WBEZ | Housing http://www.wbez.org/news/housing Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en A Conversation About 'Integrating the Inner City' http://www.wbez.org/news/housing/conversation-about-integrating-inner-city-114750 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/nmoore.JPG" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">WBEZ&rsquo;s Natalie Moore moderated a conversation with scholars <a href="https://ssascholars.uchicago.edu/r-chaskin/biocv">Robert Chaskin</a> and <a href="http://msass.case.edu/faculty/mjoseph/">Mark Joseph</a> about their new book on the Chicago Housing Authority -- <em><a href="http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/I/bo18415894.html">&ldquo;Integrating the Inner City: The Promise and Perils of Mixed Income Public Housing Transformation.&rdquo;</a></em></p><p dir="ltr">The book is five years worth of field research about CHA&rsquo;s billion-dollar experiment to remake public housing.</p><p dir="ltr">The December 2015 event was at Newberry Library and jointly sponsored by the University of Chicago <a href="http://urban.uchicago.edu/">Urban Network</a>, <a href="https://www.ssa.uchicago.edu/">School of Social Service Administration</a>, <a href="https://csrpc.uchicago.edu/">Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture</a>, <a href="http://www.semcoop.com/">Seminary Co-op Bookstore</a>, the <a href="http://www.law.uchicago.edu/kreisman">Kreisman Initiative on Housing Law and Policy</a>, and the <a href="http://www.nphm.org/">National Public Housing Museum</a>. &nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Watch the discussion:</strong></p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" scrolling="no" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/eE_ZpbTHSbQ" title="(Video produced by ADPT Pro.)" width="560"></iframe></p><p dir="ltr"><strong>More on mixed income and housing:</strong></p><div id="content-titles"><h5><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/news/local/public-housing-residents-learn-rules-mixed-income-0" target="_blank">Public Housing Residents Learn the Rules for Mixed Income</a></h5><div id="content-titles"><h5><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/news/local/social-tension-rises-chicago-housing-authority-mixed-income-development">Social Tension Rises at Chicago Housing Authority Mixed-Income Development</a></h5><div><div id="content-titles"><h5><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/news/local/mixed-results-mixed-income-chicago-public-housing">Mixed Results on Mixed-Income Chicago Public Housing</a></h5><div><h5><a href="http://chicagotonight.wttw.com/2012/10/29/chicagos-mixed-income-communities">Chicago&#39;s Mixed-Income Communities</a></h5></div></div></div></div></div><h5 dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cha-slows-down-mixed-income-housing-108699">CHA Slows Down on Mixed-Income Housing</a></h5><h5 dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-26/chicago-housing-authority-leader-takes-new-challenges-113499">A Conversation with CHA CEO Eugene Jones</a></h5></p> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 10:07:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/housing/conversation-about-integrating-inner-city-114750 Fifty Years Ago Today, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Gets a Chicago Address http://www.wbez.org/news/fifty-years-ago-today-dr-martin-luther-king-jr-gets-chicago-address-114607 <p><p>Fifty years ago this week, Martin Luther King, Jr. arrived in Chicago.</p><p>He didn&rsquo;t come to make a speech or lead a march. King actually moved here, to a run-down apartment on the city&rsquo;s West Side. He stayed for most of 1966.</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-26/segment/when-mlk-moved-chicago-114624">He was launching what he considered the next phase of the civil rights movement</a> &mdash; a phase that had as much to do with economics as it did with race.</p><p>If King&rsquo;s Chicago chapter is remembered at all, it&rsquo;s usually for the open housing marches he led through all-white communities like Gage Park &mdash; and the violent reaction to them by whites. Those summertime open housing marches eventually helped blacks move to areas that had been off-limits, and they paved the way for the nation&rsquo;s Fair Housing Act of 1968.</p><p>But the housing protests were only one part of a much bigger campaign &mdash; a &ldquo;Campaign to End Slums.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;The first significant Northern Freedom Movement ever attempted by major civil rights forces&rdquo; would be &ldquo;directed against public and private institutions which &hellip; have created infamous slum conditions directly responsible for the involuntary enslavement of millions of black men, women and children,&rdquo; King declared in a statement announcing&nbsp;<a href="http://www.crmvet.org/docs/6601_sclc_mlk_chicagoplan.pdf">&ldquo;The Chicago Plan.&rdquo;</a></p><p>&ldquo;Our primary objective will be to bring about the unconditional surrender of forces dedicated to the creation and maintenance of slums and ultimately to make slums a moral and financial liability upon the whole community,&rdquo; King asserted.</p><p>King&rsquo;s full-scale assault on slum conditions was not only directed at housing. He talked about a slum economy, slum jobs, slum schools.</p><p>King historian Clayborne Carson says in today&rsquo;s terms, the Campaign to End Slums would be &ldquo;a campaign to end poverty.&rdquo;</p><p>Carson, director of the King Research and Education Institute at Stanford University, says King&rsquo;s commitment to notions of justice for the poor ran deep, and sprang from his Christianity.</p><p>&ldquo;As far back as 1948, he&rsquo;s writing about unemployment, slums, economic insecurity. That was his identity as a Social Gospel minister&mdash;dealing with those issues,&rdquo; says Carson.</p><p>Every school child in America hears about Martin Luther King&rsquo;s Dream &mdash; little black and white children joining hands. That was not King in Chicago.