Tenants in L.A. Asked the City to Buy Their Building. Surprisingly, the City Agreed
Next City, June 9, 2022, Roshan Abraham
In a major win for residents of an affordable building in L.A.’s Chinatown, the city will bid on the 124-unit apartment complex to prevent a drastic rent increase.
On May 27, that organizing paid off. The Los Angeles City Council voted to take out a loan to purchase the Hillside Villa Apartments and keep them affordable. The vote was unanimous — 12 council members voted yes (three were absent). It represents a huge victory for the Hillside Villa Tenants Association, which has fought against the landlords’ stark rent increases for the past three years. It is also a bold approach from L.A. City Council that will test the city’s ability to intervene on behalf of tenants facing displacement by pulling housing from the private sector.
It could also present a potential way forward for the city’s many other affordable housing units slated to lose their affordable housing status. According to a November 2019 Mckinsey report, there were 10,000 units of affordable housing across Los Angeles with affordability covenants set to expire by 2023.
President Biden Announces New Actions to Ease the Burden of Housing Costs
The White House, May 16, 2022, Statements and Releases
President Biden is releasing a Housing Supply Action Plan to ease the burden of housing costs over time, by boosting the supply of quality housing in every community. His plan includes legislative and administrative actions that will help close America’s housing supply shortfall in 5 years, starting with the creation and preservation of hundreds of thousands of affordable housing units in the next three years. When aligned with other policies to reduce housing costs and ensure affordability, such as rental assistance and downpayment assistance, closing the gap will mean more affordable rents and more attainable homeownership for Americans in every community. This is the most comprehensive all of government effort to close the housing supply shortfall in history.
Affordable Housing Can Lift Nearby Home Values
Route Fifty, April 22, 2022, Andre Claudio
Stable, affordable housing can benefit people with low incomes while also boosting local economies, according to a new report from the Urban Institute.
Alexandria, Virginia, a city of about 158,000 residents in the Washington, D.C. area, lost 78% of its market-rate affordable units between 2000 and 2020, according to the study. The group predicts that the city will need an additional 13,600 housing units to accommodate household growth from 2015 to 2030, mostly for middle- and low-income households.
Affordable housing can reduce homelessness, lift people out of poverty, improve health outcomes and youth educational outcomes, long-term earnings and reduce the possibility of adult incarceration, the report states.
Retiring to a hard life on the streets
Associated Press, April 11, 2022, Anita Snow
Karla Finocchio’s slide into homelessness began when she split with her partner of 18 years and temporarily moved in with a cousin.
She planned to use her $800-a-month disability check to get an apartment after back surgery. But she soon was sleeping in her old pickup protected by her German Shepherd mix Scrappy, unable to afford housing in Phoenix, where median monthly rents soared 33% during the coronavirus pandemic to over $1,220 for a one-bedroom, according to ApartmentList.com.
Finocchio, 55, is one face of America’s graying homeless population, a rapidly expanding group of destitute and desperate people 50 and older suddenly without a permanent home after a job loss, divorce, family death or health crisis during a pandemic.
“We’re seeing a huge boom in senior homelessness,” said Kendra Hendry, a caseworker at Arizona’s largest shelter, where older people make up about 30% of those staying there. “These are not necessarily people who have mental illness or substance abuse problems. They are people being pushed into the streets by rising rents.”
A Look at U.S. Efforts To Encourage ADU Production
PD&R Edge, February 22, 2022, Featured Article
Housing advocates and policymakers have grown increasingly interested in accessory dwelling units (ADUs) or “granny flats” — small units of housing built inside, attached to, or on the same property as a primary residence — as an important strategy for increasing housing supply. In recent years, jurisdictions such as California have removed regulatory barriers to ADU construction to address high housing costs stemming from inadequate housing production. On February 1, 2022, the White House convened a virtual discussion aimed at identifying strategies to make ADU construction easier. Panelists discussed the role of ADUs in increasing the supply of affordable housing, described efforts from across the nation to streamline the ADU permitting and construction process for homeowners, and examined ways to make ADU financing more accessible.
Build Back Better includes $170 billion for affordable housing–here’s where it would go
CNBC, November 24, 2021, Taylor Locke
House Democrats passed the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act on Friday, which includes a number of provisions for housing aid, including investments in public housing, rental assistance and down payment assistance. It now goes to the Senate, where it is likely to be revised again.
In total, the legislation allocates about $170 billion to provisions for affordable housing. It’s the largest investment in affordable housing in history, according to the Biden administration, and will build or preserve more than 1 million affordable homes.
