This week’s roundup of fair housing news and goings-on is less contiguous and more an archipelago of stories that are going to (hopefully) get you to rethink some of the things you think you know about the world. Some of these things may not even seem directly related with fair housing, but trust us, it’s all relevant.
Fair housing is a complex issue that overlaps with racial justice, voting rights, class structures, and more. But have you ever considered the intersection of fair housing and environmentalism? Most of us are probably familiar with environmentalist causes to save ice caps and whales, but one ecological disaster happening in cities across the United States is the oft-overlooked pollution that is contributing to shorter lives of people of color living these cities. “White environmentalist[s] talk about saving the rainforests,” says civil rights attorney Bryan K. Bullock, “but no mention is ever made of saving the lives of those who dwell in America’s concrete jungles.” Environmentalism and fair housing may not seem like the most compatible social justice issues, but the right to live in a place that doesn’t lead to a sooner death is most definitely a fair housing issue. [The Root, Black Agenda Report]
Abandoned housing in Louisville, KY, has created a lot more problems that just really unseemly eye sores in an otherwise aesthetically pleasant neighborhood. According to WFPL, the total bill for property maintenance fines related to these abandoned properties in the city is $42 million. While that’s a lot of money Louisville would surely not turn away, Jeana Dunlap, the director of Louisville’s Vacant and Abandoned Properties Division, would actually prefer that the city gain control over the properties themselves than to collect on those fines. “It’s more important to us to have site control than it is for us to expect to get paid,” she said. [WFPL]
Ever notice how newer homes built in subdivisions don’t usually have front porches? It’s not just for that reason that they appear unwelcoming, according to a new report released by City Observer. Merely 1 in 5 people surveyed said they regularly interacted with their neighbors, and a paltry 1 in 3 said they have never interacted with their neighbors. If most of us aren’t actually interested in our neighbors, you’d think something like segregation would naturally fade away. But alas. [CityLab]
An article published this week in the Washington Post may challenge any preconceptions you have about which people are taking advantage of or “abusing” social welfare programs such as subsidized housing in the United States. Spoiler alert: it’s not poor people. A report released by the Office of the Inspector General found 25,000 cases of “‘over income’ families earning more than the maximum income for government-subsidized housing.” While a majority of the households in the report only earned between $1 and $10,000 of the max income, nearly 1,400 of these families were earning an excess of at least $50,000 more than that income maximum.
New York city officials are planning to require developers who are filling the city with luxury condos to “incorporate into their projects a substantial number of affordable units.” Emily Badger, writing for Wonkblog over at the Washington Post, talks to Carl Weisbrod, the director of New York’s Department of City Planning, about the city’s ambitious affordable housing effort.
(Photo: “Houses and factories,” from the Library of Congress.)