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University of Wisconsin–Madison
Poverty-related issues in the news, from the Institute for Research on Poverty

Tag: Public Housing

Eviction

  • The money owed in eviction cases is often small, but the consequences can be huge, By Christopher Huffaker and Kate Giammarise, September 6, 2018, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “In District Judge Robert Ravenstahl’s North Side courtroom, stacks of manila folders are piled beside the judge. An American flag stands in the corner. There are several water stains on the ceiling. On this Friday afternoon, he will hear nearly 30 eviction cases in about 90 minutes. Many of the cases this afternoon are tenants from nearby Northview Heights, a large public housing complex on Pittsburgh’s North Side…”
  • New law gives California tenants more time to fight evictions, By Aurora Percannella, September 7, 2018, Los Angeles Times: “Tenants in California will get more time to fight evictions under a new law that Gov. Jerry Brown signed this week…”

Low-Income Housing

  • For Americans who rely on public housing, HUD proposals strike fear, By Erika Beras, August 10, 2018, Marketplace: “Clara Malave, 50, works in the hot and loud laundry room at one of the bayfront hotels in Erie, Pennsylvania, loading linens into massive industrial washers and dryers. At $8.80 an hour, it’s grueling work. But it is work, and she’s grateful for it. Like most of the other workers here, she’s a part-timer whose hours change constantly. She only knows a week out what her schedule will be. She keeps a carefully balanced checkbook and a list of her impending expenses…”
  • As NYC public housing tenants suffer, a glimmer of hope emerges, By Henry Goldman, August 2, 2018, Bloomberg: “Lolita Miller had it all: mold, vermin, crime, stalled elevators, uncollected trash and winter days without heat or hot water. After almost half a century living in New York’s public housing, she’d come to expect the neglect and squalor in Far Rockaway’s Bayside homes. So did most of the 400,000 residents in projects owned by the money-starved New York City Housing Authority. Yet a federal program changing how rents get paid has allowed developers at Bayside to tap into $560 million in private and government funds…”
  • A nonprofit got special loans and tax breaks for low-income housing. Dealmakers collected millions in fees. And buildings deteriorated., By Joe Mahr, August 16, 2018, Chicago Tribune: “A newly formed charity came to Chicago pitching state officials on its “model” way to provide low-income housing. The Ohio-based Better Housing Foundation said it would provide safe apartments. It would help tenants get jobs and health care. And it wouldn’t evict ‘solely on the basis that the tenant is unable to pay their rent.’ Starting in early 2016, with little scrutiny, a pair of state agencies helped the nonprofit borrow tens of millions of dollars at lower interest rates and obtain hundreds of thousands of dollars in property tax breaks that allowed it to rapidly buy dozens of buildings across the South Side. But a Tribune investigation has found that many residents have been left to live in deteriorating buildings…”

Public Housing – East St. Louis, IL

Ben Carson declared mission accomplished in East St. Louis — where public housing is still a disaster., By Molly Parker, August 8, 2018, The Southern Illinoisan: “The city’s administrative building was decorated for a festive affair when U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson arrived here last September. An Americana themed banner draped the back of a raised stage. Red, white and blue balloons floated in the foreground. ‘This is really an exciting day,’ Carson told a crowd of a few dozen city and community leaders. ‘It is a day of transition and a day of progress.’ In October 1985, HUD officials arrived here unannounced and seized control of the East St. Louis Housing Authority, citing poor living conditions and fraud. Carson was in town to return it to local control…”

Low-Income Housing

  • As affordable housing crisis grows, HUD sits on the sidelines, By Glenn Thrush, July 27, 2018, New York Times: “The country is in the grips of an escalating housing affordability crisis. Millions of low-income Americans are paying 70 percent or more of their incomes for shelter, while rents continue to rise and construction of affordable rental apartments lags far behind the need. The Trump administration’s main policy response, unveiled this spring by Ben Carson, the secretary of housing and urban development: a plan to triple rents for about 712,000 of the poorest tenants receiving federal housing aid and to loosen the cap on rents on 4.5 million households enrolled in federal voucher and public housing programs nationwide, with the goal of moving longtime tenants out of the system to make way for new ones…”
  • Afraid of “political repercussions,” HUD delayed action on crumbling public housing in Cairo, By Molly Parker, July 26, 2018, The Southern Illinoisan: “As public housing deteriorated in Illinois’ southernmost city, bureaucrats at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development delayed stepping in because they wanted to avoid ‘political repercussions’ and negative attention, according to a scathing audit released Thursday…”
  • Under city program, renters-turned-homeowners could become renters again, By Nikita Stewart, July 29, 2018, New York Times: “Robert Mattox was not in the position to own a home. He was raising seven children in 1980 when New York City turned his Harlem building into a cooperative. He was asked if he wanted to buy his three-bedroom apartment. The city began turning deteriorating buildings over to tenants to save their homes and to help the city in the 1970s. The effort was envisioned as a way to improve a neglected housing stock but also give New Yorkers with low and moderate incomes a financial stake in their homes…”

