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Housing policy: noble intentions, but improvements needed

The new policy expands housing possibilities, but falls short of addressing some fundamental issues

After staying long in the making, the first Tamil Nadu Affordable Urban Housing and Habitat Policy has been finally notified and it has been in the public realm for a few weeks now. Coming as it does, at a time when housing prices are steeply increasing, and owning or renting a house is possible only in far peripheries, the policy is a significant step. It has noble intentions and expands housing possibilities, including transit and rental housing for migrant workers. While this is a plus, in the absence of any reliable stock-taking, a clear statement of the problem and reassuring solutions, there are serious questions about the policy’s effectiveness.

Avowed objectives of the policy are three — first, the government will henceforth provide housing only for the very poor and ease its financial burden; second, it will nudge the private sector to provide affordable housing for the low and middle-income groups, particularly rental units; and third, using a shelter fund as a critical financial tool, it will support private developers to provide affordable housing and create a viable market for them. The policy rightly identifies that, besides building units, affordable housing, economically, requires the provision of social amenities, built sustainably and designed for climate resilience.

The ideas appear significant, but the problem is that they flounder on the fundamentals. A policy on affordable housing would usually first define affordability, estimate the demand and supply, work out the shortage, and spell out strategies to bridge them. However, the Tamil Nadu policy fails on this count. In the absence of a factual basis, a quantification of the problem and empirical measures to review the policy outcomes, good intentions could remain mere platitudes.

The fundamentals

Housing studies show that

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Gov. Cuomo falsely claims New York nursing homes ‘never needed’ to take in Covid-positive patients

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo argued that nursing homes “never needed” to accept Covid-positive patients from hospitals in the state.



Andrew Cuomo wearing a suit and tie: NEW YORK, NY - JULY 23: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during the daily media briefing at the Office of the Governor of the State of New York on July 23, 2020 in New York City. The Governor said the state liquor authority has suspended 27 bar and restaurant alcohol licenses for violations of social distancing rules as public officials try to keep the coronavirus outbreak under control. (Photo by Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)


© Jeenah Moon/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY – JULY 23: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during the daily media briefing at the Office of the Governor of the State of New York on July 23, 2020 in New York City. The Governor said the state liquor authority has suspended 27 bar and restaurant alcohol licenses for violations of social distancing rules as public officials try to keep the coronavirus outbreak under control. (Photo by Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)

During a press call Wednesday, Finger Lakes News Radio asked Cuomo about his administration’s advisory in late March requiring that nursing homes accept the readmission of patients from hospitals, even if they were positive for Covid-19.

Cuomo argued that the advisory was a precaution if hospitals became overwhelmed — calling it an “anticipatory rule” — which he said didn’t happen.

“We never needed nursing home beds because we always had hospital beds,” Cuomo told Finger Lakes News. “So it just never happened in New York where we needed to say to a nursing home, ‘We need you to take this person even though they’re Covid-positive.’ It never happened.”

Facts First: Cuomo’s assertion that “it never happened” is false. According to a report from the New York State Department of Health, “6,326 COVID-positive residents were admitted to [nursing home] facilities” following Cuomo’s mandate that nursing homes accept the readmission of Covid-positive patients from hospitals. Whether or not this was “needed,” it did in fact happen.

On March 25, the state’s Health Department issued an advisory requiring nursing homes to accept “the expedited receipt of residents returning from hospitals” if the patients were deemed medically stable.

“No resident shall be

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Much needed improvements coming to Highway 501 and East Cox Ferry Road

CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) – Improvements are finally coming to one of the most dangerous intersections in Horry County.



the inside of a building: SCDOT is working on improvements to one of the most dangerous intersections in the county.


© Provided by Myrtle Beach-Florence WMBF-TV
SCDOT is working on improvements to one of the most dangerous intersections in the county.

Between backed up traffic down Highway 501, to last-minute lane changes before a confusing intersection, Highway 501 and East Cox Ferry Road in Conway can be an everyday headache for Horry County drivers.

But it’s not just a headache. It can be deadly.

Officials with the South Carolina Department of Public Safety said in 2017, 2018, and 2019, throughout each year, there were over 100 accidents at the intersection. In 2019, a person was killed.

But the DOT said upgrades are coming.

“So anytime we look at improving intersections we look at a lot of these same type of corrective measures. As far as offsetting left-turn lanes, adding additional turn lanes,” Project Manager Stacey Johnson said.

He added there are multiple measures the department looks at when it comes to how to make this intersection safer.

“So the left turn lane, we offset it. One, it improves sight distance, so it allows anyone taking that left, to better see the oncoming traffic. And two, it allows for a shorter crossover distance to get onto West Cox Ferry,” he said.

DOT is also adding improved signs, reminding drivers not to turn right on red and to wait for the green arrow to turn left.

Just recently crews switched out the traffic lights at the intersection as part of the project.

And as part of the Ride III project, Highway 501 northbound and southbound from Gardner Lacy to Highway 544 will be expanded to three lanes rather than just two.

But Johnson said while there’s still a long road ahead, drivers should look

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