Predictably, a number of affluent Bay Area suburbs (and the anti-development neighborhood groups that have come to characterize them in national news reports) are up-in-arms over SB 827, the now (in)famous legislation to fast-track development near transit stations across the state, introduced by State Senator Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) in January. But just as the bill’s many opponents can’t be stereotyped, the cities embracing its core tenets are often surprising.
For Fernando Nadal, the fight to bring rent control to Sacramento is personal. The retired nurse says he and his wife were evicted from their retirement community by a property manager who, among other things, claimed that a small gathering of acquaintances and journalists to discuss his son’s fatal drug overdose constituted having “a party” inside his rental unit. When Nadal received a 60-day eviction notice last year, he filed a complaint with the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which sided with the property manager.
Many American cities face a severe shortage of affordable housing — and not just for the poor, but well up into the upper-middle class. A recent report from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies concluded: “The rental market thus appears to be settling into a new normal where nearly half of renter households are cost burdened,” or paying more than 30 percent of their income in rent.
L.A. County is at risk of losing roughly $3 billion worth of affordable housing in the next five years, according to a draft report presented to county officials Thursday.
On top of that, efforts to build new units for homeless and low-income people in the county are also hitting snags.
Why? A combination of gentrification, federal tax reform, and the circuitous way affordable housing is funded in this country are mostly to blame.
HOW AFFORDABLE HOUSING DISAPPEARS
Fidela Villasano’s entire world was upending.
In August, her landlord sold the tiny clapboard bungalow where she had lived for 55 years, and the new owner notified her that he wanted her out in the next few months.
Like so many in Lincoln Heights, this tiny, rawboned 89-year-old woman had lived through a time of gang violence, high crime and police oppression. She never expected to be forced out by real estate values.
But, with just $900 a month from Social Security, where in Lincoln Heights could she afford to live? Where in Los Angeles?
By many measures, the revitalization of neighborhoods across Washington, D.C. has been a windfall for the city. Fueled by higher tax revenues and property values, the city is awash in construction cranes, new libraries, restaurants and retail, and more than 70 miles of bike lanes—all welcomed signs of gentrification in the nation’s capital.
Lost in the city’s waves of new amenities and newer, more affluent inhabitants are the longtime Washingtonians who have been pushed out or who are fighting to stay in the city.
Airbnb and other platforms for short-term rental listings are exacerbating the housing crisis in New Orleans, says a new report from the Jane Place Neighborhood Sustainability Initiative (JPNSI). The analysis in the report falls in line with similar findings in other cities — a substantial chunk of short-term rentals are controlled by operators with multiple properties, suggesting that landlords are choosing to put units on Airbnb and other sites, eschewing long-term tenants.
In rankings of the US’s best urban public transportation systems, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Boston, and New York usually hover at the top. At the bottom are smaller and poorer cities like Buffalo, Cleveland, Omaha, and Oklahoma City. The overall takeaway is no surprise: well-resourced cities have better public transit systems than their more economically distressed counterparts.
By nearly every metric, Miami-Dade County is one of the most difficult places to live if you don't make a ton of money. The county's median income is a staggeringly low $44,000, compared to the $80,000 median income in a comparably expensive city such as Seattle. That means Miamians wind up spending a higher percentage of their incomes on rent than residents of any other city in America.
Bay Area renters, don’t look now, but more hikes might be on the horizon.
Year over year rents rose 3 percent in March in San Jose, 6 percent in Oakland and 1 percent in San Francisco, according to a survey by Apartment List released Monday. Nationally, rents rose about 2.3 percent during the last 12 months.
Real estate economists and professionals are expecting a continued run-up during this year’s peak summer moving season. “We’re just not doing anything to keep up with it on the supply side,” said Chris Salviati, housing economist with Apartment List.