What’s Trending in Housing?

March 27, 2023

Eviction Lab’s tracking system shows upward trend in evictions in real time 

In 34 cities across 10 states, landlords filed almost 970,000 evictions in 2022, marking a 78.6% increase from 2021. Through data collected by its Eviction Tracking System, ETS, the Eviction Lab is tracking eviction hotspots in real time to fill the gap between the lack of tracking at the federal and state level and the often difficult to access county court systems. The recent analysis reflects an increase in eviction filings in all locations where data has been collected, and includes 14 cities where eviction filings soared well above the historical average. With emergency rental assistance programs now over, 2023 looks to be the first year for measuring long-term eviction pattern following the pandemic. (Eviction Lab)  

Food insecurity experts fear “hunger cliff” with cuts to assistance programs  

Recent cuts to pandemic-era extensions of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits run the risk of pushing the United States toward a “hunger cliff”, advocates say. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonpartisan research and policy institute, reports every family in states where these benefits have ended are receiving at least $95 less a month, with some losing out on more than $250 per month. Other advocates say the gap in financial aid reveals not only a potential future crisis, but proves pre-pandemic assistance was also insufficient. Food insecurity experts say families will struggle to afford groceries and other essentials without the additional benefits in the face of continued inflation. (Salon) 

Ending poverty is possible and requires ‘abolitionist’ mindset, expert writes 

As one of the world’s richest democracies, the persistence of poverty in the United States is particularly unacceptable, says Matthew Desmond, Eviction Lab director and recent New York Times Opinion columnist. Desmond, who describes the country’s poverty problem as a “failure of public virtue”, is calling for Americans to commit the work of poverty abolition. Like other abolitionist movements, eradicating poverty requires our seeing it for the “abomination” that it is, one we can tolerate no longer. Citing historical precedents and effective programs and policies, Desmond’s critique is only partially one of policy, and is aimed principally at the country’s attitude on poverty and its willingness to accept and even perpetuate its existence. The tools and resources are there to abolish poverty, says Desmond, but the execution is a matter of will. (New York Times) 

Homelessness crisis may push one local Phoenix restaurant out of business 

With the homelessness crisis in Phoenix intensifying, some local businesses find themselves confronting the brunt of its consequences. For the owners of one restaurant, an encampment across the street has become increasingly unsafe, and threatens the future of their business. Struggling with some new and many of the same challenges each day, including gun shots and unpredictable interactions with those experiencing mental health crises, Joe and Debbie Faillace of Old Station Subs face down a challenging decision of whether to see it through or sell the restaurant to which they have dedicated their lives. The couple has often welcomed those living unhoused in the neighborhood inside the restaurant, and has even employed some of those living in the encampment. But as violence among those living outside has escalated and conditions have become increasingly unsanitary, the value of their property has significantly decreased and the couple fears the future of the restaurant is a forgone conclusion. (New York Times) 

Black property owner in Cincinnati cites discrimination in HUD complaint regarding appraisal 

One Cincinnati landlord believes race was a factor in the under-appraisal he received for one of his units. Terry Horton, who is Black and also rents the property in question to Black tenants, received a $359,000 appraisal after an initial estimation from his lender at approximately $500,000. Upon further examination, the appraisal contained a variety of errors and inconsistencies, including the appraiser’s inaccurately selecting comparable properties well-short of the square footage, number of bedrooms, and monthly rental income of Horton’s property. While later appraisals valued the property significantly higher, Horton’s opportunity to leverage his property to invest in another nearby had passed with the changing market. Horton, who is now represented by a Washington D.C. based civil rights firm, has filed a complaint with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. (New York Times) 

HUD rescinds 2020 Fair Housing Act rule aimed at making discrimination harder to prove 

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development recently announced it will rescind a 2020 rule added to the Fair Housing Act that it says complicated a 2013 rule meant to combat housing discrimination. In its statement, HUD said the 2020 rule made discrimination harder to prove and called the 2013 rule “straightforward”. The statement said additionally that the rule codified in 2013 was also consistent with efforts to shore up fair housing practices put forth by the agency and upheld by the courts for the last 50 years. (US Department of Housing and Urban Development) 

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