Public Housing – Phoenix, AZ

‘It just has to go’: Plans for crumbling Phoenix housing projects threatened by new HUD cuts, By Alden Woods, September 28, 2017, Arizona Republic: “She moved into the projects 32 years ago, eyes wide at everything that had become hers. ‘This is mine,’ Yvonne Bridges remembers whispering back then, as a caseworker wheeled her through the door. ‘Mine,’ she repeated, running a hand over the sweating concrete walls and the vents that blew sticky air. Three decades later, the same concrete walls still surround 88-year-old Bridges. The Edison-Eastlake neighborhood has fallen into disrepair. Thick concrete walls trap in heat that aging swamp coolers can’t dispel, and maintenance teams improvise fixes on 75-year-old parts. For 32 years, Edison-Eastlake crumbled along with so many of America’s public housing projects. Federal money meant to maintain the country’s 1.2 million public housing units was never enough, and a backlog built up. The National Housing Preservation Database now counts more than 84,000 units in need of immediate investment…”

Public Housing – Cairo, IL

Their public housing at the end of its life, residents ask: What now?, By Monica Davey, May 17, 2017, New York Times: “Residents hear mice rustling in the walls at night. Some occupants leave ovens on in the winter, their doors perched open, because furnaces fail. Ceilings droop from water damage, mold creeps across walls, and roaches scramble out of refrigerators. So when federal authorities finally deemed two public housing developments here in the southernmost tip of Illinois unacceptable and uninhabitable, it felt like vindication of what residents had been saying for ages. But then came the solution: an order that everyone must vacate…”

Housing for Prison Parolees – New York

Parolees to go from big house to Syracuse public housing under new state pilot program, By John O’Brien, March 3, 2017, Syracuse Post-Standard: “Public housing in Syracuse will soon be home to certain newly paroled New York state prisoners under a new pilot program.  The state will allow carefully screened and monitored parolees to live in public housing with their families in Syracuse, White Plains and Schenectady, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today.  The goal is to reduce the likelihood that the paroled prisoners will commit new crimes, Cuomo said in a news release…”

Public Housing

The remarkable thing that happens to poor kids when you help their parents with rent, By Max Ehrenfreund, October 12, 2016, Washington Post: “Few programs for the poor are so widely reviled as public housing. For opponents on the right, housing projects are costly monuments to the folly of misguided idealism, stifling residents’ ambition by surrounding them with crime, decay and bureaucracy. For critics on the left, the projects — which were often segregated — became ugly icons of the racism of the white elite, an elite that was unwilling to implement more effective solutions to social problems…”

Low-Income Households and Internet Access

Comcast expands Internet access to more low-income families, By Pam Adams, July 15, 2016, Peoria Journal Star: “More low-income households, including veterans, senior citizens and adults without children, will have access to low-cost internet service from Comcast.  The country’s largest cable provider is expanding Internet Essentials to all housing programs in its service areas that receive funds for from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The program originally was developed in 2011 to provide low-cost internet service for families of grade school and high school students who met eligibility guidelines for the federal free lunch program…”

Public Housing

  • Syracuse’s public housing creates prisons of poverty; what if they could move to suburbs?, By Marnie Eisenstadt, April 14, 2016, Syracuse Post-Standard: “If David Paccone could, he would begin attacking Syracuse’s poverty crisis from outside the city. He’d build small developments of low-income family housing in DeWitt, Manlius and Fayetteville, in the hopes that some people now in Syracuse’s poorest neighborhoods would move there. But that’s not a solution in Paccone’s arsenal. As the assistant executive director of theSyracuse Housing Authority, he oversees 2,340 public housing apartments. The tenants largely are the poorest of the poor, making less than 30 percent of the average median income — less than $16,000 a year…”
  • Public housing residents could get credit boost, By Philip M. Bailey, April 9, 2016, Louisville Courier-Journal: “The Louisville Metro Housing Authority is partnering with a nonprofit to help its public housing occupants improve their financial future, Mayor Greg Fischer announced Thursday morning.  The city has made an agreement with Credit Builders Alliance to begin a credit building program that Fischer’s office says is one of only five of its kind in the country…”

