Tag Archives: Affordability

Group Living Rules – Denver Zoning

After an eight-hour meeting that included a public comment period for which 74 people signed up to speak, the Planning Board voted eight in favor (with one member not voting) to forward the proposal to City Council for review. City Council is expected to take it up in October.

Hundreds of people sent written comments to the board ahead of its decision. For months, residents have aired such concerns as fear of having former prisoners as neighbors. People who share housing have pushed for their arrangements to be legitimized.

The proposed zoning code change includes increasing the number of adults who aren’t related who can legally share a single-family home from two to five, with larger homes allowed to harbor as many as 10.

Jason Hornyak told the Planning Board that the changes would allow younger people to do what he did not know was illegal when he arrived in Denver as a recent college graduate: pool resources with others to be able to afford a home and start a life here. Referring to the city Community Planning and Development department that created the amendment, Hornyak said: “Cheers to CPD for making Denver a more equitable city.”

Donna Bryson, August 19, 2020
Denverite

Denver has an immediate need for housing, and the city has made it a priority to address that need by working to make more options available for all residents. Updating zoning rules is one piece of the city’s overall strategy to provide more and better housing opportunities for all residents.

denvergov.org

Affordable housing can cost $1 million per unit in California

Affordable housing can cost $1 million per unit in California due to is California’s labyrinthine financing process, parking minimums, and local governments forcing developers to cut number of apartments per building from urbanplanning

Lazerus42
My home town West Los Angeles is terrible at this. Parking is atrocious, and so is the ability to rezone single resident to multi floor apartments, or even apartment complex. We understandably don’t allow new developements to happen without built in parking now, but that then creates a city of high end apartments being the only thing people want to develop. So parking is a stigma of the issues. Of course public transportation is big for many metropolises, but LA is big, like big big. Public transportation is good, but bad in LA.. lots of NIMBY stopping the way. (look at trying to pass a trolley line near Beverly Hills High School) So this leads to a realm of housing that is damn near impossible to afford. I don’t quite know what to do. I’m not an expert in any way. It’s just what I’ve come to understand is the issue.

wizardnamehere
The cause is a lack of public transport. But transport projects are rendered unviable by the large ownership and preference to cars. You have to tackle the issue from both ends. You also need planning policy which aims to reduce total trips taken outside the local area. —

Housing Affordability in Amsterdam

VAN DOORNINCK:

I think where we’re doing bad is that the prices of our houses are far too high. The biggest worry that people in Amsterdam have is, “Can I pay my rent, or can I pay my mortgage, or actually, can I live in Amsterdam?” Because it’s so expensive. And that is such a strange thing because we calculate our G.D.P., so how wealthy the city is, by the prices of our houses. So, we say, “Okay, we have very expensive houses, so we are doing well. We’re a rich city.” But actually, we’re saying, “There’s no access for a lot of young people, but also older people because it’s far too expensive.” So, how could we say that our city is doing well?

freakonomics

Insulin or Food?

In March, Bolei, 63, who lives in San Rafael, California, was laid off from his job as a maintenance supervisor at a startup that manages real estate properties. After falling behind on rent, he fears he’ll get evicted as rent moratoriums expire.

For the past three months, he’s missed his nearly $3,000 monthly rent payment due to growing medical costs for his partner. She has lupus, an autoimmune disease, and faces $30,000 in medication costs this year to treat a brain injury following a car accident.

‘Insulin or groceries’: How reduced unemployment affects struggling Americans from California to Mississippi
Jessica Menton
USA TODAY

Lack of Housing and Overcrowding in Silicon Valley

From the early outbreaks to the economic destruction that has come after, the coronavirus pandemic has mapped itself onto America’s longstanding affordable housing problem and the gaping inequality that underlies it. To offset rising rents in a nation where one in four tenant households spend more than half of their pretax income on shelter, a multitude of low-wage service workers have piled into ever more crowded homes

San Francisco, there is a rough economic split. Cities and neighborhoods to the east, places like East Palo Alto, North Fair Oaks and the Belle Haven section of Menlo Park, are more overcrowded and have a larger share of low-income and Black and Latino residents, many of whom have been disproportionately affected by the virus. Towns and neighborhoods to the west, places like Hillsborough and Palo Alto, are whiter and rich.

This geography is as fundamental to how the place operates as the invention of the microchip. Every day, throngs of clerks, landscapers and elder-care workers wake up on the eastern parts and travel to homes on the western parts or to the corporate campuses of tech companies to do subcontracting work. And every night, they return to overcrowded homes.