HUD Awards $20 Million For Eviction Protection and Diversion
HUD Press Release, November 23, 2021, HUD Public Affairs
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on Tuesday announced $20 million in inaugural grants from its Eviction Protection Grant Program, the first of its kind for the Department. These grants will be awarded to legal service providers to assist in providing legal assistance to low-income tenants at risk of or subject to eviction. The Eviction Protection Grant Program is part of HUD’s continued work, as part of a whole of government approach, to support families recovering from the public health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
HUD has selected and offered grants to 10 organizations from across the country to support their ability to expand resolution options for clients at risk of eviction. Over 100 applications were submitted for consideration, making the grant selection process highly competitive.
The Eviction Protection Grant Program supports experienced legal service providers in providing legal assistance at no cost to low-income tenants at risk of or subject to eviction. Through HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research, the grants were made available to legal service providers serving or expanding services in areas with high rates of eviction or prospective evictions, including rural areas. This grant program plays an integral role in helping individuals and families, including people of color who are disproportionately represented among those evicted, people with limited English proficiency and people with disabilities, avoid eviction or minimize the disruption and damage caused by the eviction process.
Institutional Investors Funneling Funds Into Affordable Housing To Hit ESG Targets
Bisnow Atlanta, November 22, 2021, Jarred Schenke
As the nation's affordable housing crisis worsens, institutional investors and private companies are stepping in with their capital, propelled by the growing demand for environmental, social and governance investing.
Cecil Phillips, the CEO of developer Place Properties, said at a Bisnow multifamily conference last week that a demographic shift is occurring at institutional investment firms with younger leaders with more awareness of ESG. At the same time, institutional investors are still expecting market returns for investments into projects that, on their own, wouldn't provide that guarantee.
The easiest way to provide returns in exchange for new affordable product is to reduce construction costs, Phillips said, especially through modular construction, which can be upward of 20% less than traditional construction. Place Properties has launched an affiliate company called Impact Housing, which develops modular single-family housing geared toward lower-income buyers. Place purchased a modular construction plant in March and has so far delivered 100 homes, and has contracts to produce 50 houses per month starting in January, Phillips told Bisnow in an email after the event.
Apartment Demand Hits All-Time Highs, With Construction Ramping Up To Match
BisNow East Coast, October 7, 2021, Matthew Rothstein
Demand for apartments across the U.S. has never been higher, and the supply side is failing to keep up despite its best efforts.
Absorption of multifamily units jumped by more than 255,000 in the third quarter, according to data from property management and analytics platform RealPage. That represents the largest figure for a single quarter in records that reach back to the early 1990s and comes just as the annual demand volume of over 597,000 is miles past what has previously been recorded — more than 200,000 above its most recent peak in Q3 of 2018.
The demand volume curve has gone nearly vertical in the first three quarters of this year, reflecting an unleashed market that was all but frozen for most of 2020. A dip in rent prices, a little more money in the bank and a job market more favorable to applicants for the first time in a generation all combined to form an unprecedented rush — one that might have peaked in the third quarter, RealPage reports.
Remote Working, Commuting Time, Life Events All Affect Home Buyers’ Decisions
U.S Census Bureau, October 4, 2021, Earlene K.P. Dowell
The housing market came to a screeching halt in March 2020, when much of the nation shut down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the summer rebound, when many strict lockdown measures were lifted, was big and fast and revealed new homebuying patterns: Americans, many now used to working remotely, began buying farther away from some cities and traditional job centers.
During a U.S. Census Bureau Local Employment Dynamics Webinar earlier this year, economists from real estate firm Zillow showed how pairing Census Bureau data with Zillow data revealed the impact of the pandemic on housing market trends.
Housing shortage: 5 million more homes needed for supply to catch up to demand
The Motley Fool, 24 September, 2021, Matthew Frankel
There are roughly 140 million homes in the United States, but according to a recent report by Realtor.com, that isn't quite enough. In fact, there's such an imbalance in the supply of homes and the number of people who want to become homeowners that the U.S. needs 5.24 million more homes.
To be sure, this shortage didn't spring up overnight, and housing demand from homebuyers being a little ahead of supply isn't uncommon. For example, in 2019, the same report found a shortage of 3.84 million. But the red-hot 2021 housing market has certainly made it worse.
'This Just Isn't Sustainable': The Housing Affordability Crisis Is Accelerating
BisNow Atlanta, August 16, 2021, Jarred Schenke
Decades in the making, the U.S. is facing a worsening housing shortage that is pushing housing prices and rents higher, and signs are pointing to it getting worse before it gets better.
Experts estimate the country needs to add 2 million housing units per year to accommodate a population that grew by 7.4% over the past decade, according to the recently released 2020 U.S. census data. But last year, the country produced just 1.3 million units of housing, and construction prices, labor shortages and restrictive zoning and building codes are making it unlikely the gap is going to shrink anytime soon.
