March 29, 2021
By Nigel Duara [3-29-21] // An audit found an obscure state committee led by top elected officials missed spending deadlines for affordable housing bonds nearly a decade ago. Few are around to explain why.
By Kriston Capps [3-25-21] // With a state law easing restrictions on accessory dwelling units, granny flats are proliferating in L.A. and other cities — and pre-fab options may make these tiny houses even more common.
By J.K. Dineen [3-27-21] // So far, over 300 hundred condominium, apartment, and affordable housing units have been built on the western edge of Alameda by Trumark, Cypress Equity, and Eden Housing, respectively.
[3-24-21] // The 52-unit $33.7 million supportive housing development will transform a 1.75-acre lot that previously housed two 1930s single-family dwellings into a three- and four-story development that opens onto an outdoor courtyard with nearly 2,500 square feet of open space. See article for finance details.
By Danielle Buchove [3-24-21] // To meet housing demand from the Depression through the Second World War, Toronto rapidly built temporary prefabricated homes. After the war, the simple designs were adapted to build permanent homes.
By Dan Walters [3-28-21] // (Opinion) Two years ago, CalMatters housing writer Matt Levin described a factory in Vallejo that was building housing modules that could quickly — and relatively inexpensively — be assembled into multi-story apartment houses.
PODCASTS / MULTIMEDIA
[3-25-21] // (Podcast) Some have left big cities to work remotely, but those with fewer means and on-the-ground jobs have lost hours and wages and have noticed increases in rent. (11:37)
LAND USE / PLANNING / REGULATION
The latest issue of HUD’s Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research features a symposium examining regulatory reform and affordable housing. Seven articles, one peer-reviewed paper, and more.
By James Brasuell [3-23-21] // The latest in a series of compendia collecting news and commentary focusing on the complexities of the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on communities.
HOUSING MARKETS / REAL ESTATE
By Catherine Rampell [3-22-21] // Rents go up despite lack of repairs and no new amenities. Meanwhile, wages stagnate or shrink. But what about the well-off?
S.F. Chronicle: S.F. apartment rents just saw the biggest increase of the pandemic, according to new report
By Roland Li [3-27-21] // San Francisco’s median apartment rent rose 3.4% in March from the prior month, the biggest increase since the coronavirus pandemic began, according to a new Apartment List report. Between March and November 2020, 80,000 households left San Francisco, up 77.5% from the same period in 2019.
S.F. Chronicle: Where should Berkeley allow 9,000 new homes to be built? City will start trying to figure that out
By Sarah Ravani [3-26-21] // The city council directed the city manager to spend 18 months creating a plan that includes exploring allowing multi-unit buildings in certain parts of Berkeley, building middle-income housing and prioritizing transit corridors like the Ashby and North Berkeley BART stations for new homes.
By Diana Ionescu [3-23-21] // Atlanta will allow homeowners to rent rooms or entire houses to guests for up to 30 days, as long as the owners apply for an annual license, pay a $150 license fee, and collect city hotel-motel taxes from guests. Airbnb calls the rules “clear and equitable.”
By Lynn Pollack [3-29-21] // Interest in alternative sub-classes is rapidly growing and isn’t likely to be a passing phase.
Next City: To Improve Public Health, the Environment and Racial Equity All at Once: Upgrade Low-Income Housing
By Dr. Jonathan Levy [3-29-21] // (Op-Ed) In my view, retrofitting low-income housing, in particular, is a high-leverage way to tackle some of our nation’s most pressing health, social and environmental challenges.
By Hosam Elattar [3-27-21] // “I’ve been here 33 years and nothing comes close to what we saw during the past nearly 12 months now, in terms of needs in the community,” said Mark Lowry, director of the Orange County Food Bank in an interview earlier this month.
By Benjamin Oreskes et al. [3-27-21] // The “approach of intensive outreach followed by a ‘choice date’ must become the standard if we are going to move people living on our streets into a better situation…We no longer have the luxury to wait until people are ready,” Councilman Joe Buscaino said.
S.F. Chronicle: Mayor Breed is working on a huge expansion of S.F.’s homeless housing. How much will it help?
By Trisha Thadani & Mallory Moench [3-29-21] Part of Breed’s plan includes giving out 1,100 rental vouchers that allow homeless people to, in theory, live in apartment buildings around the city or elsewhere in the Bay Area. Voucher recipients would be assigned a case manager to help connect them to services.