</p><p>&ldquo;If there is to be genuine equality, there must be a radical redistribution of economic and political power,&rdquo; King told the Chicago press.</p><p>The dream King talked about in Chicago included a 60 percent increase to the minimum wage. He called for a guaranteed minimum income&mdash;the idea that no family should live below a certain threshold. He wanted tenant unions, a union for the unemployed.</p><p>He imagined community organizations collectively bargaining for welfare recipients&mdash;in an effort to seek more humane policies that strengthen families. He wanted integrated schools and fair funding for black students. He called for job creation and massive investment in the ghettos.</p><p><strong>1550 South Hamlin</strong></p><p>In the South there were lunch counters. In Chicago, there were ghettos. King moved into a third-floor slum apartment in North Lawndale &mdash; 1550 South Hamlin Ave.</p><p>The day he arrived, Lawndale residents filled the street to catch a glimpse. Little kids went upstairs to see if it was really true that the Rev. Martin Luther King had moved in. Members of the Vice Lords street gang came by.</p><p>&ldquo;He wanted to live with the people that he cared most about, and it was the poor people that he was most concerned about,&rdquo; says Mary Lou Finley, secretary to Rev. James Bevel in 1966. Bevel had been a key strategist in Selma and Birmingham, and now he was heading the Chicago campaign.</p><p>Finley says there was an emphasis on finding and attacking structural causes of the ghetto&mdash;from low-wage work and high black unemployment rates to housing discrimination that forced too many people into too little space and allowed and encouraged landlords to exploit tenants.</p><p>Finley says activists had learned from campaigns in the South that they needed a shorthand way to quickly get their point across. So they came up with an &ldquo;end the slums&rdquo; symbol&mdash;it looked a little like the peace symbol but featured a &lsquo;V,&rsquo; some said for &ldquo;victory over the slums.&rdquo; The activists made 10,000 buttons and gave them away.</p><p>&ldquo;They really pervaded Chicago. People put the symbol in their window. After a while you didn&rsquo;t have to write &lsquo;End the Slums&rsquo; underneath it&mdash;people understood that&rsquo;s what it meant,&rdquo; says Finley.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/xDNV8dxYe-g" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><em>(You can see a poster-sized version of the symbol displayed on a wall behind King in this 1967 interview with NBC&rsquo;s Frank McGee. King tells McGee, &ldquo;Now we are in a new phase, and that is a phase where we are seeking genuine equality, where we are dealing with hard economic and social issues. And it means that the job is much more difficult. It&rsquo;s much easier to integrate a lunch counter than it is to guarantee an annual income. It&rsquo;s much easier to integrate a bus than it is to get a program that will force the government to put billions of dollars into ending slums.&rdquo;)</em></p><p>By the time King moved into North Lawndale, he had won the Nobel Peace Prize, he was speaking all over the country. Now, the stairwell of his building smelled like urine. The door to the street wouldn&rsquo;t lock. There were rats and roaches, radiators that wouldn&rsquo;t heat.</p><p>Bernard Lafayette also worked alongside King at the time. He says King was in Lawndale to both teach and listen.</p><p>&ldquo;That was probably the most astute part of his approach to solving problems,&rdquo; Lafayette says, &ldquo;and that was to listen to the people and not make assumptions about the problem, but to see if he could understand their lives from their perspectives.&rdquo;</p><p>King held &ldquo;mass meetings&rdquo; in little neighborhood churches. He bought the newspaper at 16th and Ridgeway. &nbsp;He talked to regular Chicagoans on the airwaves, like in this excerpt from Wesley South&rsquo;s &ldquo;Hotline&rdquo; on WVON:</p><p dir="ltr"><iframe frameborder="no" height="20" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/243762799&amp;color=ff5500&amp;inverse=false&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_user=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><blockquote><p dir="ltr"><em>CALLER: Yes, Dr. King would you object to answering a question if it were not in the same viewpoint that you have?</em></p><p dir="ltr"><em>KING: Of course not, I&rsquo;d be willing to try to answer any question--there&rsquo;s always room for dissent.</em></p><p dir="ltr"><em>CALLER: I would like to ask you if you think Chicago is the worst city that you&rsquo;ve been in.</em></p><p dir="ltr"><em>KING: Ah, that&rsquo;s a difficult question to answer&hellip; because we have a lot of problems in all of our cities&hellip;.</em></p></blockquote><p dir="ltr"><strong>Open housing and a larger mission</strong></p><p>If King&rsquo;s stay in Chicago is remembered at all, it&rsquo;s usually for the open housing marches that sought to knock down the walls of the ghettos, and the incredible violence King encountered as white residents attacked him and others protesting segregation and housing discrimination.</p><p>While King had initially vowed to unleash a &ldquo;nonviolent army on each and every issue&rdquo; in the slums, it proved impossible to fight on so many fronts. Eventually, open housing became the movement&rsquo;s focus.</p><p>That&rsquo;s one reason that today we associate King with the all-white neighborhoods he marched through&mdash;Marquette Park, Gage Park. But those open housing marches were not only a protest of racial discrimination; they were also part of a larger effort to fix slum conditions like those in North Lawndale.</p><p><strong>&lsquo;A good thing to look up on him&rsquo;</strong></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/kingchicagoap.jpg" title="Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King wave to crowd in street from center window of a third-floor walk-up apartment he rented in a slum area on Chicago's West Side, Jan. 26, 1966. Dr. King announced he will spend two or three days a week in Chicago directing a campaign against slum conditions. Mrs. King said she would stay in the flat for tonight only, and then return to Atlanta. Dr. King pays $90 a month rent for the four-room apartment. (AP Photo/Edward Kitch)" /></div><p>On South Hamlin, Irene Powell lives across the street from King&rsquo;s old building.