News Roundup

  • Whiter and Wealthier Americans Are Less Exposed to Heat Islands because of Racist Housing Policies

    Researchers at Portland State University published a new study that showed, for the first time, that historically racist housing policies are a key reason why heat islands are disproportionately populated by low-income communities and people of color. Researchers analyzed 108 neighborhoods across the United States, and nearly every city included reported that poorer areas had average temperatures about five degrees higher than wealthier counterparts.

  • Richmond Housing Authority Extends Eviction Freeze to Limit Resident Displacement

    In November, Richmond, Virginia’s Redevelopment and Housing Authority suspended evictions for the remainder of 2019 in order to “undertake an agency-wide evaluation of our public housing families’ rental accounts and give tenants that are in arrears the opportunity to come current.” Now the city has extended the eviction freeze through the end of January 2020 to meet with legal-aid lawyers to review city policies and conduct employee retraining to protect against unjustified evictions. 

  • Oakland Community Land Trust to Acquire Property Occupied by Moms 4 Housing

    Moms 4 Housing, a collective of unhoused and insecurely housed women who organize to reclaim vacant homes from real estate speculation, occupied a vacant house in Oakland, California, for two months to bring national attention to epidemic homelessness in the city. On Monday, Mayor Libby Schaaf announced that the residence will be sold to the Oakland Community Land Trust, a nonprofit that acquires property for affordable housing. “This is what happens when we organize, when people come together to build the beloved community,” said Dominique Walker, a Moms 4 Housing organizer.

  • Millennials’ Share of Homeownership Shrinks, Indicates Less Lifetime Wealth

    New data from the Federal Reserve report that in 2019, the millennial generation owned only 4 percent of real estate in the United States. In a special report, the Economist compares millennials’ financial trajectory with that of the baby boomer generation, who, in 1990, owned nearly one-third of real estate (comparisons were made when each group’s median age was in their thirties). For middle-class families, homeownership is the primary way to build wealth. If this downward trend continues, “we’re looking at a generation that will have lower lifetime wealth,” said Jenny Schuetz, a housing policy expert at the Brookings Institution.

  • Wells Fargo and Enterprise Community Partners Launch $20 Million Competition

    Wells Fargo and Enterprise Community Partners launched the Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge, a national competition that will award six $2 million grants and advisory services to organizations working to find innovative solutions to issues like construction costs, financing, and resident services. Proposals are due February 14, 2020. “What we know and realize is that the housing crisis in this country is large and a heavy lift. We can’t solve it alone,” said Connie Wright, Wells Fargo Foundation senior vice president of housing affordability philanthropy.