Evictions back to pre-pandemic levels as advocates take on abusive practices and rents continue climbing
Evictions have returned to pre-pandemic levels, and have in some places eclipsed that amount, in the year that’s followed the Supreme Court’s striking down eviction moratorium from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. While many evictions come as the result of missed payments, housing advocates are increasingly confronting current illegal or abusive eviction practices, many discovered as having taken place during moratorium periods. Data from the program on economic inclusion at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland reveals cities where rents increased by only 1% saw a 2% increase in evictions. (Forbes)
King County WA tries new approach to more accurately account for its unhoused communities
Obtaining an accurate count of those experiencing homelessness nationwide has come with many challenges, particularly for its method of data gathering that advocates believe leaves much room for improvement. In King County Washington, where advocates in Seattle and the surrounding area continue seeking solutions for their unhoused communities, the county’s Regional Homelessness Authority is field-testing a new method to capture missed populations of those experiencing homelessness more accurately. For more than a decade, the Department of Housing and Urban Development has relied largely on its Point-In-Time count, a single night each year where outreach workers walk streets and count individuals they observe living unhoused. KCRHA officials are hopeful the new approach will offer both quantitative and qualitative information through meeting with the homeless in food banks, shelters, and other locations to ask specific questions and record personal testimonies. (Washington Post)
City zoning regulations prove burdensome for tiny house owners
As tiny homes have become an increasingly favorable housing alternative for people experiencing homelessness, city codes and zoning regulations continue to create obstacles and in some cases force people out of what is otherwise safe housing. In Idaho, one woman is suing a city where codes that allow for parking tiny homes on residential lots remain prohibitive of simultaneously occupying these scaled-down living quarters. (Forbes)
White House allows use of American Rescue Plan funding toward affordable housing projects
With demand for affordable housing continuing to surge, the Biden administration has moved to allow more flexibility with funding from the American Rescue Plan to aid in financing affordable housing projects. Under the new guidance for eligible recovery funding options, state and local governments must still approve budgetary actions that would allot monies toward affordable housing initiatives, a step some have shown little willingness to take for a complexity of reasons.
Lowest income households impacted most by inflationary economy
Inflation has further exacerbated economic disparities between the country’s wealthy and low-income earners. As prices for essential goods rise and layoffs loom, the nation’s poorest bear the brunt of economic instability as they spend the largest shares of their budgets on groceries and see fewer job opportunities when companies cut back. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, top two-fifths of income distribution account for approximately 60% of spending in the economy, while the bottom two-fifths accounts only for 22 percent. Earnings calls and travel data reveals the wealthiest continue to spend, while lower income families continue to pull back on the most basic necessities.