</p><p>She&rsquo;s 87 now, and she&rsquo;s sitting in the same window that she watched King through 50 years ago.</p><p>&ldquo;It was just a good thing to be able to look up on him, you know? But I also heard him say that Chicago was about one of the prejudiced places he&rsquo;d ever been. Even though they&rsquo;re kind of sneaky with it,&rdquo; she says.</p><p>Mrs. Powell&rsquo;s life is a metaphor for everything achieved and not achieved over these last 50 years.</p><p>When King lived here, the Powells rented this apartment. Her husband worked in a meat packing house. She took night jobs. Somehow they caught enough of the expanding economy that they could raise 16 kids and manage to buy the building.</p><p>But it&rsquo;s been tough holding onto it, between mortgage scams and city inspectors. Mrs. Powell says one of her sons was killed by police. Four generations of her children have attended the segregated school down the street.</p><p>King was here to end the slums, but to Mrs. Powell, those now look like the neighborhood&rsquo;s good years.</p><p>After King was assassinated, rioters burned 16th Street. And 48 years later, the scars are still right here. Whole blocks sit vacant. King&rsquo;s old apartment building at 1550 S. Hamlin was torn down. A greater percentage of North Lawndale families live in poverty today than when King was here.</p><p>&ldquo;I just want to see more good things,&rdquo; says Mrs. Powell, who still remembers the names of clerks in department stores along 16<sup>th</sup> Street that shut down long ago, remembers buying clothes and toys for her children. &ldquo;I want to see some blooming up, some coming up!&rdquo;</p><p>There is a little bit of blooming up. For past anniversaries of King&rsquo;s arrival, 1550 S. Hamlin was a vacant lot. No sign King had ever lived there.</p><p>Today, for the 50th anniversary, Mrs. Powell looks out on the Martin Luther King Legacy Apartments. They are 45 units&mdash;some affordable housing and some market-rate &mdash; built five years ago by the Lawndale Christian Development Corporation.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/MLK_Legacy_Apt_Lutton.jpg" title="The Martin Luther King Legacy Apartments (Linda Lutton/WBEZ)" /></div><p>I met the family who lives at 1550 S. Hamlin, Number 3, the same address King had. They are a beautiful family, deeply religious, five kids.</p><p>I think it&rsquo;s safe to say that King would love their building. But he&rsquo;d be troubled by neighborhood violence so bad their kids can&rsquo;t play outside. Troubled the father spent three years unemployed, despite dropping off hundreds of resumes. Troubled by the $8-an-hour job he finally landed. When you convert that $8 an hour, it&rsquo;s less than what minimum wage was back in 1966.</p><p>Historians say that in Chicago, King sowed the seeds of the Poor People&rsquo;s Campaign he was working on when he was assassinated.</p><p>Mrs. Powell can&rsquo;t remember hearing about that. But it resonates. &ldquo;It is a poor people&rsquo;s campaign! &nbsp;That&rsquo;s what we are&mdash;poor peoples. We just ain&rsquo;t campaigning!&rdquo;</p><p>From her window, Mrs. Powell begins another year &mdash; looking out at many of the same problems King came to Chicago 50 years ago to fix.</p><p><em>Many thanks to NBC 5 Chicago and WVON for permission to use the archival footage in the audio version of this piece.</em></p><p><em>Linda Lutton is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her </em><a href="https://twitter.com/wbezeducation?lang=en-gb"><em>@WBEZeducation</em></a><em>.</em></p></p> Tue, 26 Jan 2016 08:16:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/fifty-years-ago-today-dr-martin-luther-king-jr-gets-chicago-address-114607 Global Activism in India: PUKAR helps Mumbai's slum-dwellers http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-india-pukar-helps-mumbais-slum-dwellers-114718 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/GA-Pukar.JPG" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-8b78c428-b23a-9de4-9005-5faab26778f6"><a href="http://pukar.org.in/"><em>PUKAR</em></a>&nbsp;is an independent research collective and an urban knowledge production center based in Mumbai, India. PUKAR means to &ldquo;call out&rdquo; in Hindi. Worldview visited the collective when it took the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-05-09/special-series-global-activism-worldview-visits-india-111888">Global Activism series on the road to India</a>. One of their projects is known as the &quot;Barefoot Researcher&quot; project. Young people from disadvantaged communities take on research projects and &nbsp;document what is happening with things like water quality or tuberculosis in their community. Then, they use that knowledge to generate change. PUKAR Executive Director, Dr. Anita Deshmuk, gave us a tour of the slum area.</span></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/243130684&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Thu, 21 Jan 2016 09:40:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-india-pukar-helps-mumbais-slum-dwellers-114718 Using Crowdfunding for Personal Use http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-20/using-crowdfunding-personal-use-114525 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Personal Crowdfunding-Flickr-Rocio Lara.jpg" alt="" /><p><div>Have you ever gone online to solicit money for a personal project or something you need or want?</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>These days, crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe are filled with personal appeals: People looking for money for their cancer drugs, fertility treatments, or even to be a help them buy a house.