News and Views

December 18, 2018
The City’s transit agency is telling RV dwellers to drive off into the sunset. It’s a major reversal for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which previously pushed back against banning oversize vehicles where homeless people slept. Now, with The City exploring new ways to help that specific homeless population, the SFMTA is preparing signage saying “no” to oversize vehicles on specific city streets. And the tiny street where the latest round of the battle over homeless residents living in RVs began, De Wolf Street, is among them.
  • Affordable housing
  • San Francisco
Despite the booming economy, homelessness in the United States rose slightly for the second year in a row, with spikes in high-rent cities like New York and Seattle, according to an annual report released on Monday by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • Affordable housing
An East Hollywood apartment building had a stripped roof for ongoing repairs when rains hit Southern California in early December, so it's now life with water stained walls and floors, but without ceilings and cabinets for tenants. "This is not right for us," said Matilda Castillo, who, like her neighbors, has chosen to remain, even though her unit now lacks a functioning kitchen.
  • Housing conditions/habitability
  • Los Angeles
San Francisco loses more than one existing affordable housing unit for every two it creates. That’s according to data from a biannual San Francisco Planning Department analysis of the city’s affordable housing stock over the last 10 years. Presented to the Board of Supervisors Land Use Committee earlier this week, the report underscores the rapid disappearance of existing affordable housing, even as the city scrambles to develop new below-market-rate units.
  • Affordable housing
  • San Francisco
After their landlord allegedly blew a deadline written into a legal settlement, tenants of a Soundview building are asking a court to have an administrator tackle the maintenance issues they say have been plaguing them for more than a year, including a complete lack of cooking gas, shoddy elevator service and leaks.
  • Housing conditions/habitability
The Marin County Board of Supervisors Tuesday will consider adopting an ordinance that requires just cause for terminating a tenant's rental agreement. If approved, the ordinance will take effect Jan. 17, 2019. It would apply to all properties with three or more units in the unincorporated areas of the county. It stipulates reasons for when a tenancy can be terminated or a renter evicted.
  • Eviction
  • Marin
December 15, 2018
“Philadelphia needs to treat its people who live here so much better. You know, I never liked speaking in front of people, but everything I’ve been through, living here for thirty years, I think it’s my right to speak for other families and other people who are going through what I’m going through. […] Y’all have six thousand children in foster care a year and asking for three hundred more families. But what about the three hundred families those children belong to who probably was wrongfully evicted from their homes? So I think y’all should think about that.”— Ricci Rawls
  • Beyond California
  • Eviction
December 14, 2018
Cities where a lot of people spend more than one-third of their income on rent are more likely to experience homelessness crises, according to a new report by a team of researchers from the University of New Hampshire, Boston University, and the University of Pennsylvania. The report, which was released on December 11 and was sponsored by the real estate website Zillow, analyzed 386 real estate markets across the country and found that increases in rent prices in less affordable areas make the homelessness rate rise faster.
  • Affordable housing
A 98-year-old woman is being evicted from her Ocean Beach home after living there for nearly three decades. Betty Morse moved into her tiny Ocean Beach cottage back in the late 1980’s. After her husband died, she needed a place she could afford. “I was by myself, but I managed,” Morse said. “I could walk to work.” Morse said the rent was about $100 when she moved in. “It was a beautiful place to live because you could walk to the beach and watch the sunset,” she said.
  • Section 8 Discrimination
  • Eviction
  • San Diego
Fifty years after the passage of the Fair Housing Act, the US housing market is anything but fair. In stark contrast to the racially and economically integrated neighborhoods envisioned by 1960s-era reformers, the United States housing market today is characterized by striking inequality: precipitously rising rents accompanied by high rates of eviction and homelessness in US cities, along with exploding luxury construction marketed to the wealthy.
  • Tenant organizing
  • Eviction
  • Affordable housing
When Congress enacted a powerful new tax incentive that encourages investors to funnel capital gains into economically distressed areas, community leaders immediately began sounding alarm bells fearing gentrification. The concerns are particularly acute in already fast-growing tech hubs like Seattle and San Francisco.
  • Affordable housing
At the corner of Lexington Avenue and 125th Street in East Harlem, in front of a closed Pathmark grocery -– “Pat ark” is all that remains of the name -- real estate broker John McGuinness paints a vision of the near future. The Pathmark transforms to a Trader Joe’s or a Fairway. Then come condos and affordable rentals, retail, offices.
  • Beyond California
When Amazon announced last month that it plans to open one of its two new corporate hubs in Crystal City, Virginia elected officials were exuberant. Gov. Ralph Northam called the company’s decision “a big win” for the state, and Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol said it affirmed the county’s commitment to various priorities: “sustainability, transit-oriented development, affordable housing, and diversity.” The swath of Northern Virginia where Amazon is set to move even got a new, unofficial name—“National Landing”— heralding its future.
  • Beyond California
  • Affordable housing
Families who receive housing aid in Baltimore and San Jose may soon have a better shot at finding an affordable place to live. That’s good, because right now, their odds are slim-to-none.
  • Section 8 Discrimination
  • Affordable housing
A settlement agreement is expected as soon as next month in a years-long legal dispute over a landlord’s attempt to evict tenants living illegally in units designated for office space, the San Francisco Examiner has learned. Residents living at 1049 Market St. received eviction notices in 2013 from the building’s owner, who had received a notice of violation for allowing tenants to live in units designated as commercial space only, as had been the practice for years.
  • Eviction
  • San Francisco
Many popular carpet brands, including those widely used in affordable housing projects, contain toxic chemicals that put people’s health at risk while in use and when the carpets are disposed of, according to a new report by three environmental advocacy groups.
  • Housing conditions/habitability
It was a stifling mid-August afternoon when Jennifer learned she had until the end of the year to move out of her cramped studio apartment in the East Village of downtown Long Beach. She suspected the eviction was coming. For the past year, she had been looking for a new place as her landlord slowly remodeled her modest building, the place she’s called home for more than 13 years. He knew she could not pay the increase in rent, so he told her it was time to go. Jennifer, who is in her 50s, qualified for Section 8 low-income housing and searched futilely for an opening in the area.
  • Rent increases
  • Eviction
  • Affordable housing
  • Los Angeles
Several tenants at a Merced mobile home park say they unnecessarily got eviction notices about two weeks before Christmas. Tenants said a representative of Storz Management Company, which manages the Sierra Portal park just off of Highway 140, put up at least 18 eviction notices on Monday at the park designed for people 55 years old or older.
  • Eviction
  • Merced
In all directions, from the corner where I live in the Mission, there are signs. “For Sale,” and “Open House” advertisements appear at a regular, relentless speed, and often foreshadow the removal of families, artists, immigrants and low-income residents. So much more than a mere list, these are people, part of a community, and naming the trend of evictions, mysterious fires and small business closures as simply “inevitable change,” ignores the racial and economic casualties underlying the phenomenon of gentrification.
  • Eviction
  • San Francisco
December 13, 2018
Los Angeles has adopted sweeping regulations that will restrict how long people can rent out their homes using Airbnb, as well as which properties they will be allowed to list with the home-sharing service.
  • Rent control
  • Affordable housing
  • Los Angeles

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