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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

Affordable housing fights in Hoboken

Hoboken’s affordable housing ordinance (enacted in 1988) has been upheld by an appellate court, making it mandatory for developers to designate ten percent of new homes per housing development as affordable. Just as when California’s Supreme Court upheld a similar ordinance in San Jose, developers are outraged. The case came to court after the Fair Share […]

Keeping the Promise Ordinance in Chicago’s City Council today

The Chicago Housing Initiative and supporting Aldermen are introducing the Keeping the Promise Ordinance to Chicago’s City Council today. The Ordinance will create oversight and accountability for the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) by requiring the CHA to report to the Council on a quarterly basis; to replace each demolished unit with another unit on a one-for-one basis […]

Preserving affordable housing makes economic sense

Owners of Penn Plaza, an apartment building in the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh, recently handed out eviction notices to residents of its 321 units, of which 41 are affordable under Section 8 and the rest rent at below-market rates. The eviction notices came without any mention of relocation assistance (although they did remind residents to ‘have a […]

Is the ADL’s lawsuit against New York City worthwhile?

Should the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) sue New York City for its practice of setting aside fifty percent of unit in new affordable housing buildings for existing neighborhood residents? The League says the practice encourages whites to stay in place, discourages social mobility (since minorities will be less likely to move into good –white –neighborhoods where […]