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>So, where do we draw the line on which types of fundraising efforts to support? What goes into your decision to give or NOT to give? &nbsp;Ron Lieber, writer of the &quot;Your Money&quot; column for the New York Times, joins us to talk about how crowdfunding campaigns are getting more personal.</div></p> Tue, 12 Jan 2016 09:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-20/using-crowdfunding-personal-use-114525 Government Proposing Smoking Ban in Public Housing http://www.wbez.org/programs/marketplace/2016-01-11/government-proposing-smoking-ban-public-housing-114441 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/4170136164_b650ccca9a_z_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="Smoker" src="http://www.marketplace.org/sites/default/files/styles/primary-image-766x447/public/151331783.jpg?itok=NxFJ6Rlq" style="height: 362px; width: 620px;" title="The Department of Housing and Urban Development is proposing a smoking ban. (ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/GettyImages" typeof="foaf:Image" /></p><p>The Department of Housing and Urban Development is proposing a smoking ban in the one-point-two million units of public housing it oversees.&nbsp;But this isn&#39;t just a ban on smoking in public areas. It would extend to the inside of people&#39;s apartments, too.</p><p>Thirty-seven-year-old Equanda Willis lives in a public housing complex in Brooklyn, NY, and has been smoking for two decades. She started for the same reason many teenagers do: she thought it looked cool. Then, she got hooked. And while she&#39;d like to quit, she doesn&#39;t think the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has the right to tell her what to do in her own home.</p><p>&quot;I believe that people should be able to smoke,&quot; Willis said. &quot;If they pay rent there, they should be able to smoke where they want to smoke.&quot;</p><p>Public housing tenants typically pay around 30 percent of their income, whatever it is, in rent. The rest is subsidized. The HUD proposal has led some residents, including Willis, to question how it would be enforced.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s gonna be kind of hard,&quot; Willis said. &quot;Not unless they&#39;re gonna have security guards standing at people&#39;s apartments sniffing out smoke. I don&#39;t understand how it&#39;s gonna work.&quot;&nbsp;</p><p>New York City has the largest public housing authority in the United States. Around 400,000 residents live in public housing developments.&nbsp;</p><p>Alfred Woods, also a smoker, said he worries what will happen to public housing residents who can&#39;t quit.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s gonna be unfortunate for low-income people and poor people who smoke, to be evicted over smoking in the apartment,&quot; Woods said. &quot;Which is going to cause a great&nbsp;dilemma&nbsp;for living&nbsp;situations.&quot;</p><p>Sunia&nbsp;Zaterman is the executive director of the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities, a non-profit that represents 70 of the largest housing authorities in the country. She said the goal of the ban would be to reduce smoking, not to evict smokers and it would start with education, not punishment.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;We do have a number of housing authorities that have experience in undertaking these kinds of policies and implementing them,&quot; Zaterman said.</p><p>For its part, HUD said residents&#39; concerns are, in part, exactly why it has opened the proposed ban up to a period of public comment.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.marketplace.org/2015/12/15/wealth-poverty/public-smoking-ban-public-housing" target="_blank"><em> via Marketplace</em></a></p></p> Mon, 11 Jan 2016 12:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/marketplace/2016-01-11/government-proposing-smoking-ban-public-housing-114441 Federal government wants to ban smoking in public housing http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-11-12/federal-government-wants-ban-smoking-public-housing-113761 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/4170136164_b650ccca9a_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="attachment_96032"><img alt="(Kristaps Bergfelds/Flickr)" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/11/files/2015/11/1112_smoking-ban-public-housing-flickr-624x416.jpg" title="The proposed ban on smoking in public housing would affect nearly 1 million households. (Kristaps Bergfelds/Flickr)" /><p>The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today that it wants to ban smoking in public housing across the country, including in people&rsquo;s apartments. If adopted, the new rule would affect nearly a million households.</p></div><p><a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/11/12/public-housing-smoking-ban" target="_blank"><em>Here &amp; Now&lsquo;s</em></a> Jeremy Hobson talks with&nbsp;Lourdes Castro Ramirez, principal deputy assistant secretary for the&nbsp;<a href="http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/programdescription/pih" target="_blank">Office of Public and Indian Housing</a>&nbsp;at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, about why HUD is proposing the ban, and how it would be enforced.</p></p> Thu, 12 Nov 2015 14:59:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-11-12/federal-government-wants-ban-smoking-public-housing-113761 Affordable housing appeals board: 'We just sit and stare at each other' http://www.wbez.org/news/affordable-housing-appeals-board-we-just-sit-and-stare-each-other-113691 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/affordablehousinglaw_151109_nm.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>More than six years after it was created, a state board designed to prod municipalities into building affordable housing has yet to hear one case.</p><p>The Illinois Housing Appeals Board was established in 2009 as part of the Illinois Housing Planning and Appeal Act (2003). That law required cities with less than 10 percent affordable housing to turn in affordable housing plans to the state.</p><p>Yet many towns flout that requirement without penalty. Under the law, if a municipality rejects an affordable housing proposal, the developer could plead to the Housing Appeals Board.