kids and their mom. The family rented a trailer in Pioneer Acres, a mobile home park. Rent was $885 per month. Since then, the owner has added fees and fines and hiked the rent to $1,100. He couldn’t afford to feed his kids, so he sent them to live with family in Florida.

I’ve Been Unhoused; It Could Happen To You, So Let’s Stop Criminalizing It

For a period in 2005, I was one of the more than 740,000 people who were experiencing homelessness at that time in the U.S. On an eastern section of Sunset Boulevard where tourists never venture, there’s the Hollywood Sunset Free Clinic — less chic than it sounds. Still, they had services ranging from medical care to showers, and for those seeking the latter, they’d give away those little test packets of shampoo and conditioner that used to come in magazines and in the mail. Herbal Essences was a favorite. After a quick rinse and a change of clothes, I could walk out of the clinic being treated like a real person until some indication of my situation betrayed me.

Combatting The Housing Crisis With The Crown Heights Tenants Union

Some 34% of available housing stock in the US is rented by tenants, who number over 114 million people. Among tenants, more than 40% pay over 35% of their monthly income towards rent alone. As wages stagnate and rents rise, the fight against landlords, evictions, and developers becomes more urgent to the class struggle day by day. The Real News speaks with Esteban Girón from the Crown Heights Tenants Union on the housing crisis roiling America and how tenants can fight back.

The National Fight For Rent Control

In April 2015, the Pacific Standard (RIP to yet another quality outlet shuttered) published a defense of rent control—with an opening salvo declaring it dead. New York tenant organizers would go on to win small, highly technical improvements to their rent regulation system a little later that year, but in the broad strokes, the Standard’s appraisal at the time wasn’t wrong. Localized systems in New York, California, and New Jersey were riddled with pro-landlord loopholes, while 31 states had instituted outright rent control bans, most at the behest of a shadowy neo-con organization.

Denver City Council Upholds Mayor’s ‘No Freezing Sweeps’ Veto

On the afternoon of February 12, the Denver City Council again voted on the “No Freezing Sweeps” bill in their chambers, but this time the vote was to potentially override Mayor Mike Johnston’s veto of the Council’s passage of the bill. When the roll call took place, each council member voted exactly as they did on January 29 — seven ayes, six nays — yet this time, that vote count resulted in the official failure of the bill. At least nine “aye” votes were needed for a successful override. “Each and every one of ya’ll that voted ‘no,’ ya’ll just voted to kill people!” Jerry Burton of Housekeys Action Network Denver (HAND), a local advocacy group for houseless people and their rights, was one of a few people who stood up and yelled at the City Council after the bill was officially voted down.
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