The Myth of Homeownership Lives On

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) just released finalized housing goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The goals are effective now through 2017 and support single-family and multi-family units. Both agencies will provide support for all housing types. The assistance for both purchase and rental properties will go largely unchanged. I am, of course, […]

Inclusionary zoning in Los Angeles, please

An editorial in the Los Angeles Times call on Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and the City Council to support affordable housing through inclusionary zoning, a legal mechanism that links development with mandatory affordable housing construction. According to the piece, more than 200 California municipalities have adopted inclusionary zoning laws, although not without many court battles. […]

Will new performance fees keep CHA property managers honest?

The Chicago Housing Authority’s new CEO, Eugene Jones, has made his first radical change to public housing. Last June, the CHA issued a request for proposals (RFP) for property management contracts. For the purposes of the RFP, Chicago was divided into five zones and companies were asked to bid on up to all five zones, with […]

Seattle City Council makes first move toward 20,000 affordable units

Seattle’s City Council has made its first move to create 20,000 units of affordable housing (of 50,000 total proposed new units) by 2025. The city is selling a small parcel of land corner lot to Stream Real Estate for approximately $1.4 million, or fair-market value. Stream plans to construct approximately an approximately 150-unit building on […]

Vote for affordable housing projects!

Affordable Housing Finance (AHF), an online magazine that covers affordable housing projects throughout the country, is about to close voting on its annual Reader’s Choice Awards. The contest is broken into nine categories, with 34 projects total projects in competition. Eligible developments were either completed in 2014 or will be completed in 2015. Each entry […]

Preserving housing along The 606

Residents living along the route of Chicago’s new recreational trail The 606 (also known as Bloomingdale Trail) are, as predicted, feeling the pressure of gentrification. For low-income families, this could mean a forced exodus further west, away from the city, where rents and property values remain low.  Mayor Emanuel promised to help preserve affordable housing […]

Not enough affordable housing in Berkeley

I am always surprised (although I know I shouldn’t be) when I learn that so-called progressive cities like Berkeley do not meet their affordable housing needs. With so many students, educated, liberal people housing should be a de facto part of city planning, it should be a matter of course. But shoulds are not realities and so […]

Affordable Housing Planning and Appeal Act has no clout

The Affordable Housing Planning and Appeal Act (AHPAA) of Illinois is more suggestion than law. Under the AHPAA, any municipality with less than 10 percent of total housing stock designated as affordable or a population of 1,000 or more is encouraged to submit a plan to the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) for increasing its number of […]

Housing Choice Vouchers: a brief explanation

A long-overdue definition has been added to the glossary: Housing Choice Vouchers! A quick explanation of the program that dominates the politics of housing. The term voucher is often used, but rarely explained. And HUD’s glossary definition, “the federal government’s major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, […]

Income limits and public housing

The New York Post published an editorial this past Sunday vilifying affordable housing. As proof, it used a July audit of HUD by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) that showed a total of 25,226 households living in public housing units nationwide were over HUD’s income limits for FY2014. The OIG excluded Moving to Work housing […]