</p><p>&ldquo;By statute we meet at least four times a year. But for example we had a meeting set for a couple of weeks from now and I canceled it because bringing people from all over, we just sit and stare at each other,&rdquo; said Warren Wolfson, a retired judge turned law professor, who&rsquo;s the board chair.&nbsp; &ldquo;It&rsquo;s nice to see them but we don&rsquo;t get anything done so it&rsquo;s a waste of their time and expense money,&rdquo;</p><p>The unpaid bipartisan board formed in 2008 but was never fully appointed by the governor until 2012. Members include a developer, zoning expert and affordable housing advocate.</p><p>Wolfson said the main reason there&rsquo;ve been no cases is because suburbs and towns often invoke &ldquo;home rule&rdquo; &mdash; the right to self-govern without state intervention.</p><p>Even if the appeals board did get a case and ruled in a developer&rsquo;s favor, Wolfson doubts the judgment would stick.</p><p>&ldquo;I&#39;m not sure we have the power to enforce our subpoenas or our decisions should we ever reach that stage, which doesn&rsquo;t look like we&rsquo;re going to do,&rdquo; Wolfson said. He said the law would have to be changed, allowing the Illinois attorney general to enforce a decision.</p><p>Many cities that resist building housing for working and low-income families are affluent suburbs just outside Chicago. Last month a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/despite-mandate-affluent-suburbs-fail-build-affordable-housing-113274" target="_blank">WBEZ analysis of Low Income Housing Tax Credits</a> found that affordable housing tends to be clustered in areas with higher rates of poverty and racial segregation.</p><p>Between towns invoking home rule and an appeals board with no teeth, many question whether the law is working.</p><p>&ldquo;If you&rsquo;re a cynic, you would say they&rsquo;re really not serious about it. It&rsquo;s a good policy and in the final analysis, the failure to have enforcement procedures and to resolve the home rule issue indicates it&rsquo;s more cosmetic than real,&rdquo; Wolfson said.</p><p>Jeff Leslie, director of the Housing Initiative Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School, has another theory as to why developers aren&rsquo;t taking their cases to the appeals board.</p><p>&ldquo;I would start with the extreme reluctance of developers to sue the municipality over these kind of decisions to begin with. Most developers are repeat players and they&rsquo;re looking to do repeat transactions in these jurisdictions. And to bite the hand that feeds you by suing them over a rejection is a big step for a developer to take,&rdquo; Leslie said.</p><p>But that wasn&rsquo;t developer Jessica Berzac&rsquo;s reason.</p><p>A couple of years ago her company wanted to build a 50-unit project in suburban Wheeling for people with various disabilities. Many nearby residents objected. Berzac sued the village under the federal Fair Housing Act, bypassing the state appeals board altogether.</p><p>&ldquo;The violation we felt there was a clear fair housing violation not necessarily a zoning-related violation because they weren&rsquo;t necessarily saying multi-family couldn&rsquo;t exist. Multi-family with services couldn&rsquo;t exist,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>A settlement was reached in federal court, and now the project is underway.</p><p>Leslie said Illinois can do more to strengthen the appeals board, which he believes was created with vague language. He points to other states like Connecticut and Massachusetts where the burden is more on municipalities.</p><p>&ldquo;What it would mean is the local jurisdiction would have to make its case on the record for why this particular application was rejected,&rdquo;&nbsp; Leslie said. &ldquo;If they don&rsquo;t pass the smell test, it&rsquo;ll be easier for developers to present the case and easier for the board to conclude that there really wasn&rsquo;t anything behind this decision other than animus toward affordable housing.&rdquo;</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/nmoore-0" rel="author">Natalie Moore</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s South Side Bureau reporter. <a href="mailto:nmoore@wbez.org">nmoore@wbez.org</a> Follow Natalie on <a href="https://plus.google.com//104033432051539426343" rel="me">Google+</a>, &nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/natalieymoore">Twitter.</a></em></p></p> Fri, 06 Nov 2015 18:11:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/affordable-housing-appeals-board-we-just-sit-and-stare-each-other-113691 The vast inequality of rental inflation http://www.wbez.org/programs/marketplace/2015-11-06/vast-inequality-rental-inflation-113670 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/GettyImages-177157869.jpg" alt="" /><p><div><div id="file-294582"><img alt="" id="1" src="http://www.marketplace.org/sites/default/files/styles/primary-image-766x447/public/GettyImages-177157869.jpg?itok=Vi1NOweg" style="height: 362px; width: 620px;" title="An apartment building stands as seen from the Manhattan Bridge in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)" typeof="foaf:Image" /><div><div>Rent increases are something the average renter needs like a hole in the head. But according to&nbsp;<a href="http://libertystreeteconomics.newyorkfed.org/2015/11/differences-in-rent-inflation-by-cost-of-housing.html#.Vju36tKrS00">analysis</a>&nbsp;released by the New York Federal reserve, it looks like rent increases have been highest for those least able to pay. &nbsp;&nbsp;</div></div></div></div><div><div id="story-content"><p>For the highest rents in the U.S., rents didn&rsquo;t change much between 2011 and 2013.</p><p>For units with the lowest rents in the U.S. &ndash; places where the poorest Americans live &ndash; average rent inflation was 15.9 percent per year.&nbsp;</p><p>This divide has existed in some way for decades, the NY Fed&rsquo;s data show.