12 People in a 3-Bedroom House, Then the Virus Entered the Equation
Overcrowding, not density, has defined many coronavirus hot spots. Service workers’ quarters skirting Silicon Valley are no exception.
Conor Dougherty
NYTIMES

Tell Your Lawmaker to Protect the Programs That Feed Hungry Kids

1 in 7 kids in America struggle with hunger. This takes a profound toll on their health, their happiness, and their ability to find success in the future.

But ending childhood hunger is a problem with a solution. As a member of congress, you have the chance to help end hunger for kids in our country. Please support and protect the federal nutrition programs that provide children in need with consistent, reliable access to food.

This is important for kids; it’s also important for your state. When we make sure kids get the food they need, they feel better, learn more and grow up stronger. And that means a smarter, healthier, economically stronger state.

Programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, school meals and WIC work together to make sure kids have access to the food they need, regardless of zip code, age or time of year. This is fundamental to ending childhood hunger in our state and across America.

I urge you to support these programs. Kids are counting on you.

You can go here and send this message to your lawmaker:
No Kid Hungry

“I can afford to stay alive a little while longer” – Paying for Insulin in the US

"I can afford to stay alive a little while longer" from ABoringDystopia

Negatoris_Wrecks My cousin needs a kidney. He has a volunteer match. Donor’s insurance wont cover it.

TechnicallyHuman But fuck is our health care system broken. I went to a new hospital WITH insurance that’s with in my network and bam. 300$ new patient fee. Never mentioned. Fucking racket.

American Workers – Lost Ground

Long before the pandemic, U.S. workers’ productivity and their median pay, which once rose in tandem, went through an acrimonious divorce. Compensation, especially in some of the country’s fastest-growing industries, has stagnated, while the costs of housing, health care, and education decidedly have not. The federal minimum wage, stuck at $7.25 since 2009, is worth 70% of what it was in 1968, and about a third of what it would be had it kept pace with productivity.

How the American Worker Got Fleeced
Over the years, bosses have held down wages, cut benefits, and stomped on employees’ rights. Covid-19 may change that.
Story by Josh Eidelson
Data analysis and graphics by Christopher Cannon
bloomberg.com

A Place at the Table – Food Insecurity in the United States


A documentary that investigates incidents of hunger experienced by millions of Americans, and proposed solutions to the problem.
Directors: Kristi Jacobson, Lori Silverbush
Stars: Jeff Bridges, Tom Colicchio, Ken Cook

SNAP is one of the most effective and efficient federal programs, as well as one of the most responsive, providing additional assistance to needy families during economic downturns. It’s also one of the most-needed: 46 million Americans rely on SNAP benefits to buy food each month, according to the USDA. Two-thirds of these benefits go to households with children.

1 in 7 kids in the United States face hunger, and 20 million of those children are in families who rely on the food they get from SNAP.

https://www.nokidhungry.org/who-we-are/hunger-facts

For Many, Getting By Was Difficult Before Coronavirus

In less than two decades, the share of income paid out in wages and benefits in the private sector shrank by 5.4 percentage points, a McKinsey Global Institute study found last year, reducing compensation on average by $3,000 a year, adjusted for inflation.

The result is that a job — once the guarantor of income security — no longer reliably plays that role.

“For many working families, wage growth has not been strong enough to allow them to meet their basic needs on their own,” the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston concluded in a report last year.

“Straggling In A Good Economy, And Now Struggling In A Crisis”
Patricia Cohen
 https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/16/business/economy/coronavirus-economy.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage.

The Food Bank of the Rockies

1 in 10 Coloradans worry where their next meal will come from. These are people you meet every day- those with low wage jobs, children, seniors on fixed incomes, those with health issues. Surprisingly, the homeless represent only 10% of our food recipients. Nearly half of the food we distribute feeds children.

Less than 4 cents of every dollar for administration. 96 cents of every dollar contributed goes towards food distribution. And every dollar we receive helps provides four meals for our hungry neighbors.

Donate Here

Inequality, some numbers – The New York Times

Overall, the richest 0.1 percent of American households own 19.6 percent of the nation’s total wealth, up from 15.9 percent in 2005 and 7.4 percent in 1980. The richest 0.1 percent now have the same combined net worth as the bottom 85 percent.

The wealth trends have been especially hard on younger Americans. The median net worth of Americans under age 35 — who started off substantially poorer on average than older Americans — is 40 percent lower than the net worth of Americans under 35 was in 2004. The net worth of Americans over age 65, by contrast, has risen 9 percent over the same period. The Boomers, in short, are richer than their predecessors, and Millennials and Generation X are poorer than their predecessors.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/04/10/opinion/coronavirus-us-economy-inequality.html

He Got Tested for Coronavirus. Then Came the Flood of Medical Bills.

In an isolation room, the doctors put him on an IV drip, did a chest X-ray and took the swabs.