HUD Makes Over $19 Million Available to Fight Housing Discrimination
HUD, July 21, 2021, Press Release
HUD announced that it is making $19.4 million available to help HUD Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) agencies conduct activities that will address discriminatory housing practices related to the COVID-19 pandemic. These ARP funds may be used by fair housing organizations to equitably expand housing enforcement services for underserved populations who need their services the most. Underserved populations include individuals making fair housing complaints who come from low-income backgrounds and persons with disabilities, as well as people of color, including African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian American and Pacific Islanders. Applicants for the funding may also propose new fair housing projects relating to discriminatory practices arising in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.
CNN Business, July 15, 2021, Anna Bahney
Housing has become so expensive in the United States that the typical minimum wage worker cannot afford rent, according to a new report.
There is no state, county or city in the country where a full-time, minimum-wage worker working 40 hours a week can afford a two-bedroom rental, a report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition showed.
A full-time minimum-wage worker can afford a one-bedroom rental in only 7% of all US counties — 218 counties out of more than 3,000 nationwide.
The federal minimum wage is $7.25.
Supreme Court Leaves National Eviction Ban in Place
Route-Fifty, June 30, 2021, Andrea Noble
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a ruling allowing a national eviction moratorium to remain in place, rejecting a plea by landlords to strike the ban before it expires next month.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week extended the moratorium through July 31, indicating it would be the final such extension.
A lower court judge had struck down the ban, finding the CDC had overstepped its legal authority in issuing the nationwide moratorium. The decision was stayed however, and the ban remained active while the case was petitioned to the Supreme Court.
Kavanaugh wrote in a brief decision issued Tuesday that he agreed with the lower court ruling, but that the temporary nature of the moratorium swayed his vote.
“Because the CDC plans to end the moratorium in only a few weeks, on July 31, and because those few weeks will allow for additional and more orderly distribution of the congressionally appropriated rental assistance funds, I vote at this time to deny the application to vacate the District Court’s stay of its order,” he wrote.
Were the CDC to attempt to extend the moratorium again, Kavanaugh wrote that congressional authorization would be necessary.
800,000 older Americans risk eviction once COVID moratorium expires July 31
The Motley Fool, June 25, 2021, Maurie Backman
About 10% of renters over the age of 65 are behind on their rent, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. That means that about 800,000 older people risk losing their homes once the CDC's eviction ban expires.
The last two stimulus bills jointly allocated $45 billion in rental assistance funds to help tenants catch up on overdue rent. As long as they manage to get current, their landlords can't evict them on the basis of nonpayment. (The existing ban doesn't protect tenants at risk of eviction due to violating other lease terms, like having a pet when a lease prohibits it.)
FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Announces Initiatives to Promote Housing Stability By Supporting Vulnerable Tenants and Preventing Foreclosures
The White House Briefing Room, June 24, 2021, Statements and Releases
The Biden-Harris Administration announced a number of steps to keep people in their homes by protecting renters and homeowners who are still experiencing shocks from the pandemic and its economic fallout. Following the CDC’s decision to extend the eviction moratorium for one final month through July 31, 2021, the Administration is announcing a series of actions to help state and local governments prevent evictions. The Administration is also taking action to stabilize homeowners and support a return to a more stable housing market, including by extending the foreclosure moratorium for federally-backed mortgages by a final month, until July 31st.
The American Rescue Plan allocated an additional $21.5 billion for Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) that can be used by renters to cover arrears and make landlords whole. This is on top of $25 billion allocated under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, bringing the total amount of ERA available to more than $46 billion and creating an economic and moral imperative for state and local governments to rise to the challenge of building a new infrastructure for getting emergency rental assistance to vulnerable renters and landlords.
Rueters, June 22, 2021, David Shepardson, Michelle Conlin
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) COVID-19 residential eviction moratorium set to expire June 30 is expected to be extended by another month, sources briefed on the matter told Reuters.
On Tuesday, a group of 44 U.S. lawmakers urged the extension, citing an estimate from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that about "6 million renter households are behind on their rent and at risk of eviction."
The letter to the CDC and Biden signed by Democrats lawmakers Ayanna Pressley, Jimmy Gomez, Cori Bush, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Carolyn B. Maloney and others, warned that without an extension "millions of renters will once again face the threat of eviction."
Associated Press, June 16, 2021, Ken Sweet and Michael Casey
More than 4 million people say they fear being evicted or foreclosed upon in the coming months, just as two studies released Wednesday found that the nation’s housing availability and affordability crisis is expected to worsen significantly following the pandemic.
The studies come as a federal eviction moratorium is set to expire at the end of the month. The moratorium has kept many tenants owing back rent housed. Making matters worse, the tens of billions of dollars in federal emergency rental assistance that was supposed to solve the problem has not reached most tenants.
The housing crisis, the studies found, risks widening the gap between Black, Latino and white households, as well as putting homeownership out of the reach of lower-income Americans.
Biden's Budget Includes 'Once In A Generation' Investment In Vouchers, Public Housing. Now Landlords Need To Get On Board.