</p><p>As with all data, there are many ways to slice it. The most frequently reported rent increase at the top was 1.24 percent, the most frequently reported rent increase at the bottom was three times that, 3.56 percent.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not surprising,&rdquo; said Paul Habibi, lecturer of real estate UCLA. Low rent units don&rsquo;t make much money, he said, &ldquo;so in less affluent communities the rents don&rsquo;t support the cost of new construction.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>Developers build where they can turn a profit. That increases supply, and keeps rents from rising as much. In communities where rents are low, it&#39;s the opposite.&nbsp;</p><p>That parallels the view of economists at the NY Fed, who point out that the source of supply for higher rent units is new construction, whereas the supply of lower-rent units tends to be older, depreciated units.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;For the highest-income quintile,&rdquo; they write, &ldquo;new construction (10.8 million units) is about 2&frac12; times the net increase in housing units (4.3 million units) [between 1989 and 2013]. As one moves down the income distribution, new construction represents a declining share of the net increase in housing units.&rdquo;</p><p>Susan Wachter, professor of real estate at the Wharton School, argues there are additional factors.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;What we&rsquo;ve seen since 2004 is no increase in homeowners,&rdquo; she said, whereas the number of renters has increased by the millions. The lower the income level, the harder it&rsquo;s become to own a home, the more people opt for renting. &nbsp;&ldquo;And that is driving the demand side of this equation,&rdquo; said Wachter. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;Over the time period we&rsquo;re looking at, land prices have gone up and so the land component will be a bigger share of what you pay in rent,&rdquo;&nbsp;said&nbsp;Chris Mayer, professor of real estate at Columbia. For low rent units, land prices already figure prominently in the cost of rent, impacting renters there more. &ldquo;One of the things we&rsquo;ve seen is in places like New York and Boston, low income people have in particular seen their share of income in rent grow a lot,&rdquo; said Mayer, &ldquo;so that&rsquo;s consistent with the idea that in some of these coastal markets where we&rsquo;ve seen sharp increases in real estate and in land prices, that also disproportionately burdens low income renters.&rdquo;</p><p>The NY Fed&rsquo;s numbers, he said, emphasize something many people already know: &ldquo;There&rsquo;s this group of people in this country who are facing really significant challenges, and this study adds to the evidence. &ldquo;</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.marketplace.org/topics/wealth-poverty/vast-inequality-rental-inflation" target="_blank"><em> via Marketplace</em></a></p></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 06 Nov 2015 10:02:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/marketplace/2015-11-06/vast-inequality-rental-inflation-113670 Study: On AirBnB, Asian-American hosts earn less than white ones http://www.wbez.org/news/study-airbnb-asian-american-hosts-earn-less-white-ones-113643 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/6072576166_7aacce14e7_o-dae27e5cfa47102686b584cf90e7159fd6563bd4-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res454582995" previewtitle="Asian American hosts earn about 20% less than white hosts on AirBnB."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Asian American hosts earn about 20% less than white hosts on AirBnB." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/04/6072576166_7aacce14e7_o-dae27e5cfa47102686b584cf90e7159fd6563bd4-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="Asian American hosts earn about 20% less than white hosts on AirBnB. (Chelsea Marie Hicks/Flickr)" /></div><div><div><p>In 2012, Harvard Business professors Benjamin Edelman and Michael Luca launched a study to look at whether black hosts on AirBnB earned less than their non-black counterparts. Edelman and Luca examined the pricing strategy of all AirBnB hosts in New York City and found that,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Publication%20Files/14-054_e3c04a43-c0cf-4ed8-91bf-cb0ea4ba59c6.pdf">on average, non-black hosts charged 12 percent more than black ones</a>.</p></div></div></div><p>&quot;These differences highlight the risk of discrimination in online marketplaces, suggesting an important unintended consequence of a seemingly-routine mechanism for building trust,&quot; they wrote.</p><p>Earlier this year, some students at Harvard, David Wang, Stephen Xi, and John Gilheany, picked up Edelman and Luca&#39;s study and wondered whether there would be a price disparity for Asian-American hosts. &quot;There&#39;s been a lot of studies on African Americans and how they&#39;ve been discriminated, especially in the marketplace, but not much has been done on Asian Americans,&quot; says Gilheany.</p><p>The resulting study,&nbsp;<a href="http://techscience.org/downloadpdf.php?paper=2015090104">published in the Harvard-affiliated&nbsp;<em>Journal of </em><em>Technology</em></a>, analyzed 101 AirBnB hosts in Berkeley and Oakland and found that, on average, Asian hosts earned 20 percent less per week than white hosts, usually around $90.</p><div id="res454241944"><aside aria-label="pullquote" role="complementary"><div><blockquote><p><em>No matter how respectable you may be acting, your performance isn&#39;t undoing the very real systematic ways in which our world operates. - Zach Stafford, The Guardian</em></p></blockquote></div></aside></div><p>The researchers scraped data from a neighborhood on the border of Berkeley and Oakland, California &mdash; picked for its socioeconomic and racial diversity &mdash; and adjusted to account for rental type and occupancy. They also categorized hosts as Asian or white based on profile pictures. (Pictures that didn&#39;t clearly indicate whether the host was Asian or not were eliminated). They then created an equation to estimate the difference in room prices between white hosts and Asian hosts, and ran the numbers.