Housing in Brief: Study Proves That Housing Is Healthcare

 Also, D.C. residents got a firsthand — and deeply ironic —  look at gentrification this week, and HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge agrees to investigate a company that Kansas City activists called “notorious slumlords.”

Protest sign reading

(Jonathan McIntosh, CC BY 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons)

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Housing Is Healthcare, at Least in Phoenix

The Phoenix area could save millions of dollars by housing people with mental illnesses instead of allowing them to become homeless, a new report finds.

AZCentral reports on the study, from Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute of Public Policy, which found that it is 30% cheaper to provide housing with on-site behavioral and medical supports, than to allow a person to become homeless.

A person’s healthcare costs decreased on average by $20,000 once placed in this type of supportive housing, the study said.

AZCentral spoke to an emergency room doctor who, over his 40-year career, has treated a number of people in crisis who were dropped off by police.

“It’s the worst possible environment I can think of to treat someone with active psychosis,” Dr. Charles Goldstein, the physician, said. “You need a quiet, recuperative environment, and the emergency room is everything that’s not that.”

Next City previously reported on similar research in Santa Clara County, which found that providing permanent supportive housing to people with severe mental-health issues helped them need fewer emergency psychiatric interventions.

D.C. Residents Hosted a Film Screening About Gentrification. Their Building Called the Cops

Residents of the Brookland Manor apartment complex in Northeast Washington attempted to host an outdoor screening of the documentary “What Happened 2 Chocolate City,” about gentrification in the nation’s capital.

Before the screening could start, however, reports the Washington Post, a private security guard for the complex arrived and told the organizers they would have to leave or be arrested for trespassing. The residents refused, and the guard summoned the police, the Post says.

Developer Midcity Financial has been attempting to redevelop Brookland Manor for years; the process has been tied up in the courts as residents have argued that the plans didn’t include enough affordable housing to prevent displacement. Earlier this year, an appeals court ruled in favor of the developer, allowing the redevelopment to go forward.

HUD Secretary Fudge Agrees to Investigate Kansas City “Slumlord”

While HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge was speaking at a press event in Kansas City to help drum up support for President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill, activists from KC Tenants arrived and demanded a meeting with Fudge, saying they wanted HUD to launch an investigation into Ohio-based Millennia Companies, a landlord that owns properties in Kansas City and which receives hundreds of millions of dollars in federal rental assistance.

One Kansas City building that is owned by Millennia, Gabriel Towers, has received numerous complaints over the years for neglect, reports KCUR.

“Millennia is notorious slumlords. We feel like they’re misappropriating funds, and we want to know what’s going on with the funds,” said James Stone, president of the Gabriel Tower Tenant Union, according to KCUR.

The radio station reports that Fudge cut her prepared remarks short to meet with Stone, agreed to launch a full investigation of Millennia Companies, and even named a HUD administrator to manage the probe.

“I want you to hold me accountable for the work that HUD does,” Fudge said, according to the station. “That is why I’m here … to make the lives of people better who we serve.”

This article is part of Backyard, a newsletter exploring scalable solutions to make housing fairer, more affordable and more environmentally sustainable. Subscribe to our weekly Backyard newsletter.

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Tags: washington dcgentrificationpublic housingkansas cityphoenixmental health

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