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Public Housing

Home In Tacoma For All Coalition Seeks Greater Equity In Zoning Reforms

Home in Tacoma aims to overhaul Tacoma’s housing rules to allow greater flexibility in building practices. It will allow denser housing to be built to house our city’s ever growing population. The initial framework passed in December 2021 bringing Tacoma are one step closer to that goal. Though forward thinking, the plan also falls short of its potential. As I’ve pointed out in previous articles, the reach of the plan is not exactly equitable or far reaching. In short, poorer communities of color are being disproportionately rezoned in comparison to their wealthier, whiter counterparts. Communities of color will be transformed while privileged communities get to maintain the status quo. Segregation with some window dressing, if you will.

Public Housing To Be Demolished In Tampa For New Development

Robles Park Village is a 433-unit public housing complex in Tampa Heights, Florida, near Ybor City. After months of inspections, city officials found that a small portion of this community was built on top of Zion Cemetery, a historic Black cemetery, forcing 88 units to be vacated to move forward with cemetery preservation processes. Following several surveying sessions, the remaining Robles Park residents were told by Tampa city officials that their homes were set to be demolished. The Tampa Housing Authority along with Baker Barrios Architects and Property Markets Group announced a “master plan” for the Robles Park Village which is set to include over 1,000 new houses, resource facilities, and a Zion Cemetery memorial site. The Tampa Housing Authority reports that 85 percent of the new development will be “affordable rental housing” while

Cooperatives And Community Land Trusts: Natural Partners?

The first ever presidential visit to the South Bronx took America’s chief executive to a multi-unit cooperative, a radical break from the nation’s housing norms that became a symbol of hope during the depths of the urban crisis. In October 1977, Jimmy Carter’s cream-colored limousine rolled into the devastation of the South Bronx. Escorted by six motorcycles and three helicopters, the trip had been kept secret until the last possible moment. There were two stops on the tour. At one, Carter saw a ghost block where every building had been leveled, confirming the nightmarish popular image of this section of New York City. The other stop was something else entirely. The president was driven to a multistory apartment building at 1186 Washington Ave., where tenants had taken control after the landlord walked away.

Powerful Government Policy Segregated Us

I am the author of a book, The Color of Law, that disproves the myth of de facto segregation. In truth, we are residentially segregated, not naturally or from private bigotry, but primarily by racially explicit policies of federal, state, and local governments designed to prevent African Americans and whites from living as neighbors; these 20th-century policies were so powerful that they determine much of today’s residential, social, and economic inequality. Because powerful government policy segregated us, racial boundaries violate the fifth, 13th, and 14th amendments. Our nation thus has a positive constitutional obligation to redress segregation with policies as intentional as those that segregated us. The federal government made housing and homeownership critical to families’ economic stability and upward mobility.

Addressing America’s Homelessness And Squalor

Washington, Ward 1 - “I wanna know where the $2.5 million is – that’s my reaction.” Muhsin Boe Luther Umar — or as we call him, Uncle Boe — throws his hands up and shakes his head. In his role as both Resident Council President at Garfield Terrace and D.C. Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B03 Member, he’s had more than his fair share of dealings with D.C. Housing Authority (DCHA). So I had asked him what his reaction was upon hearing about the recent audit of three DCHA contracts, which found nearly $1.4 million in wasted funds. “You’re talking $1.4, I’m talking about $2.5 million spent on one senior housing building,” he says. Back in 2018, D.C. is said to have spent $2.5 million on “weatherizing” improvements for Garfield Terrace, “$975,000 spent to keep the roof from leaking – it’s still leaking,” Boe says, pointing to the water stains on the ceiling.

It’s Time To Build New, Mixed-Income Public Housing

Is today the time to fight for public housing in the United States? That’s the argument of “Social Housing in the United States,” a new report published by the People’s Policy Project, an independent think tank. With half of the rental population facing the prospect of being rent-burdened, and with fewer than 1 in 3 of the 9 million families foreclosed during the recession likely to purchase homes again, something clearly must change in the way we approach housing and shelter. I spoke with Ryan Cooper, co-author of the report (with Peter Gowan), about current approaches to government intervention in the rental market, the politics of home ownership, why public housing needs to be mixed income, and what we can envision from a society that provides adequate, affordable housing to all of its citizens. Quotes from the interview are included in a piece on public housing published with In These Times.

This Is The Wrong Time To Cut Back On Public Housing

Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson has answered President Trump’s call to shrink the social safety net. Carson recently offered a proposal that would triple the rent some of America’s poorest families have to pay before they get housing assistance. Housing advocates are appalled. If they’re pushed out of public housing, many low-income families could face housing instability at every turn. That could mean a lifetime of poverty, tenuous employment, and an unstable environment for kids. As of March 2018, the median cost of a new home is $337,200, placing home ownership out of the reach of many Americans. Even for those who try to reach it, redlining and discriminatory lending on the part of banks can render the possible impossible. An analysis from Reveal by The Center for Investigative Reporting found that black Americans in particular...