</p><p>Their model predicted that Asian-Americans, on average, earn $89.72 less per week than their white counterparts for a bare minimum setup of a one-bedroom rental for occupancy of one person. If the rental were for two bedrooms for one person, their model predicted that the difference would be even greater, with Asian-Americans making on average $144.45 less per week than white hosts.</p><p>There may be many different explanations for this, said Wang, including the fact that Asian Americans lower their prices to compensate for an inherent discrimination against Asians. &quot;It&#39;s interesting to see this extreme difference, especially in a peer-to-peer network,&quot; Wang said.</p><p>Ellen Wu, associate professor of Asian American studies and history at Indiana University, says that this study might also point to historical issues of discrimination. Americans have a long history of valuing Asian labor more cheaply than white labor, she says. &quot;Consumers come to expect paying Asian people less,&quot; Wu says. &quot;We&#39;ve come to expect cheaply priced products in places manufactured in places in China.&quot; She points to the &quot;cheapness&quot; of Chinese restaurants as an example.</p><p>I contacted several of the Asian AirBnB hosts used in the study and asked them if they felt like race played a factor in the way they priced their rooms. Almost everyone who got back to me said that they didn&#39;t feel like that was the case. One host wrote, &quot;Please don&#39;t quote me in the story, I never talk about race.&quot; But Luca, one of the professors who conducted the study on black AirBnB hosts in New York City, says to take that with a grain of salt.</p><p>Oftentimes people who are discriminated against don&#39;t have anything to compare it to, he says. &quot;They only have one data set&mdash;themselves. Also, many people don&#39;t fully understand the role that subconscious discrimination plays in decision-making.&quot;</p><p>This most recent study suggests that no matter how much a minority appears to have assimilated into the mainstream white culture, they are not necessarily treated as equals. Asian Americans have spent years cultivating an image of respectability, going all the way back to post-World War II. At the time, in an effort to quell xenophobia, groups like the Japanese American Citizens League&nbsp;<a href="https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/07/chua-changelab-nakagawa-model-minority/">encouraged members to act like model American citizens</a>&nbsp;and engaged in marketing campaigns to extol the virtues of Asian values. Since then, Asian Americans have successfully cultivated an image of the &quot;model minority.&quot;</p><p>However, studies like this one suggest that &quot;respectability&quot; isn&#39;t a solution to discrimination &mdash; it merely hides it. As Guardian writer Zach Stafford&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/oct/12/respectability-politics-wont-save-black-americans">wrote</a>&nbsp;in the wake of Ferguson, &quot;No matter how respectable you may be acting, your performance isn&#39;t undoing the very real systematic ways in which our world operates.&quot;</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2015/11/04/454052270/study-on-airbnb-asian-american-hosts-earn-less-than-white-ones?ft=nprml&amp;f=" target="_blank"><em>via NPR&#39;s Code Switch</em></a></p></p> Wed, 04 Nov 2015 15:36:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/study-airbnb-asian-american-hosts-earn-less-white-ones-113643 Sanctuary, not just shelter: A new type of housing for the homeless http://www.wbez.org/news/sanctuary-not-just-shelter-new-type-housing-homeless-113639 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/rendering of conway.jpeg" alt="" /><p><div id="res446683709"><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="A rendering of the John and Jill Ker Conway Residence in Washington, D.C." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/07/johnandjillkerconwayresidence.jpg_custom-0c8712d1480361058117072aab9411e87fbb4d83-s800-c85.jpeg" style="height: 412px; width: 620px;" title="A rendering of the John and Jill Ker Conway Residence in Washington, D.C. (Courtesy of Community Solutions)" /></div><div><div><p>Ending homelessness isn&#39;t just about finding a home. Sometimes, it&#39;s about finding a&nbsp;<em>nice&nbsp;</em>home &mdash; a place that&#39;s bright, modern and healthy to live in. That&#39;s the idea fueling the development of a number of buildings around the country, as communities try to move chronically homeless people off the streets.</p></div></div></div><p>In downtown Washington, D.C., one of those buildings is currently going up right beside NPR&#39;s headquarters. Still under construction, the structure looks a little like four huge blocks, stacked atop each other and slightly askew. At 14 stories high, it will have a striking view of the U.S. Capitol and the Washington Monument when it&#39;s finished.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s going to be definitively an inspiring place for the folks that are in it and for this neighborhood as well,&quot; says Nadine Maleh, executive director of the&nbsp;<a href="http://instituteforpublicarchitecture.org/">Institute for Public Architecture</a>. Until recently, she was the director of inspiring places at the nonprofit<a href="https://cmtysolutions.org/">Community Solutions</a>, one of the groups behind the project.</p><p>&quot;The front of the building will be predominately glass,&quot; Maleh adds, explaining that it&#39;s designed to let in as much natural light as possible.</p><p>The building will provide permanent housing for 60 homeless veterans and 64 other low-income adults, beginning early next year. Each resident will pay about a third of their income in rent for an efficiency apartment. The building will also have a big, open lobby with a concierge desk, much like many of the other new apartment buildings in the area.</p><div id="res446683840"><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="A view of construction underway, showing what will eventually be open community space at the John and Jil Ker Conway Residence." