Housing

Housing advocates: New Orleans agencies failing in push for affordable homes | Coronavirus

Amid a pandemic that has deepened economic hardships for thousands of New Orleanians, city leaders have come up short in their goals to build affordable housing, according to a new report from affordable-housing advocates.

Advocacy group HousingNOLA gave the city’s progress toward creating 7,500 affordable housing opportunities in 2020 a failing grade in a report out this week, saying the various agencies working on that problem have so far created only about 1,500 affordable homes. 



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It’s the worst grade the group has assigned to public agencies charged with creating affordable housing since it began tracking government progress to relieve housing insecurity in New Orleans five years ago. Last year, the group awarded the agencies a D grade. 

“This is not simply a COVID grade,” HousingNOLA Executive Director Andreanecia Morris said. Instead, the COVID-19 crisis and related economic restrictions have exacerbated the housing problems the city has long had, she said.

To improve that outlook, Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s administration should move forward by January with incentive programs that encourage developers to build low-cost housing in high-income neighborhoods, the group said.



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The city should also earmark more funds for vulnerable populations in need of housing, such as essential workers earning minimum wage. And state lawmakers should authorize rental assistance payments for landlords, so tenants continue to be housed even if they have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 and cannot afford to pay rent, the group said.

City officials did not respond to a request for comment on the report. But

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Mighty Buildings’ 3D-Printed Homes Points To The Future Of Sustainable Housing

There is a problem with housing in this country. From decades of bad public housing policy to retrofitting the suburbs for sustainability to near consistent affordable housing shortages, we have to start looking at more innovative housing solutions. Not looking to solve all that, but certainly falling somewhere within the mix is Mighty Buildings, an Oakland based company 3D-printing generally affordable homes. All you have to do is find a place to put them.

Which, isn’t too far fetched a concept. People are building apartments in their backyards and from a luxury standpoint, offices or extra rooms in the backyard. Like container homes, 3D printed homes seek to offer a generally affordable alternative to a small, sustainable home created in a non-traditional manner. 3D-printed homes are not a new concept but have mostly been stuck in the conceptual phase until recently.

Mighty Buildings built a 79,000 square foot facility and received approval under the California Factory Built Housing program as well the first UL certification under the new standard for 3D printed construction. It can create 3D-printed homes quicker and more efficiently (it’s literally a giant 3D-printer that prints homes) and sells its output for $115,000 for a studio at the low end to $285,000 for a 3b/2ba. If you live in an inflated housing market (anywhere in California for instance) then you can see the cost benefit immediately.

The innovative part here is not necessarily the methodology of 3D-printing a home instead of cutting up a series of shipping containers to make a container home, but it’s that Mighty Buildings literally developed a new composite material to build its homes, making them more energy efficient and structurally sound.

The new composite solves general issues with the existing 3D process that still involves concrete

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August Home Sales Soar to a Record High: 5 Top Housing Picks

The U.S. housing sector is on a roll, with an increasing number of Americans leveraging on the record-low mortgage rates. The latest pending home sales data for August reached the highest level on record as more Americans signed contracts to buy homes in the month, suggesting that the hot U.S. housing market will maintain the strong spell well into fall.

All-Time High Pending Home Sales

The National Association of Realtors or NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index — a forward looking indicator of home sales based on contact signing — soared 8.8% from July to 132.8 in August, hitting a record high, according to the NAR survey since January 2001. Contract signings are 24.2% higher from the year-ago period as well.

It is worth mentioning that August marks the fourth consecutive month of gains as well as the third year-over-year rise since the pandemic hit the housing market hard. All four major U.S. regions notched growth in August, with the West seeing the biggest improvement.

Apart from record pending home sales numbers, there were a couple of indicators showing continued strength in the housing market. Last week, the NAR released data that showed that sales of existing homes rose 2.4% in August from July to its highest level since 2006. Sales were up 10.5% from a year ago and back to pre-COVID-19 levels of early 2020. Also, the Commerce Department’s new home sales increased 4.8% in August from July and a remarkable 43% from August 2019.

Meanwhile, the NAR Housing Market Recovery Index indicated that the greatest recoveries have been recorded in the Seattle, Las Vegas, Boston, Denver and Philadelphia areas.

“Tremendously low mortgage rates – below 3% – have again helped pending home sales climb in August,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. The average U.S. mortgage rate for a

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Santa Cruz County lost almost 1,000 homes to the CZU fires. Its housing crisis is now worse than ever

BOULDER CREEK, Santa Cruz County – At the top of a cul-de-sac lined with burned homes, Antonia Bradford stood before what was once her cathedral-like house, surrounded by singed redwood trees. Little was recognizable in the rubble but a charred car, a chicken coop, a butterfly-shaped chair and a bathtub.

When the CZU Lightning Complex fires ripped through the Santa Cruz Mountains six weeks ago, Bradford, her husband and five children were suddenly homeless — along with thousands of others. Her family stayed in a hotel, then with friends as they scoured for rentals, watching listings disappear and prices rise.

“It’s pretty wild, it’s pretty bad,” Bradford said. “Housing has been a huge issue in Santa Cruz County for quite some time now. Right now it’s a supply-and-demand situation and people raising prices so high it’s pushing people off the mountain.”

When lightning sparked the CZU fires in mid-August, around 60,000 people – 1 in 5 Santa Cruz County residents – evacuated. The blaze destroyed 925 homes and three multifamily residences. The fire affected some of the most affordable housing in the county, adding pressure on an already costly and competitive market amid a statewide housing crisis. With the Glass Fire raging in Wine Country, a similar dynamic might play out in the North Bay, where thousands of homes are threatened.

The sudden need for housing was worsened by the pandemic limiting shelter capacity. Complicating it further was that the county had never dealt with a fire on this scale.

Meanwhile, a government-run program booking evacuees free hotel rooms got off to a bumpy start, officials and residents said. In one case, a couple with health issues slept in a friend’s abandoned trailer before they learned about the program. In another, a nurse only got a room when she no

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Big Santa Clara housing complex and working farm get key funding

SANTA CLARA — A unique mixed-use project of affordable homes and a working farm proposed for Santa Clara has landed key financing from a state bond, clearing the way for a construction start next year, the developers said.

Agrihood, which will consist of 361 homes and an urban farm across the street from the Westfield Valley Fair mall, has obtained $50 million in tax-exempt bonds from the California Debt Limit Allocation Committee, Core Cos., the developer of the Santa Clara project, said.

“Our success in securing bond financing reflects the importance of the Agrihood in providing stable, sustainable housing,” said Vince Cantore, a vice president of development with Core Cos.

The 361 new homes in Agrihood will include 181 that will be offered at below-market rates. Of the 181 affordable homes, 165 will be set aside for low-income seniors.

Along with the housing, Agrihood will also offer an urban farm, a cafe, a community room, and learning shed.

“Creating communities like Agrihood that have been intentionally designed to combine high-density living, social services, and access to healthy produce are needed now more than ever,” Cantore said.

Construction should begin in 2021, Core Cos. said.

Agrihood can also help address at least some uncertainties and health worries ushered in by the coronavirus, Core Cos. said.

“The focus on our residents’ health and wellness is incredibly important in these challenging times,” the developer said Wednesday.

Proposals had emerged as early as 2005 for affordable homes on that site, which for a number of years had been used for agricultural research by the University of California.

Neighbors, however, opposed the notion of affordable homes on the property and the outcry torpedoed the 2005 proposal.

Now, however, with a project groundbreaking in view for some time during the first three months of 2021, those

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