In the News This Week

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August 1, 2022

The Worsening Housing Crisis

Once considered a crisis only for coastal cities, housing shortages have now become a nationwide issue. Behind the pace of household formation, a study completed by Up for Growth has estimated the United States is short 3.8 million housing units. Affected by factors like pandemic-driven home buying and increasing costs of building materials, home prices have continued increasing across the country, resulting in rent hikes. (New York Times) 

Advocates Push For Updated Zoning Regulations

A lull in homebuilding following the crash of 2008 is partially responsible for the housing shortage, many economists say. As new home construction lags, local housing advocacy organizations in places like Atlanta point out a need for changing outdated zoning regulations that have led to residential disparity. Due to the localized nature of planning and zoning, advocates are encouraging residents to attend their local zoning meetings and contact their representatives related to the housing obstacles created by the antiquated regulations. (NPR) 

Single-Family Zoning and the Housing Shortage

As waitlists continue to outgrow shelter capacities, the National Low Income Housing Coalition reports 7 million extremely low-income renters cannot get affordable homes. With factors like supply and demand playing a leading role in increased homelessness, policy failures and community resistance also share responsibility for the shortage. In places like California and Oregon, communities have passed laws in recent years to end single-family zoning, a hurdle for adding housing in many neighborhoods across the country. (New York Times) 

The ‘Missing Middle’

Residents of Arlington County in Virginia recently made their voices heard during a meeting of county lawmakers resulting in a tense exchange of opposition and favor for changing the county’s zoning laws. Regarding housing’s “missing middle”, a disparity in housing options communities nationwide continue to confront, the contentious moments between advocates and critics illustrates the differing attitudes related to “upzoning”, or changes in zoning that create affordable housing through the elimination of single-family lots. (Washington Post

Heat Wave Hits Individuals Experiencing Homelessness Hardest

Amidst brutal heat and harsh terrain, at least 200 unhoused people are living in a remote stretch of the Mojave Desert just north of Lancaster, CA in Los Angeles County. Advocates describe the policing practices in Lancaster as the “criminalization of unhoused people’s existence”, forcing unhoused people further into the desert. Consisting of tents, campers, and other makeshift structures, the encampment faces nearly deadly conditions due to lack of resources like water and relief from desert temperatures. (The Guardian

Rising Rents Heighten New York’s Housing Crisis

New York City rents have surged to record prices as the city rebounds from the exodus it suffered during the pandemic. With its housing crisis worsening overtime, a report from the Department of City Planning in 2019 found jobs in the metro have outpaced new housing units by 363,000 since 2001. The Real Estate Board of New York is recommending a dramatic increase in housing production, calling for approximately 560,000 additional units by 2030. (Politico) 

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