Low-Income Households and Internet Access

  • Why Comcast is expanding its low-cost Internet program to public housing, By Max Lewontin, March 25, 2016, Christian Science Monitor: “Comcast is partnering with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to expand its “Internet Essentials” program to public housing residents in Miami; Nashville, Tenn.; Seattle; and Philadelphia, the company announced on Thursday. The program, which costs $9.95 per month, offers low-income families high-speed Internet service up to 10 megabits per second, a free Wi-Fi router, access to free digital literacy training, and the option to purchase a computer for less than $150…”
  • Comcast expands low-cost Internet to all Miami-Dade public housing, By Nancy Dahlberg, March 24, 2016, Miami Herald: “Karisha Bailey is a self-employed chef who uses her smartphone constantly in her work. She’s also the single mom of four young children who need that same smartphone for their homework. Sharing the phone and keeping data charges manageable is a constant challenge. This week, Bailey became one of the first residents of the Rainbow Village public housing development to receive a free laptop and six months of complimentary high-speed Internet access. After that, her family will be able to continue on the program for $9.95 a month…” 

Public Housing – New York City

As New York rents soar, public housing becomes lifelong refugeBy Mireya Navarro, August 3, 2015, New York Times: “Esther Swan grew up in public housing, graduated from college and has thrived professionally, most recently as a talent director for an entertainment company. But while the buildings in New York City’s housing projects deteriorated around her, with siblings and neighbors moving out, Ms. Swan stayed put, holding on to her apartment in the Fulton Houses, in Chelsea. Her low rent allowed her to pay for good child care and a parish school for her son, and now as the cost of private housing has soared across much of the city, not least in a booming neighborhood like Chelsea, Ms. Swan, 55, does not see herself leaving anytime soon…”

Housing Vouchers and Rapid Rehousing

  • Vouchers help families move far from public housing, By Binyamin Appelbaum, July 7, 2015, New York Times: “Lamesa White and her four children moved in February from the most dangerous public housing project in Dallas to a single-family home in this affluent suburb. On the day she left, one of her daughter’s old schoolmates was shot to death. Ms. White’s escape from the Estell Village housing project — better known as The Pinks because the buildings were once painted that color — was made possible by an experiment in housing policy the federal government began in Dallas in 2011 and is now proposing to expand to most other large metropolitan areas.  Families in Dallas who qualify for housing subsidies are offered more money if they move to more expensive neighborhoods, allowing them to live in safe communities and enroll their children in schools that are otherwise beyond reach. To sharpen the prod, the government has also cut subsidies for those who do not go…”
  • For homeless families, quick exit from shelters is only a temporary fix, By Pam Fessler, July 7, 2015, National Public Radio: “More than 150,000 U.S. families are homeless each year. The number has been going down, in part because of a program known as rapid rehousing, which quickly moves families out of shelters and into homes. But new research by the Obama administration finds that for many families, rapid rehousing is only a temporary fix…”
  • Minneapolis homeless advocates back study on success of housing vouchers, By Erin Golden, July 7, 2015, Star Tribune: “A federal study of homeless families in a dozen cities — including Minneapolis — has concluded that long-term housing vouchers provide a more effective solution to homelessness than temporary or ­transitional housing programs.  The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development surveyed more than 2,200 families over an 18-month period, tracking some that used Section 8 vouchers, others that were provided with temporary rental assistance or short-term spots in transitional housing facilities and some that took a more patchwork approach, receiving some services but often extending stays in ­homeless shelters…”
  • Section 8 renters stayed in poorer areas after New Orleans razed housing projects, study finds, By Richard A. Webster, July 8, 2015, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “When New Orleans demolished the bulk of its public housing developments after Hurricane Katrina, it replaced the majority of the lost units with Section 8 housing vouchers. The idea was that vouchers would give people who lived in poverty-stricken communities such as Iberville, St. Bernard, B.W. Cooper and Magnolia a choice. Instead of being trapped in public housing developments for generations, they could move their families to areas with less poverty and crime, better schools, access to health care and job opportunities. That was the idea anyway…”