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/07/luxury-affordable-housing-on-site-jtsuboike-0023edit_custom-2c2a80f516df4950d1fdcb26b990b1dc93d94314-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 412px; width: 620px;" title="A view of construction underway, showing what will eventually be open community space at the John and Jil Ker Conway Residence. (Jun Tsuboike/NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>&quot;And then we have a lot of really wonderful building amenities which serve to promote community within the building. So there&#39;s a computer room. There&#39;s a gym,&quot; Maleh says.</p></div></div></div><p>Out back there will be a patio, and inside, a room for residents to keep their bikes. Social services, like job counseling and health care referrals, will be offered through an office in-house. There are also plans to build a restaurant or cafe on the ground floor, to help attract others in the community who might be wary about having such a facility in the neighborhood.</p><p>Maleh says that&#39;s the whole idea behind this place: that people who have the kinds of mental health and other issues that made them homeless in the first place will do better &mdash; even thrive &mdash; when they live somewhere they feel calm, comfortable and part of a community.</p><p><strong>A &#39;Sanctuary&#39; In The City Of Angels</strong></p><p>For a good example of what this kind of affordable housing can do, just talk to Emily Martiniuk in northern Los Angeles.</p><p>Martiniuk, 63, lives in the Palo Verde Apartments, a bright, stylish facility with a lot of the same amenities that will be offered at the D.C. building: community rooms, a computer lab, patios and a beautiful tree-lined courtyard. She lives in one of the facility&#39;s 60 units, on the second floor.</p><div id="res446684681"><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="A view of a courtyard at the Palo Verde Apartments in Los Angeles." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/07/2012-palo-verde-edit_custom-ba2937ec04c26b3bd3af711d1097d9d9ac5a595e-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 400px; width: 620px;" title="A view of a courtyard at the Palo Verde Apartments in Los Angeles. (Courtesy of LA Family Housing)" /></div><div><blockquote><p><em>&quot;This is the dream apartment,&quot; she says. &quot;I don&#39;t call it my room. Other people call it their room. This is my apartment.&quot; -&nbsp;Emily Martiniuk, a tenant at Palo Verde Apartments</em></p></blockquote></div></div><p>She&#39;s lived in the building for three years, decorating and redecorating the space with posters, plants and little trinkets.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s hunt and pick, because I am low-income,&quot; she says with a laugh.</p><div id="res446602511"><aside><div><p>This is the dream apartment. I don&#39;t call it my room. Other people call it their room. This is my apartment.</p></div><p>Emily Martiniuk, a tenant at Palo Verde Apartments</p></aside></div><p>For most of her life, Martiniuk eked out a living driving buses, working as a telemarketer and even owning a small notary business. Then things started to slide: One of her adult sons died, then the economy crumpled &mdash; and with it, her business.</p><p>&quot;It was like a slow divorce,&quot; she says.</p><p>Without work, she was no longer able to make ends meet, eventually ending up in a homeless shelter. Her mental health deteriorated, and she was institutionalized for six weeks.</p><p>Then, she got the opportunity to move to the Palo Verde Apartments &mdash; which is when everything changed, she says.</p><p>&quot;I have a mental health issue. The condition of my home is the condition of my mind.&quot;</p><p>That&#39;s why it&#39;s so important for her mental health and well-being to have this neat apartment as a &quot;sanctuary,&quot; as she calls it.</p><p><strong>Obstacles On A Long Journey</strong></p><p>There are questions about the cost of these projects, though. The Palo Verde Apartments cost about $16 million, says Stephanie Klasky-Gamer, president and CEO of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.lafh.org/">LA Family Housing</a>, the nonprofit that owns and operates the facility. And she&#39;s quick to add that the $16 million price tag is more expensive than the typical permanent supportive housing facility &mdash; but that&#39;s intentional.</p><p>&quot;Another developer most likely would have built this [facility] with much higher density,&quot; Klasky-Gamer says. &quot;But we elected to have this kind of courtyard. We elected to have little patios and little convening spaces.&quot;</p><div id="res446602222"><div>&nbsp;</div></div><div id="res446602203"><div><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/most-housing-voucher-waiting-lists-illinois-closed-113626" target="_blank"><strong>RELATED: The difficulties of finding affordable housing</strong></a></div></div><p>They elected to do that, she says, because it lets them better serve the people they do house here. It&#39;s quality over quantity.</p><p>The same idea drives the Washington, D.C., project, which will cost about $33 million to develop. But Klasky-Gamer, Maleh and others insist that it&#39;s cheaper to build facilities such as these than it is to deal with the many problems people have living on the street, like repeatedly going to the emergency room. And that&#39;s why cities and nonprofits have been putting up similar buildings in places such as New York, New Orleans and San Diego.</p><p>Still, such facilities are addressing only a fraction of the problem. On any given night, there are about 600,000 homeless people living in the U.S. About 44,000 of them live in LA County alone.</p><p>&mdash;<em><a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/11/04/446584456/in-quest-to-end-homelessness-some-developers-are-going-high-end?ft=nprml&amp;f=446584456"> via NPR</a></em></p></p> Wed, 04 Nov 2015 14:02:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/sanctuary-not-just-shelter-new-type-housing-homeless-113639