Here’s what got our attention in the world of housing policy this week. If you have a story idea for Backyard, email our housing correspondent, Jared Brey, at email@example.com. — Next City editors
Results of a national survey on U.S. housing came out Thursday, part of the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s Opportunity Starts at Home campaign. In an op-ed for Buzzfeed, Mike Koprowski, OSAH national director, wrote that “the data is shocking,” noting that renters’ incomes have increased by 5 percent since 1960 — and rents have risen 61 percent. Another lowlight: There are just 22 counties in the entire country where a full-time worker earning minimum wage can afford a modest one-bedroom rental.
When Adults Don’t Know How to Behave
A London developer faced public outrage when The Guardian reported that Henley Homes had barred children in social housing units from play areas in a mixed-income development. The paper justly likened the move to the “poor doors” that hit headlines a few years ago. Public-private partnership finger-pointing ensued, but by Wednesday, The Guardian had updated the story, with the developer saying “all children are welcome” now.
OK, so they don’t have a quick portmanteau like “Brexit,” but in some ways California state lawmakers’ striving for rent control is reminiscent of the seemingly never-ending strife over the U.K. leaving the EU. Last fall, California voters rejected Proposition 10, which would have given more power to cities for establishing rent controls. Opponents spent millions to defeat it. Now, a few assembly members are going at housing affordability with several new bills that would accomplish what Prop 10 proponents wanted. As Capital Public Radio reports, Gov. Gavin Newsom hosted a roundtable on affordable housing Tuesday. Also this week, according to Curbed San Francisco, an assembly member is planning a revise on one of those new bills already — to specify that the goal is not just rent control, but a law that is anti-rent gouging.
This article is part of Backyard, a newsletter exploring scalable solutions to make housing fairer, more affordable and more environmentally sustainable. Subscribe to our twice-weekly Backyard newsletter.