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 […]

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 […]

Affordable housing and adaptive reuse

Rather than demolish an historic Portland church, a nonprofit organization, Shalom House, has submitted a proposal to use the space for housing low-income individuals with mental disabilities. The integrity of the exterior will remain largely unchanged, with the bulk of renovation taking place inside the building to create 25 affordable units. As I said in […]

Is affordable housing in the suburbs really affordable?

A recent article in The Atlantic about affordable housing in exclusive Chicago suburbs such as Glenview, started me thinking about the efficacy of affordable housing in the suburbs (or, rather, gave me an excuse to share my thoughts about it here, because housing in the suburbs is never far from my mind). The article praises […]

More changes come to the CHA with John T Hooker as new Chairman

The Chicago Housing Authority will welcome a new board chairman in August, when current Chairwoman Zaldwaynaka “Z” Scott retires from the position. Mayor Emanuel has chosen John T. Hooker as Scott’s replacement. Hooker has worked for more than forty years for ComEd, most recently as vice president of legislative and external affairs, lobbying for the […]

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 […]

Saving bungalows and creating affordable housing in Seattle

A former librarian in Seattle is proposing an excellent addition to the mayor’s recent housing goals: rather than raze historical bungalows (and other single family houses) in favor of condos and low-density buildings, convert portions of existing homes into rental units. This is far from a revolutionary idea, but it is one that is often […]