A Plan To Solve The Housing Crisis Through Social Housing

Many American cities face a severe shortage of affordable housing — and not just for the poor, but well up into the upper-middle class. A recent report from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies concluded: “The rental market thus appears to be settling into a new normal where nearly half of renter households are cost burdened,” or paying more than 30 percent of their income in rent. What these cities need is a dramatic increase in the number of mid-range and affordable dwellings to ease the price pressure on their rental markets. They should address the problem directly: by constructing a large number of government-owned municipal housing developments. Unlike traditional American public housing, all city residents will be eligible to live there. There are two major benefits to this approach. First, it adds new rental capacity in the housing market directly where it is needed.

National Housing Crisis Becomes Focus Of Protest

By Owen Silverman Andrews for Medium - Turning out in force despite the sweltering July heat in East Baltimore, residents of Douglass Homes public housing gathered at the Orleans Branch Library to speak out against foul play and deteriorating conditions. “We are demanding an election,” said Baltimore City Resident Advisory Board (RAB) Delegate Rev. Annie Chambers. “This is the first action, where we’re deciding how we’re gonna push back.” Rev. Chambers, second from left, reads from restrictive new regulations approved by the RAB. Rev. Chambers of the Green Party, who was elected to the citywide advisory body for public housing on March 30, decried her opponent’s foul play in her own election, as well as the appointment by the Housing Authority of Baltimore City of the traditionally elected Douglass Homes Tenants Council President position, and the generally deteriorating conditions families are being subjected to. Douglass Homes residents “haven’t gotten any tenant participation funds, we don’t have any playgrounds, or programs. We’ve missed out on so much by not having a duly elected Tenant Council,” she added as she convened the group of approximately 40 public housing residents and supporters in the Library’s meeting room.

Public Housing Residents Told To Tear Up Their Gardens

By Katherine Martinko for Treehugger. Residents of public housing units in South Pittsburg, TN are angry. The executive director of the South Pittsburg Housing Authority, Lisa Bradford, recently announced that residents can no longer have gardens in their yards, despite the fact that the residents pay for plants themselves and some have tended their beautiful gardens for many years. Last week the new Resolution 937 took effect: “The South Pittsburg Housing Authority, beginning on June 1, 2016 will impose a new Landscaping Policy for all residents of the South Pittsburg Housing Authority. The new landscaping policy states that ALL landscaping, including gardening, is to be removed from the housing authority property, unless it is planted by the South Pittsburg Housing Authority staff.

Why SF Needs To Use Public Lands For Public Benefit

A record number of students are homeless. Essential nonprofit organizations are being displaced from the communities they serve. Small, locally owned businesses can't survive as rents soar. The angst that is swelling throughout San Francisco and pushing outward to other Bay Area cities is not because people are resisting change. The angst is over the largest growing inequality gap in the country. At the forefront of people's concerns is how much people now have to spend on rent. Market-rate housing is catering to the region's new wealth, while the government is rolling out policies to make the city a rich man's playground.

Chicago Opening Door To Privatizing Half its Public Housing

Chicago, long a pioneer of privatization, is poised to embark on a sweeping experiment with the city’s public-housing stock. The Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) plans to court private investment in as much as half of its public-housing units through the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD), a new federal program billed as a way to “revitalize” housing for the poor and address a $26 billion backlog in needed repairs. But housing advocates around the country worry that RAD is just a prelude to privatization. RAD, approved by Congress in 2011, gives local housing authorities broad latitude to raise funds, including the ability to mortgage or sell public-housing buildings.

Seattle Tenants Force Public Housing Not To Raise Rent

Public housing tenants are celebrating the Seattle Housing Authority’s (SHA) decision to retract a controversial plan to raise rents by more than 400 percent in the coming years. The “Stepping Forward” plan, announced last September, was immediately met with stiff resistance from tenants mostly organized through theTenants Union of Washington State(TUWS). In November, about 200 tenants of SHA buildings marched down Queen Anne Avenue to protest, then descended on the regularly scheduled SHA Board of Commissioners meeting, and spoke out about fears of displacement and homelessness if the plan were to be implemented. Commented TUWS leader and public housing resident Lynn Sereda, “We do remain vigilant, but consider this to be a victory for tenants, and our attention is now focused on making sure that the new appointments to the Board of Commissioners of SHA will be accountable to tenants and that we will have a voice in that process.”

How Democrats Helped To Kill Low Cost Housing

Clinton’s housing policy was part and parcel of welfare reform. Certainly, both federal income assistance and public housing needed changes. But Clinton and Congress adopted a model based in punishment and austerity. He was literally worse than the Republicans at every turn. His version of HOPE VI, the program to demolish and rebuild public housing, removed the very reasonable guarantee of one-to-one replacement of demolished housing. Clinton was able to use progressive critiques of the worst aspects of federal housing such as the warehousing of the poor in substandard conditions to accomplish the conservative goal of privatizing formerly public housing.

Housing The Homeless In Baltimore’s Vacants

Housing the homeless of Baltimore in the city’s vacant rowhouses is being floated again by local affordable housing activists whose idea forms the core of an article in the current Atlantic. Their idea is “to create a community land trust – a non-profit that will hold the title to the land in order to make it permanently affordable.” according totoday’s piece by Alana Semuels. “Structures on the land can be bought and sold, but the trust owns the land forever,” she writes about the proposal by Housing Is A Human Right Roundtable, a coalition of labor activists and homeless people affiliated with the United Workers. “A community land trust essentially takes the ‘market’ part out of the housing market, allowing people to buy homes but restricting their resale value in order to make them affordable for the next buyer.”
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