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August 23, 2022

New homes needed by the millions as inflation adds to lack of affordable construction

The housing crisis continues to feel the impacts of the lag in new home construction that began during the 2008 market crash. Recent data from Realtor.com reveals the need to build new homes by the millions to meet current demands. At present, inflation, supply chain issues, and zoning restrictions continue to exacerbate the lack in supply of new homes. The National Association of Homebuilders reports costs for building materials are up by 31.3% since January 2020.  (Business Insider) 

Mississippi governor ends rental assistance program, vows to return $130 million to Dept. of Treasury

Mississippi is ending the Rental Assistance for Mississippi Program, Gov. Tate Reeves announced recently, and will return up to $130 million in federal money back to the US Department of Treasury. Offering up to 15 months of assistance with rent and utility bills, Reeves has recently claimed the program is an incentive for its participants not to work. However, data shows that more than two-thirds of applicants, typically Black and female, were employed with 70% earning less than the area median income. (NBC News

Camping on undesignated public land now a felony in Tennessee 

Tennessee recently became the first state to criminalize pitching a tent on public land outside of designated camp sites, classifying the offense as a felony. In 2021, Texas passed a similar bill inspired by The Cicero Institute in Austin, founded to address what it considers “broken public systems” under a philosophy at odds with the principles of models like Housing First. Likeminded bills have been raised in Arizona and Georgia, but have also failed in places like Oklahoma and Wisconsin.  (CNN) 

Spikes in food prices force many to reevaluate their grocery budget 

Food costs have seen their biggest year-over-year spike in 43 years from last summer, as groceries are now 12.2% higher than they were a year ago. The Washington Post recently conducted numerous interviews of a diverse group of consumers who have changed or reduced their purchasing habits due to inflated prices. From economical meal prepping to cutting out certain items altogether, grocery buyers in all age and income categories have been forced to stretch their food budgets through reimagining their pantries and forgoing former indulgences.  (The Washington Post) 

Freddie Mac survey finds majority of renters have experienced hikes in rent over past year 

A recent Freddie Mac survey found 60% of renters reported a rent increase in the past year, with one-third of those renters reporting increases of more than 10%. Inflation a key driver, higher rents worsen the housing uncertainty of the most vulnerable as potential homebuyers priced out of the housing market enter the rental market, thus creating increased competition and rent hikes as a result.  (Yahoo Money) 

New York City introduces controversial bill aimed at helping those with criminal records secure housing 

The Fair Chance for Housing Act is facing controversy after its recent introduction by the New York City Council. The bill stands to prohibit landlords from considering the criminal record of potential tenants, with the exception of registered sex offenders. Believing it has the support to pass, advocates of the measure say it would put an end to the cycle of housing instability that marks those with criminal convictions. Those opposing the bill believe it prioritizes criminal privilege over resident safety. (CBS News) 

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