How to Enter a Housing Lottery | Difficulty in Feeding City Homeless | Co-Living in San Francisco

December 3rd 2013

(credit: Reuters)

  1. Want cheap rent? Here’s how to enter a housing lottery.  The need for affordable housing is huge. Some 31 percent of New York City renters are considered “severely rent-burdened” because they spend at least half their income on rent, according to NYU’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy. Another 24 percent of renters are “moderately rent-burdened,” forking out between 30 and 50 percent of their income for rent. [DNAinfo – 11/27/13]
  2. Why U.S. cities have been making it harder to feed the homeless. Every night around 6:15 p.m., the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition parks its truck on the same street corner in Los Angeles - because, of course, people need to know where to go - and begins serving meals to the homeless. Often 200 of them in a night. The scene has increasingly frustrated the neighbors, as Adam Nagourney describes in the New York Times. They’re upset that the homeless then linger in the neighborhood with nowhere to go. They’re upset by the noise. No one comes right out and says this, but it’s easy to imagine that they’re upset about their property values, too. As a result, two Democratic city councilmen have introduced an ordinance that would ban the public feeding of the homeless in Los Angeles, in a bid to push such efforts indoors. [The Atlantic Cities – 11/26/13]
  3. Life on $7.25 an hour.  There are 55,000 fast-food workers in New York - more than the entire population of Harrisburg, Pa. - and most, like Mr. Shoy, are struggling to stitch together a living in an industry where the median wage is $8.90 an hour. Last year, fast-food workers in Manhattan earned average pay of $19,000 - or about the cost of Mr. Shoy’s Honda. In Brooklyn, it was $15,500; on Staten Island, less. Since 2000, the number of fast-food jobs in New York City has increased by more than 50 percent - 10 times as fast as in any other type of private job. But the conspicuous increase has not received the attention given, say, to the city’s high-tech industry, nor has it lessened the financial insecurities of this growing work force. [The New York Times – 11/28/13]
  4. City erred in putting shelter rules into effect, court rules.  The Bloomberg administration violated city rules in trying to carry out a policy that imposes stricter requirements for sheltering homeless adults, New York State’s highest court ruled on Tuesday. The decision by the Court of Appeals is the third ruling that strikes down the new eligibility screening, which advocates for the homeless argue would violate New York City’s legal mandate to provide shelter. The court rulings, however, did not address the merits of the policy but rather the way officials tried to put it in place - without public review as required by the City Administrative Procedure Act. ” [The New York Times – 11/26/13]
  5. NYCHA tenants wait years for basic repairs while some work is marked ‘done’ without being fixed.  Public housing tenants like Ayers-Orr and NYCHA workers have serious doubts that the agency will honor its vow to clear tens of thousands of backlogged repair orders by New Year’s Day. In January, Mayor Bloomberg and NYCHA Chairman John Rhea promised to completely eliminate the outrageous backlog of 420,000 unfulfilled repair requests by Jan. 1, 2014. Eleven months later, NYCHA claimed to have cut the number to 155,000. Tenants and workers, however, question the veracity of the figure and openly doubt that NYCHA will reach Bloomberg’s lofty goal. [New York Daily News – 11/30/13]
  6. INTERVIEW: Meet Kyle Kimball, new president of NYC’s Economic Development Corporation. Kyle Kimball became president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) in August after the always busy and not uncontroversial Seth Pinsky left his post for the private sector. Kimball, who graduated from Harvard’s Kennedy School, spent years in finance with stints at JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs before going to work for government. He landed at EDC in 2008, where he has held a variety of positions since. [Next City – 11/20/13]
  7. What $1500/month can rent you around New York City. The prettiest apartment of the bunch is in a 1890 brownstone in Sunset Park. The parlor-floor 1BR features a bay window, french doors, crown molding, ceiling medallions, and decorative fireplace. It was also recently repainted. It’s asking $1,600/month. [Curbed NY – 11/27/13]
  8. The status of the American economy-in one simple heat map. It’s no secret that that America’s economic recovery has been lopsided. While 200,000 jobs were created in last month, allaying fears about the impact of October’s government shutdown, those new opportunities weren’t evenly distributed across economic sectors or age groups, let alone around the country. At first glance, the nation’s success stories may not seem to have much in common: economic growth is favoring Google Glass-wearing brogrammers in San Francisco and migrant miners fracking in North Dakota, alike. However, on closer inspection, prosperous areas share some commonalities. Regions that depend on fossil fuel extraction, like the Dakotas and Texas’s Gulf Coast, are thriving, as are places like California, Utah, and the Southeast, which have attracted tech companies and cultivated research and development. [Policy Mic – 11/29/13]
  9. Home prices rise again; Consumer confidence dips. While home prices rose in major cities across the nation during the third quarter, data suggest that the housing market is beginning to shift to a slower rate of growth, according to the economists who put together the latest S&P report. Their statistics show prices rose 3.2 percent in the quarter and were up 11.2 percent from a year earlier. But economist David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, says in Tuesday’s release that ‘existing home sales weakened in the most recent report, home construction remains far below the boom levels of six or seven years ago and interest rates are expected to be higher a year from now.’ Those all point to a market that’s cooling or soon will be, he says. [NPR – 11/26/13]
  10. One answer to San Francisco’s overpriced housing: ‘co-living.’ Allegedly popular in San Francisco: Investor-backed individuals turning mansions into modern-day communes, in which a couple dozen residents share meals, chores, entrepreneurial ideas, deep discussions, and maybe, one day, babysitters. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, there are over 20 of these communal living estates in the Bay Area, with more on the way. Stripping away the tech influence and large estates, these groups look like the average roommate situation, only bigger. But is “collaborative housing” really a brewing movement? If a new Bay Area real estate firm called Open Door Development Group is any indication, it very well might be. Open Door is dedicated to developing ‘co-living’ properties that emphasize common space over private space. [The Atlantic Cities – 12/02/13]
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