Category Archives: Housing

January 17, 2018

The Corrupt Politics of Low-Income Housing

State officials gleefully line their own pockets at taxpayers’ expense.

The rent is too damn high—so each year Congress appropriates billions of dollars to address the nation’s collective housing needs. The programs vary from loans to tax credits to straight-up subsidies, but a common feature is that federal taxpayers pony up the dough and then a motley collection of state-level politicians, financing agencies, and housing authorities decide how it’s spent. Can you guess where things go wrong?

In theory, oversight is provided by bureaucrats in Washington tracking every dollar and by local leaders increasing their re-election prospects by providing housing assistance to their constituents as effectively as possible. In practice, the feds turn a blind eye to inefficient uses of the funds while local officials gleefully engage in politically advantageous graft.

Take California Treasurer John Chiang. By virtue of his position on the three-member California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, Chiang exercises enormous influence over who gets $94.9 million each year in federal tax credits intended for developers of low-income housing.

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December 29, 2017

California’s hidden homeless: Teachers, chefs, nurses and other middle class workers living in cars in parking lots because of the state’s crazy property prices

Hundreds of people are sleeping in parking lots in areas like Santa Barbara. Rising cost of rent and housing has forced middle class workers to take up residence in their cars to make ends meet. Most of those sleeping rough in cars are part of the area’s Safe Parking program. It is run by the New Beginnings Counseling Center and aims to provide a secure area for the homeless to sleep in their vehicle.

The rising cost of rent and housing in California is forcing residents into alternative accommodation with middle class workers taking up residence in their cars and RVs by the side of the road to make ends meet.

Hundreds of people, including nurses and chefs, are sleeping in parking lots in affluent areas like Santa Barbara as they make the most of the only homes they can afford.

Marva Ericson, who works as a nursing assistant, has been sleeping in her Kia for the past three months. She wakes up before dawn each day, showers at the local YMCA and dresses in her hospital scrubs to head to work.

‘I wake up and I say, ‘Thank you God for keeping me safe last night, and thank you for the Safe Parking program’,’ the 48-year-old told the LA Times.

Like Ericson, most of the people sleeping rough in their cars are part of the area’s Safe Parking program, which is run by the New Beginnings Counseling Center and aims to provide a secure area for the homeless to sleep in their vehicles.

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December 24, 2017

Young Britons ‘Paying The Price’ for Decade of Mass Migration, Housing Crisis Report Finds

A new report has revealed the extent to which Britain’s housing crisis has been driven by mass immigration, with young people “paying the price” for this policy through ever-rising rents.

Migration Watch UK found that the “unprecedented” net migration of 2.5 million people over the past decade has been one of the main factors in pricing young people out of the UK housing market.

Published Thursday, the paper found that mass migration is the “major component” fueling the heavy demand on housing that has sent rent prices sky-high and made it hard for Britain’s young to save for a house deposit.

Migrant families make up nine out of 10 new households added in the last decade, according to the think tank which reported that “London is bearing the brunt of ballooning demand for rental properties.”

Households headed by foreigners accounted for more than 80 per cent of growth in the UK capital’s private-rented sector over the past 10 years, a period in which the report says rents rose by 36 per cent while wages grew just 21 per cent.

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November 30, 2017

Mexico promised affordable housing for all. Instead it created many rapidly decaying slums

The best of modern progressive civilization—government, private firms, international organizations—teamed up to build homes for 20 million people in Mexico. Over $100 billion later and its a disaster.

Sixteen years ago, Mexico embarked on a monumental campaign to elevate living standards for its working-class masses.

The government teamed with private developers to launch the largest residential construction boom in Latin American history. Global investors — the World Bank, big foundations, Wall Street firms — poured billions of dollars into the effort.

Vast housing tracts sprang up across cow pastures, farms and old haciendas. From 2001 to 2012, an estimated 20 million people — one-sixth of Mexico’s population — left cities, shantytowns and rural ranchos for the promise of a better life.

It was a Levittown moment for Mexico — a test of the increasingly prosperous nation’s first-world ambitions. But Mexico fell disastrously short of creating that orderly suburbia.

The program has devolved into a slow-motion social and financial catastrophe, inflicting daily hardships and hazards on millions in troubled developments across the country, a Los Angeles Times investigation has found.

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September 20, 2017

California exodus? Poll finds voters consider moving due to sky-high housing costs (Video)

Of the 56 percent of voters who said they’ve considered moving, 1 in 4 said they’d relocate out of state if they did.

