News and Views

The government shutdown has hit the one-month mark, and subsidized housing programs are reeling. Between December and January, the contracts of 1,150 Section 8 units expired, putting in jeopardy the housing of tens of thousands of people enrolled in the project-based rental assistance subsidy program (over half of whom are elderly or disabled). Another 500 contracts are set to expire if the shutdown continues into February.
  • Affordable housing
CHARLINE LAKE has not unpacked her boxes. It has been more than a year since she moved to Arlington after her apartment building in Somerville’s Davis Square was sold. The new owner forced the tenants out by doubling the rent, harassing them with unannounced construction and utility shut-offs, and, finally, by serving no-fault eviction notices to the holdouts.
  • Beyond California
  • Affordable housing
After flirting with a handful of renter protection measures in November, the Half Moon Bay City Council decided to put them on the back burner because it wants to gather more data on renters and landlords in the city and it’s worried that such measures might bring unintended consequences.
  • Rent control
  • San Mateo
Oregon appears poised to impose statewide rent controls, a national first, and place new restrictions on evictions. It’s the second time rent control has been teed up as a major decision for the Legislature. This time, however, Democratic leaders in the Oregon House and Senate have united around a single proposal, and there’s little sign members of the majority party will defect to oppose it.
  • Rent control
  • Beyond California
Hundreds of low-income tenants at housing complexes in four states now face rent hikes thanks to the government shutdown. A property management company told the tenants in a letter this week that because of the shutdown, the federal government is no longer subsidizing their rent. “As of February 1, 2019, all tenants will be responsible for full basic rent,” said the letter, an image of which was tweeted Friday by a low-income housing advocate.
  • Rent increases
  • Affordable housing
In the Rogue Valley, it's hard enough to find a place to live due to low inventory and high prices, but when scammers from around the world enter the mix, the house hunting headache gets even more complicated. It's easy to pull up Craigslist, enter your price range, and browse houses in the area. It's not so easy, however, to know which are actually for rent.
  • Beyond California
On Thursday, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo endorsed SB 50, the proposed new law that aims to create more dense housing near major transit lines in California, as did the mayor of Stockton, Michael Tubbs. Introduced in December, the bill, written by SF-based State Sen. Scott Wiener, is a follow-up to the very similar but unsuccessful SB 827. According to Wiener’s office, the bill “eliminates hyper-low-density zoning near transit and job centers.”
For affordable housing developers who need to move federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit projects forward, January has been frustrating. Calls and e-mails to HUD are met with the “sorry we’re furloughed” soundtrack of the government shutdown.
  • Affordable housing
On a brisk morning in mid-December, Valencia Hicks was running late to the Fulton County courthouse in hopes of avoiding eviction. The 43-year-old mother had been forced out of her home the year before, a process that had uprooted her family from their apartment in East Point, Georgia. At her new brick split-level, Hicks decided not to pay her $995 monthly rent because her landlord hadn’t adequately fixed broken appliances, preventing the family from enjoying affordable home-cooked meals. The landlord, in turn, filed for eviction.
  • Beyond California
  • Eviction
The outstanding rent Keilani Luxmore owed on her Seattle apartment for the month of December wouldn’t buy you a cup of coffee, a gallon of gasoline or even bus fare in this city. But Luxmore’s failure to pay $2 last month means she is facing eviction from the home she shares with her three young children, in addition to the possible loss of the federal Section 8 voucher that covers most of her rent. It could also result in a return to a homeless shelter for Luxmore and her children, ages 3 and under.
  • Beyond California
  • Eviction
Leaks, excessive debris, a lack of heat and hot water, broken front doors – rent-stabilized tenants in Greenpoint say their landlord is trying to push them out of their homes with constant construction projects that have resulted in poor and unsafe living conditions. The construction-related issues at 97 and 99 Clay St., a cluster of four buildings with a combined 25 apartments, have prompted a mass exodus of tenants, according to George Manatos. Now, only five tenants remain.
  • Retaliation/harassment
  • Beyond California
  • Eviction
Patrick Greene could soon see his rent double. The 70-year-old man lives with his wife, Karen, in a two-bedroom apartment in Montgomery, Alabama. He pays $460 a month for the apartment, and the rest of his $940 rent is normally covered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Due to the stalemate in Washington, D.C., however, his landlord informed tenants that she hasn't received the government funds. "We literally have no idea what's going to happen," Greene said, adding that he and wife live off around $1,500 a month.
  • Rent increases
  • Eviction
  • Affordable housing
The city of San Jose is closely monitoring mobile home evictions after complaints came from residents saying they are getting pushed out for minor infractions. Last summer, Karen Carpenter got an eviction notice from the Winchester Ranch mobile home park where she has lived for six years. The reason? “Minor clutter, some old paint cans and some weeds,” she said. Carpenter admits that she was sick last summer and couldn’t get outside to work during her first seven day notice.
  • Eviction
  • Santa Clara
Just before Christmas, Tracy heard a sharp knock on the door of the Chittenden County home she shares with her two young boys. A sheriff's deputy handed the 28-year-old nursing assistant a legal notice indicating that she was being evicted from her apartment for nonpayment of rent and needed to be out by January 3. "It was like, 'Merry Christmas! Find a new home,'" recalled Tracy, who declined to be identified by her real name for fear of further jeopardizing her housing.
  • Eviction
Half of California’s renters spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing— housing experts call it “rent burdened.” A third of the state’s renters are considered “severely burdened” because they spend half of their paycheck on rent. And rents in the state keep going up. So, what rights do tenants have when the landlord asks for more? KPBS’s Amita Sharma reached out to two experts for their perspective.
  • Rent increases
  • Rent control
  • Eviction
January 16, 2019
As Seattle’s median income has continued to rise in recent years, high-rent burdens have plagued lower-income renters, some of whom are falling behind on rent. A September 2018 report by the Seattle Women’s Commission and the Housing Justice Project of the King County Bar Association showed that 86.5 percent of the nearly 1,500 Seattle residents who faced eviction proceedings in 2017 had failed to pay their rent.
  • Beyond California
  • Eviction
The Committee to House the Bay Area (CASA) process has come to a close. The proposal will now move forward through the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), and the state legislature. The policies that come out of this process will impact housing, development, and displacement in the whole Bay Area and perhaps even the state.
  • Rent increases
  • Rent control
  • Eviction
  • Affordable housing
Hundreds of local renters are getting nervous after finding out their federal housing subsidies have expired in the wake of the government shutdown. After three decades working as a legal secretary, Sandra Anderson retired but couldn't afford to live in San Diego. Fourteen years ago, she moved into a one-bedroom apartment in Columbia Tower downtown, which gets subsidies directly from the Department of Housing and Urban Development or HUD. "I love it! I couldn't afford to live anywhere else," said Anderson.
  • Rent increases
  • Eviction
  • Affordable housing
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday, Jan. 15, to spend $5 million to prevent housing discrimination, including drafting an ordinance to prohibit landlords from denying renters who use Section 8 vouchers. Supervisor Sheila Kuehl recommended doing more to enforce and expand protections offered by federal fair housing laws in place for decades.
  • Section 8 Discrimination
  • Los Angeles
Rents are likely to rise faster for older, class-B apartments in 2019 than for any other class of apartment property. We expect Class-B to continue to have the strongest average rent growth, as it has through recent history,” says Andrew Rybczynski, senior consultant at research firm the CoStar Group.
  • Rent increases

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