It’s a new year, but unfortunately most of the same housing problems will follow us from 2015. In our first post of 2016, we highlight some innovative ways some are trying to address the shortage of affordable housing in Lexington, as well as what has been happening fair-housing wise across the country in the past couple of weeks. Happy New Year, and thanks for reading!

  • The North Limestone Community Development Corp. has collaborated with ReContainer, another Lexington-based organization, to establish the first home in Lexington to be built from repurposed shipping containers. Using two 8,490-pound containers, the home is one of six new affordable homes that developers plan to build on York Street, which is part of the North Limestone corridor. While developers say the homes will be priced between $70,000 and $80,000, which is still on the low end of house prices for Lexington, that price tag is also close to twice the value of actual houses that were purchased in 2015 in the Highlawn Neighborhood, less than a mile north of York Street. [Herald-Leader]
  • The patchwork of fairness ordinances expanded again this week as Oklahoma City updated its housing discrimination ordinance to now include gender identity and sexual orientation. According to a report published last November from the Washington Post, Oklahoma City “was among eight major cities with little or no protection from discrimination for gay and transgender residents.” In addition to the addition of gender identity and sexual orientation, the ordinance also added age to the list of protected classes. [The Oklahoman]
  • Kent State University has agreed to pay $145,000 to settle a housing discrimination lawsuit stemming from a claim that students were not able to keep emotional support animals in university housing. In 2014, Kent State denied a student’s reasonable accommodation request to keep her emotional support animal in the apartment she lived in, which was a part of Kent State’s student housing. Going forward, the university has agreed to update its housing policies in order to honor similar reasonable accommodation requests in the future. [DOJ]
  • Last summer, Dallas was making fair housing headlines after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the claim made by the Inclusive Communities Project that the Texas Department of Housing had committed housing discrimination by way of disparate impact. The Texas Tribune has a follow-up on the ongoing work that Inclusive Communities continues to do post-SCOTUS decision. The work that Inclusive Communities is doing highlights the difficulty of trying to promote less segregated communities with data as your primary tool. And while that may be more of a long game, ICP says that the biggest problem they encounter is the same problem in virtually every city: landlords refusing to accept housing vouchers.
    [SCOTUSblog, Texas Tribune]
  • A new study from UCLA argues that strict land use regulations, or zoning laws, contribute to economic segregation in cities. Richard Florida, writing at CityLab, details four key takeaways from the new study. [Taylor & Francis, CityLab]
  • (Photo by photohome_uk. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Creative Commons.)