Now back at work remotely, he faces a mounting array of bills. His patient responsibility, according to his insurer, is now close to $2,000, and he fears there may be more bills to come.

By Elisabeth Rosenthal and Emmarie Huetteman
Ms. Rosenthal is editor in chief of Kaiser Health News, where Ms. Huetteman is a correspondent.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/30/opinion/coronavirus-test-cost-bill.html

Single Family Home Rentals – Institutional Investors And

Wall Street’s latest real estate grab has ballooned to roughly $60 billion, representing hundreds of thousands of properties. In some communities, it has fundamentally altered housing ecosystems in ways we’re only now beginning to understand, fueling a housing recovery without a homeowner recovery. “That’s the big downside,” says Daniel Immergluck, a professor of urban studies at Georgia State University. “During one of the greatest recoveries of land value in the history of the country, from 2010 and 2011 at the bottom of the crisis to now, we’ve seen huge gains in property values, especially in suburbs, and instead of that accruing to many moderate-income and middle-income homeowners, many of whom were pushed out of the homeownership market during the crisis, that land value has accrued to these big companies and their shareholders.”

Before 2010, institutional landlords didn’t exist in the single-family-rental market; now there are 25 to 30 of them, according to Amherst Capital, a real estate investment firm. From 2007 to 2011, 4.7 million households lost homes to foreclosure, and a million more to short sale. Private-equity firms developed new ways to secure credit, enabling them to leverage their equity and acquire an astonishing number of homes.

The Great Wall Street Housing Grab
Hundreds of thousands of single-family homes are now in the hands of giant companies — squeezing renters for revenue and putting the American dream even further out of reach.
Francesca Mari, NYTIMES

In Utah, some public workers are able to fly to Canada or Mexico to buy their medication at a steep discount – WBUR

Utah is pioneering an alternative for its state employees to address soaring prescription drug prices.

The Pharmacy Tourism Program, a part of the Utah Public Employees Health Program (PEHP), allows certain members with high-cost medicines to fill their prescription in Vancouver, Canada, and Tijuana, Mexico, where medication comes at a much lower cost. The initiative even pays for members’ flights.

WBUR

Non U.S. millenials having same problems as the American ones?


US milliennials (roughly 22-37 yrs of age) are facing heavy debt and low pay which prevents or delays them from buying homes (or other large purchases) and starting families compared to their parents, are other countries experiencing the same or similar economic issues with this age group? from NoStupidQuestions

“In the UK almost identical situation.
I’m 43 I own my house and pay £600 pcm mortgage.
My colleague is 34 rents a house on the same street. Pays £900 pcm rent.
He’s fucked. Totally fucked.”

“In Finland, not as bad, but trending towards that. Pay is dragging behind the increasing cost of living, because we need to remain competitive in EU internal and global markets, which apparently can only be done with wages. Not by for example, making Finland more friendly to startups and small and medium sized companies, and entrepreneurs.”

reddit

Socialists and billionaires in presidential politics. Open Source, Christopher Lydon

The New Red Scare
“The winter round of the presidential race goes to Bernie Sanders, not so much for winning the most votes from Democrats as for coining the key word, the big theme for 2020, which is: billionaires! Not just the billionaires on the ballot and billionaires backstage, it’s billionaire-ism coming to be the argument of this election in a country at odds more and more about money. We’re used to anger, right and left, but suddenly there’s alarm in the air – at MSNBC, the Democrats’ TV network, the bold march of Bernie’s anti-billionaire army reminded Hardball‘s Chris Matthews of the Fall of France to Hitler in 1940. It’s scary, and there’s a pick of scarecrows in this race: the Plutocrat; the Democratic Socialist, and the President.

This was wake-up week among the Democrats nominating a presidential candidate. Some woke up cheering that Bernie Sanders looks like the choice of the people. Some woke up screaming in horror that the rebellion against the Clinton era is real, that their party has been dying for four years, that the end is near. The sound of battle has gone raw, with survival at stake, not just egos.”

Radio Open Source

‘Glass House’ Chronicles The Sharp Decline Of An All-American Factory Town

Lancaster, Ohio, the home of the Fortune 500 company Anchor Hocking, was once a bustling center of industry and employment. At its peak following World War II, Lancaster’s hometown company was the world’s largest maker of glassware and employed more than 5,000 town residents.

Though Anchor Hocking remains in Lancaster today, it is a shell of its former self, and the once thriving town is beset by underemployment and drug abuse. Lancaster native Brian Alexander chronicles the rise and fall of his hometown in his new book, Glass House.

“People are genuinely struggling,” he tells Fresh Air’s Dave Davies. “The economy of the town is struggling, not because there’s high unemployment, [but] because the employment that there is all minimum wage, or even lower than minimum wage.”

Fresh Air, February 6, 2017. NPR