Resources this month feature a good, hard look at the direction of national housing policy priorities, the experience of "newly poor" children in the Twin Cities, meeting "worst case" housing needs, and the tussle between competing values of privacy, walkability, and community amenities.
Beyond the Recession: The Great Housing Rebalance
Following the housing collapse and the Great Recession, forward-thinking housing policy expert Bruce Katz urged rebalancing the housing market in a speech at a recent Michigan Conference on Affordable Housing. His remarks provide a timely overview of the housing market and suggest that our policy choices should be redirected for better housing opportunities. In the address, Katz promotes more and better rental housing options, greater attention to energy usage and the environment in housing development, and moving away from a housing economy “characterized by debt, frenzied with consumption, where housing became a leading rather than derivative sector.” Katz is a vice president with the Brookings Institution.
Children of the Newly Poor in the Twin Cities
Casualties of the Great Recession, Twin Cities children and parents find themselves coping with poverty--a new experience for many. The Spring, 2011 issue of the CURA Reporter highlighted the struggles of children facing for the first time homelessness, hunger, and emotional upheaval related to poverty. Parents are often unclear how to access resources or too embarassed to do so. This CURA Reporter issue also gives updated information on the linkage between foreclosures and race in Minneapolis.
Adding More Assisted Housing Found to Reduce “Worst Case” Housing Needs
A new HUD analysis of data for metropolitan areas concluded that when units of assisted housing are added to a market, households with “worst case” housing needs are reduced commensurately. Worst case housing needs are found among unassisted renter households with very low incomes who pay more than half their income for housing, live in severely inadequate housing, or both. The analysis found that for every 100 newly assisted units added to a market, 68 to 94 of these units went to tenants with worst case needs.
Survey Finds Americans Favor Walkable Communities, but Value Single Family Homes
According to a recent survey, most Americans would prefer walkable communities with shops, restaurants, and local businesses in walking distance of home, and jobs a short commute away, as long as those communities also provide privacy from neighbors and detached, single-family homes. The National Association of Realtors Community Preference Survey found that upon hearing detailed descriptions of a typical “smart growth” community versus a typical “sprawl” community, 56% of respondents would select the smart growth community and 43% the sprawl community.