Category: Housing

Screaming for Housing Demolition

In a country that cannot adequately house all of its citizens, both government and private-sector actors will bulldoze more than two million homes in the time before us. Implemented on a vast scale already thanks to dollars from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), the pace of demolition will quicken as the winter months recede. It

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President’s Housing Proposal Would Help Cities, But Congress Unlikely to Cooperate

In the State of the Union President Obama announced the Administration’s latest proposal to help struggling homeowners lower mortgage payments; and help neighborhoods hard hit by vacant and abandoned housing.  Unlike existing programs that target assistance to homeowners at high risk of foreclosure, the new proposal is aimed directly at middle class homeowners who may

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The Goal is Diverse Housing Choices

Housing has always been complicated; it’s just that most folks never really noticed until the decades-old pattern of increasing home construction and increasing home values came to a blinding, crashing halt. Now the complexity is abundantly apparent – rent or own, access to credit, overleveraged mortgage loans, accurate risk underwriting, affordability, proximity to employment, patterns

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Building Affordable Housing is Risky Business

Please note: This post is a collaboration between James Brooks and Michael Wallace at NLC.  For the past two days, The Washington Post has lambasted the Department of Housing and Urban Development and local housing authorities and community development corporations for failing to adequately manage programs that build or rehabilitate affordable housing. There is a

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Which Comes First: the Neighbors or the Neighborhood?

The stretch of land has all the attributes to warm the cockles of a city planner’s heart. Bordering the west side is a major sports venue and the nescient development that often accompanies such a facility. At the eastern edge is a moderate density mixed-use federal government property having a significant historical presence and value.

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We All Might Want to Walk to Breakfast

I’m supposed to want a rambling four bedroom colonial with a two-car garage on a cul-de-sac, given my demographics of age, marital status and educational achievement. Big surprise: that’s not what I want. Seriously, who actually wants to get in the car every time there is a need for a loaf of bread, a light

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An Essential Role for Fannie and Freddie

For all the talk about reform of the mortgage finance system, the anticipated changes to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are likely to be rather modest. In the run-up to Secretary Geithner’s end-of-January deadline to offer a proposal to Congress, only two options are under serious consideration to support the goal of ensuring long-term liquidity

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Housing Needs for the Next Decade

For local policy makers anticipating the economic landscape in the post-recession and post-foreclosure period, there are three factors that will influence decisions about new housing development – the number of homeless families; the slowdown in household formation; and the severe cost burden that so many face for housing. The combination of these factors means that

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Ode to Judges

Judges hold a special place in the American legal system. One might argue that they are in fact iconic, even if they don’t wear the traditional wigs of our British forbearers. Although more people have probably heard of Judge Wapner and Judge Judy than have heard of Judge Isaac C. Parker – the real “hanging

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Vacant Properties Compound the Forclosure Disaster

You don’t have to be a policy researcher to know intuitively that mortgage foreclosures and vacant and abandoned properties are a serious threat to the well-being of a neighborhood.  An increase in foreclosed properties in any neighborhood, especially a high concentration of properties in one neighborhood, creates an oversupply of housing stock (including low value

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