News Roundup

  • Luxury Dorms Expose College Student Divide
    A 16-story luxury apartment complex branded with the motto “We build for people who expect more,” in which one-bedroom units go for as much as $1,500 a month, is filled with Purdue University student residents. This rent is roughly $1,200 more than a basic university dorm room. The building is not uncommon—luxury college student housing is a multibillion-dollar industry that some say is increasing the socioeconomic divide by segregating students and causing off-campus rents to skyrocket. “We’re re-creating socially stratified communities on campus instead of giving students opportunities to live among people from different walks of life,” said Andrew Ryder, an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington.
  • Denver Suburbs Confront Mounting Homelessness
    Last year, homelessness increased 8 percent in the Denver metropolitan area, and it’s not just a city issue. Though the Point-in-Time count shows that suburban homelessness declined, experts believe the data were affected by winter weather, making it difficult to track people down. “It’s so much more dispersed [than in Denver], so it’s difficult to get the numbers on it,” said Sergeant Jon Alesch of the Lakewood Police Department. Now, cities surrounding Denver are teaming up to tackle the problem.
  • How Can You Develop without Displacing?
    As Seattle’s housing market rapidly changes, the city is looking for ways to preserve and expand affordability while preventing displacement. This summer, the Seattle City Council approved a set of housing funding policies, including a practice called Community Preference, that will allow affordable housing developers to reserve a portion of new units for people who already live in the neighborhood. But some disagree, like Craig Gurian, executive director of the Anti-Discrimination Center, who says “these policies are outsider-restriction policies.”
  • New Law May Reduce Evictions
    On July 1, Georgia passed a law protecting tenants seeking repairs to their rentals from landlord retaliation, including rent increases and eviction. Officials in Columbus hope the measure will reduce the city’s evictions, which surpassed 1,700 last year. “It will put landlords on notice they need to make sure this stuff is brought up to code,” said property manager Louie Robinson. He adds that a lack of decent, affordable housing is the main problem. “The tenants that are being victimized are the ones who can least afford it. Anybody paying $500 or under per month rent is really subject to being in a substandard area or house,” he said.
  • Tulsa Housing Authority Embarks on Major Redevelopment
    As part of the Choice Neighborhoods program, the Tulsa Housing Authority has embarked on five years of phased redevelopment intended to revitalize the Eugene Field neighborhood. For the first phase, 77 Tulsa families have been relocated, and over the next three years, that number will increase to 340. The $200 million development will include a mix of 460 affordable housing and market-rate units, a new grocery store, a new park, and a walkable, connected street grid. “I don’t think you will find probably in the history of the state that level of investment for affordable housing in one project,” said Aaron Darden, president and CEO of the Tulsa Housing Authority.