S.F. Chronicle: Two people living in a cave under Bay Area bridge discovered Friday by construction workers
By Steve Rubenstein [3-26-21] // Construction workers excavating at the site of an old bridge in Vallejo found something on Friday they weren’t expecting: two people living in a 20-foot-long cave dug into the side of an embankment, authorities said. Due to construction, their relocation was a rescue operation.
By Theresa Walker [3-23-21] // This 70-bed shelter is the result of a partnership between the two cities. It received additional funding from a county homelessness grant and Hoag Hospital.
By Marisa Kendall [3-28-21] // Court orders are preventing cities from Sausalito to Santa Cruz from clearing homeless encampments. Other lawsuits are fighting anti-camping ordinances or securing basic rights for unhoused residents, such as the right to keep their belongings and receive advance notice before a camp is disbanded.
ECONOMY / EMPLOYMENT
By Kate Gibson [3-25-21] // The Evanston, IL, City Council previously committed $10 million over 10 years to repairing the ongoing harm that systemic racism has caused Evanston’s Black residents. The community indicated housing is the greatest concern. Therefore, the program will start by offering $400,000 to 16 eligible Black households ($25,000 each) to be spent on home repairs or down payments on property. Alderwoman Cicely Fleming explains why this is woefully inadequate.
By Mark R. Rank [3-26-21] // Myth #5: America’s poor are relatively well off.
Beacon Economics: California Job Recovery Picks up Steam, Accounting for Over One-Third of All Jobs Added in the United States in Latest Numbers
[3-26-21] // The California labor market added 141,000 jobs in February, representing the highest monthly job gain for the state since June of last year. State unemployment claims are still higher than the national rate.
TRANSPORTATION / TRANSIT-ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT
By Max Reyes [3-25-21] // A letter to Texas paused the expansion of a Houston highway, over concerns of disproportionate impact on communities of color.
By Eric Jaffe [3-25-21] // Parking requirements contribute to traffic congestion, air pollution, and increased housing development costs.
REDEVELOPMENT / INFILL / PRESERVATION
By Sal Pizarro [3-26-21] // The San Jose City Council approved a Habitat for Humanity loan to refurbish the 111-year-old Pallesen building. Its four units will be affordable housing. The building is being moved near a freeway on-ramp.
NATIONAL HOUSING NEWS
Next City: Formerly Homeless Seattleites Are Moving into a Building Designed for Tech Workers — Here’s Why
It was cheaper for nonprofit Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) to buy a brand-new building than build affordable housing. Financing came from the city, state, and the National Equity Fund. Section 8 vouchers and VA assistance contributes, as well. LIHI is now examining four similar deals.
HUD makes historic $450 million investment to provide COVID-19 relief funding to Native American communities across the nation
[3-25-21] // These Indian Housing Block Grants will be used to help Tribes carry out affordable housing activities to protect the safety and health of their Tribal members and communities. The list of tribes can be found here.
FAIR HOUSING / EVICTION
By Cailin Crowe [3-29-21] // The moratorium was set to expire March 31.
By Bob Ivory [3-18-21] // Despite the pandemic, eviction filings and proceedings continue. Philadelphia has found a better way—for now.
By Jerusalem Demsas [3-29-21] // Over 90% of zoned land in Connecticut is set aside for single-family housing. Desegregate CT has pressed forward with a bill that seeks to reform some localities’ zoning ordinances.
DEMOGRAPHICS / QUALITY OF LIFE
By Ricardo Cano and Elizabeth Aguilera [3-22-21] // Many special needs students, whose disabilities can range from autism to deafness, and most of whom have gone more than a year without in-person services such as speech therapy, appear to have regressed physically and academically over the past year.
ENVIRONMENT / CLIMATE CHANGE / NATURAL DISASTERS
By Rachel Becker [3-25-21] // Researchers calculated that California’s rules reduced diesel exhaust by 78% compared to 51% for federal rules, leading to fewer deaths from heart attacks and lung disease.
By Sarah Holder [3-29-21] // Telecommuting can save energy and reduce emissions — unless it doesn’t. A new tool can help companies measure workplace carbon emissions and figure out if going remote is easier on the planet.
By Jennifer Hijazi [3-26-21] // Minnesota, New Mexico, and Nevada are working to implement clean car standards on the local level in line with California’s more-stringent tailpipe emission and electric vehicle requirements.
Editor’s Note: The Web News will not be published on Wednesday, March 31, in observance of the Cesar Chavez holiday. We will return on Friday, April 2.
California Department of Housing & Community Development WEB NEWS service coverage:
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday each week includes electronic format articles retrieved from newspapers or news services that report housing and community development news in California and some national services. Coverage is for California newspapers that are available electronically via the Internet – and any significant related breaking news.
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