Bisnow East Coast, June 6, 2021, Matthew Rothstein
President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan, one of the backbones of his fiscal year 2022 budget, promises over $2 trillion to the U.S. infrastructure and economy.
Amid the myriad programs, a relatively small line item in Biden’s budget could do more to house the country’s most vulnerable citizens than any government policy since before Ronald Reagan was president. The $30B allocated to the Housing Choice Vouchers program and $40B allocated to public housing would be a godsend to housing authorities across the country — if it survives Congress, where the budget’s price tag and the funding necessary to meet it have been hotly debated.
In order for the expansion of the voucher program to have its intended effect, more landlords will need to get on board with renting to its recipients and be given the support to do so. A majority of units rented to voucher recipients are owned by landlords who control six units or fewer in some cities — exactly the group hit hardest by the pandemic-driven combination of unpaid rent and eviction moratoriums.
Biden Wants to Offer More Housing Vouchers. Many Landlords Won’t Accept Them.
Route-Fifty, May 12, 2021, Kristian Hernández, Stateline
President Joe Biden wants to expand Section 8 housing assistance to more than 200,000 additional families. The administration proposed an additional $5.4 billion in hopes that housing vouchers will help low-income people at risk of homelessness because of the pandemic.
But the challenge for many voucher-holders is finding landlords willing to accept them.
Nationwide, more than 2.2 million households receive federal subsidies through the Housing Choice Voucher Program. The program, established in 1974 under Section 8 of the U.S. Housing Act, is meant to fill the gap between what families can afford to pay and local rents. But under federal law, landlords are free to reject tenants with vouchers.
HUD Announces $5 Billion to Increase Affordable Housing to Address
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia L. Fudge announced the allocation of nearly $5 billion in American Rescue Plan funds to help communities across the country create affordable housing and services for people experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness. Secretary Fudge made the announcement during a Zoom call with U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (OH), Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, and Birmingham, Alabama Mayor Randall Woodfin.
The supplemental funding is allocated through the HOME Investment Partnerships Program to 651 grantees, including states, insular areas, and local governments.
HUD “sets income limits that determine eligibility for assisted housing programs including:”
The agency based the 2021 Income Limits on “Median Family Income estimates and Fair Market Rent area definitions for each metropolitan area, parts of some metropolitan areas, and each non-metropolitan county.”
The number of rental apartments completed in the United States in 2019 remained statistically unchanged from the previous year but dropped by 15,000 from 2017.
We looked at the characteristics of newly constructed apartments spanning 2015 to 2019, including the number of units, percentage rented in the first three months after being completed, and the median rents — both nationally and by regions.
Amazon said Wednesday that it is launching a $2 billion housing equity fund to preserve and create over 20,000 affordable housing units in Washington state’s Puget Sound region; Arlington, Virginia; and Nashville—three areas where the company has or expects to have at least 5,000 employees each in the coming years.
The fund aims to preserve existing housing and create inclusive housing developments through below-market loans and grants to housing partners, traditional and non-traditional public agencies and minority-led organizations.
Renters who have been unable to pay rent during the coronavirus pandemic will be protected from eviction for another month under the Covid-19 relief bill approved Monday by Congress.
The $900 billion deal agreed to by lawmakers after months of negotiations and stalemates extends the Trump administration’s previous eviction moratorium, which would have expired Dec. 31, until the end of January.
The median price of a townhouse, home or condo soared above $300,000 for the first time over the summer. The average property is selling in just 22 days, faster than ever.
That new demand has run into an old problem. Since 1960, home prices across the country have risen more than four times faster than income, and many experts say the cause is frustratingly simple: America has a housing shortage. Some 400,000 fewer homes came up for sale this summer, compared to last, according to data from the National Association of Realtors and the U.S. Census Bureau.
The CARES Act was largely successful in keeping millions of American renters from facing eviction during the pandemic. As protections fade, some landlords are gearing up to return to court.
Starting July 25, a key component of the federal eviction moratorium is set to expire, allowing landlords that operate federally backed rental properties to give their tenants 30 days’ notice to vacate. After that period, landlords can file for eviction.
It should come as no surprise that older Americans overwhelmingly want to stay in their home as they age. But are their homes ready for them to stay?
For millions of older Americans, home is where they raised a family, hosted holidays and told bedtime stories to their children and grandchildren. It is often their nest egg as well as an anchor to their community.
But older homes don’t always meet the needs of older Americans, according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Federal officials are funneling millions of dollars into new housing opportunities for people with disabilities across the nation.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said it is making available nearly $77 million to support as many as 8,300 housing vouchers for this population.
The funding for what’s known as the Section 811 Mainstream Housing Choice Voucher Program was announced late last month and is part of the CARES Act, a large coronavirus relief package approved by Congress in March.