Affordable Housing Shouldn’t Be an Oxymoron

On Wednesday, President Biden announced and outlined the next priority on his legislative agenda: a climate-centered infrastructure bill.

At $2 trillion-plus, the American Jobs Plan is a far-reaching proposal to modernize and transform the built environment and infrastructure of the United States. The scope of it is impressive. The plan would, if passed, provided a total of $115 billion for roads and bridges, $85 billion for public transit, $80 billion for passenger and freight rail and $111 billion for water infrastructure including $45 billion for lead abatement, to prevent another Flint, Mich., or Jackson, Miss.

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Hugh Bailey: The inescapable question of race in affordable housing proposals

The ongoing drive to reform land use in Connecticut may not succeed. Bringing the issue to the forefront has energized opponents as well as supporters, and since the Connecticut suburbs typically get what they want, the chances of nothing happening are significant.

But it’s been useful nonetheless in illuminating one of the state’s most deeply rooted problems and exposing attitudes that seem stuck in amber from an earlier age.

Regardless of what happens with specific bills, the state has a long way to go to achieve equity. But at least we can more clearly see where the stumbling blocks lie. And we can maybe talk more honestly about the disparities between communities that are clear to anyone who looks, even as we seem unable to solve them, or unwilling.

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The social determinants of health: Too long neglected as drivers of health outcomes

A watershed change in healthcare documentation occurred on January 1, 2021. For the first time in 24 years, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMMS) created the opportunity to recognize and get paid for documenting the presence of health disparities into the national healthcare billing system.

Specifically, the acknowledgement of “diagnosis or treatment significantly limited by social determinants of health” is now official!

What are the social determinants of health? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) definition of the social determinants of health (SDoH) is “life enhancing resources, such as food supply, housing, economic and social relationships, transportation, education, and health care whose distribution across populations effectively determines length and quality of life.”  The addition of SDoH into the payment revisions for 2021 can have a big impact on the health of specific population groups, disease management and every person’s well- being. A  zip code’s influence on the health of those living there is multifold.

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Challenging discrimination when purchasing a home

A decade ago, George Willborn, a Black radio personality and comedian, reached a tentative deal to buy a $1.7 million, 8,000-square-foot house in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood.

But the White sellers refused to sign the contract, he said, even though Willborn had made the highest offer.

Willborn and his wife filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The sellers’ agent told investigators that the sellers preferred not to sell to a Black family, according to court records.

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Did the Comprehensive Community Initiatives of the 1990s, early 2000s Bring About Change?

Kubisch is now president of The Ford Family Foundation, a grant-making organization in Oregon unrelated to the New York-based Ford Foundation that funded the NFI. In a recent interview with Shelterforce, she said she believes the theory underlying CCIs is still valid. Addressing complex problems in vulnerable communities requires integration and layering of interventions, along with a community-building approach to engage residents and make programs sustainable. It’s just that “the implementation was really hard,” she says, and funders did not stick with neighborhoods long enough to make deep changes.

“The problem was, they were structured in the form of an ‘initiative’ because of the way foundations thought about things. If you have a theory of philanthropy that says, ‘We want to pilot something, show how it works, and then move on,’ you automatically by definition have this time-limited sense. You announce, ‘We’re going to provide some fixed amount of money on an annual basis, and we’re going to do it for 10 years and we expect that we’re going to change the world in these 10 years.’ That just didn’t make any sense. It just doesn’t match the reality,” she says.

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If ‘Housing Is a Right,’ How Do We Make It Happen?

“Housing is a right in America,” President Biden said last month as he signed an executive order promising to address racial discrimination and inequality in housing. On Tuesday, the administration announced an extension of the federal foreclosure moratorium through the end of June.

While this temporary measure is a necessary Band-Aid on a gaping economic wound, housing is not yet a right in this country — far from it. Mr. Biden’s emphasis on redressing racial inequity in housing provides a welcome contrast, though, to the long history of the federal government’s housing policies, which created barriers to safe, affordable housing in all 50 states, especially for communities of color.

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America’s racist housing rules really can be fixed

Neighborhoods matter. As Vox’s Dylan Matthews reported, researchers Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren, and Lawrence Katz found in 2016 that moving to a wealthier neighborhood not only increased the likelihood that kids would go to college, but also increased earnings by roughly 31 percent by the time they’d reached their mid-20s.

Part of what has kept Kennetha out of living in Franklin is exclusionary zoning. Single-family zoning, which means it’s illegal to build anything other than single-family homes, is prevalent in the suburb. Single-family homes are more expensive than apartments, townhomes, or duplexes, and that makes rent costly, too. Houses in Franklin go for an average price of $550,000, far above the average in Nashville of $335,000.

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U.S. cities segregated not just by where people live, but where they travel daily

Using data collected between 2013 and 2015 from Twitter — where millions of urban Americans leave behind valuable clues about where they eat lunch, work out and socialize each time they post a tweet — Candipan and her colleagues developed what they called a Segregated Mobility Index, or SMI, for each of 50 cities in the U.S. Candipan explained that each city scored somewhere between 0 and 1 on the SMI. If a city were to score 0, it would indicate total interconnectedness, with residents regularly visiting neighborhoods that don’t resemble the racial and ethnic composition of their own with a frequency that corresponds with the diversity of the city. If a city were to score 1, it would indicate total racial segregation, with residents failing to visit any neighborhood that doesn’t resemble the racial makeup of their own.

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Connecticut is failing to provide affordable housing for cashiers, child care workers and many of the state’s unemployed laborers

Connecticut is failing to provide affordable housing for essential workers and new public investment is needed, according to a report prepared for two state agencies. And without better regional planning, the prioritization of housing based on need and “proactive” investment, Connecticut’s housing problems will surely get worse, the study’s authors predict.

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Billions in school construction in CT hasn’t made a dent in segregation — but this year, things could be different

“Get your son out of this school.”

That’s the message Yanira Rios received seven years ago from her son’s kindergarten teacher shortly after moving to Bridgeport, the only community in the region where she could afford an apartment. Her son had learned to read in preschool before leaving Shelton, and now Rios was being told that his teacher needed to focus on his classmates, who were far behind him academically.

“It was so discouraging to have a teacher beg you, ‘You have to figure it out. You have to get your kid out of here, because at the end of the year he’s going to be behind,'” said Rios.

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  • Open Communities Alliance
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  • Hartford, CT 06106
  • Phone: 860-610-6040