Public Housing Eviction Policies

Public housing safety policy can hit whole family, By Rachelle Blidner (AP), September 15, 2014, ABC News: “Wanda Coleman sits in the New York City public housing apartment where she’s lived for 25 years, surrounded by empty rooms, bare walls and suitcases lined up by the front door. Any day now, she and her teen daughter will be evicted and have no other option than to go to a homeless shelter — partly because of her son’s criminal case…”

Public Housing – New York City

Budget cuts reshape New York’s public housing, By Mireya Navarro, September 11, 2014, New York Times: “The crushing news came less than a year after Diane Robinson and her 24-year-old son moved into an airy two-bedroom apartment in the Bronx. The city, which helps pay her rent, wrote this summer to say she would have to downsize into a one-bedroom apartment or pay $240 more a month in rent. A public school aide, Ms. Robinson, 48, decided to stay in the apartment, in the Castle Hill neighborhood. But on an annual income of about $25,000, she is struggling, she said, and she does not know how long she can hang on. Moving to a one-bedroom apartment would mean that her son, a college student who works to help with food and utilities, would have to sleep in the living room. ‘My son works — he’s not entitled to have his own bedroom?’ she said. ‘Next thing they’re going to tell me is that I’m not entitled to a roof over my head…'”

Public Housing – New York City

Public housing in New York reaches a fiscal crisis, By Mireya Navarro, August 11, 2014, New York Times: “Everyone, it seems, wants a piece of New York City public housing. Advocates for homeless people are demanding more apartments for families living in shelters. School officials want space in public housing for new prekindergarten classes. Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to use open land in the projects for new affordable housing. And just over a quarter of a million households sit on the waiting list for an apartment in one of the New York City Housing Authority’s 334 developments. But the demands on Nycha, as the housing authority is known, clash with a grave financial reality. After years of shrinking government investment in public housing, the agency has a $77 million budget deficit this year and unfunded capital needs totaling $18 billion, its officials say…”

Evictions from Public Housing

Nonprofit points to benefits of preventing evictions, By Megan Woolhouse, January 23, 2014, Boston Globe: “The state could reduce homelessness and save millions in shelter and other costs by finding ways to prevent evictions from public and subsidized housing, according to a report by a nonprofit housing group. HomeStart Inc., in coordination with the Boston Housing Authority, used its report to track its efforts to intervene in evictions from public housing and to provide financial counseling to poor families. The report said Home Start has prevented more than 500 evictions from the authority’s properties since 2010, not only saving families from homelessness but saving taxpayers thousands of dollars…”

Public Housing Program – Alaska

State overhauls public housing, imposes five-year limit, By Tegan Hanlon, November 2, 2013, Anchorage Daily News: “The disabled and elderly in public housing will receive notices on Monday about changes in their rent and utility costs as state officials implement a plan to encourage able-bodied renters to work and eventually move out of their subsidized apartments. With the waiting time for public housing extending for decades for some kinds of apartments, officials hope the new policies, in the works since 2008, will lead to a greater turnover of units…”

Public Housing Waiting List – Milwaukee, WI

Waiting lists soar for public housing, rental assistance, By Georgia Pabst, August 10, 2013, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Jessica Johnson knew there would be a wait for Milwaukee public housing when she signed up in 2009, but she never dreamed it would take four years to make it to the top of the list. Now, she and her four children are preparing to move out of her father’s home and into a four-bedroom apartment at the Hillside Terrace public housing project on the city’s near north side…”

Public Housing Waiting List – New York City

227,000 names on list vie for rare vacancies in city’s public housing, By Mireya Navarro, July 23, 2013, New York Times: “Lottie Mitchell made her regular pilgrimage the other week, riding the subway for 45 minutes, then transferring to a bus to reach her destination: an office of the New York City Housing Authority. When her turn came, Ms. Mitchell, 57, using a cane, hobbled to the counter with the same request that she has made for the last four years. ‘I want to check the status on my housing,’ she said. As always, the clerk responded: ‘You’re on the waiting list.’ It is called the Tenant Selection and Assignment Plan, but to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers seeking a home, it is ‘the list.’ Prosperous city residents may consider public housing to be a place of last resort. The waiting list indicates otherwise…”