More than half of California voters say the state’s housing affordability crisis is so bad that they’ve considered moving, and 60 percent of the electorate supports rent control, according to a new statewide poll.

The findings from UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies reflect broad concerns Californians have over the soaring cost of living. Amid an unprecedented housing shortage, rents have skyrocketed and tenants have faced mass evictions, especially in desirable areas.

“It’s an extremely serious problem,” said poll director Mark DiCamillo. “People are being forced to consider moving because of the rising cost of housing – that’s pretty prevalent all over the state.”

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August 19, 2017

HUD Director Goes on $336,000 Shopping Spree with Low-Income Housing Funds

Fraud and corruption has also been pervasive among HUD employees and field directors.

A high-ranking public housing official charged with providing government-subsidized homes to the poor stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from the agency and used it to buy furniture, alcohol, clothes, makeup and other personal items. The crooked public official scammed the government for years undetected which may seem unbelievable though not when it comes to the agency she worked for, a bastion of corruption known as Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

This is an agency that’s been embroiled in a multitude of serious scandals—under both Democrat and Republican administrations—over the years. One veteran employee at a state branch stealing a few hundred thousand bucks to go on a marathon shopping spree is no biggie. Problems go back to the Ronald Reagan administration, when an influence-peddling scandal led to the conviction of 16 people, including top aides to then HUD Secretary Samuel Pierce. Bill Clinton’s housing secretary, Henry Cisneros, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about payments to his former mistress. George W. Bush’s HUD secretary, Alphonso Jackson, was ousted after the feds launched an investigation into his plots to enrich himself and his friends by giving them lucrative government contracts. Barack Obama’s second HUD secretary, Julian Castro, misspent the agency’s federal funds as mayor of San Antonio.

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July 6, 2017

Tucker Carlson: Maxine Waters’ $4.3M ‘Housing Coup’ ‘Almost Qualifies’ Her for HUD Secretary (Video)

Wednesday, “Tucker Carlson Tonight” host Tucker Carlson responded to Rep. Maxine Waters’ (D-CA) threat to take Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson’s “ass apart” because she believes he knows nothing about the HUD’s mission.

Carlson noted that Waters, a politician for 40 years, lives in a 6,000 square-foot mansion worth $4.3 million that is not even in her congressional district, saying that “almost qualifies her to be HUD Secretary herself.”

“[W]aters is a confirmed expert on the question of housing, especially her own housing,” Carlson stated. “Consider where she lives, in a 6,000 square foot, $4.3 million mansion in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Now, how did she afford a place like that after having spent the last 40 years working in government? We hate to speculate. How did she keep getting reelected despite not living in her own Congressional district? No clue there either. The district Waters actually represents in Congress has the second-highest percentage of African-American residents in the state of California.”

He continued, “Now, the neighborhood where Waters actually lives is just six percent black or, as she might put it herself if she didn’t live there, it is segregated — like 1950s level segregated. And as we’ve mentioned, it is really, really rich. So, how did Maxine Waters pull off a housing coup like that, who knows, but it almost qualifies her to be HUD Secretary herself.”

Original source.

June 15, 2017

The Secret History of the 21st Century

“The country will increasingly tend to divide itself up into family-oriented red states with low housing costs and amenity-oriented blue states with high housing costs.”

The insightful blogger who goes by the moniker Spotted Toad has created a series of charts explaining the 2016 Electoral College results as a result of average home price in each state.

The pattern is much the same as it has been in every election since 2000: In states where younger white people can better afford to buy a home, they are more likely to be married, have more children, and vote more Republican. In states where whites are less able to afford a home, they marry later, have fewer children, and vote more Democratic.

For example, the state with the most expensive homes on average is Hawaii, at a self-estimated mean during 2010–14 of $505,400 (according to Census Bureau data). Not coincidentally, Donald Trump did worse in Hawaii than in any other state, garnering only 30.0 percent of the vote.

In contrast, in the state with the cheapest housing—West Virginia, with its mean home value of just $100,200—Trump enjoyed his biggest majority: 68.5 percent.

These aren’t fluke outliers, either.

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April 21, 2017

UK Housing Crisis: Half of All New Homes Will Go to Migrants

Almost half of all new houses built in the UK over the next five years will go to migrants, meaning an extra home will need to be constructed every five minutes.

The extra 5.3 million new properties are needed as the UK’s population continues to boom. Up to 2.4 million houses will go to migrants, the Department for Communities and Local Government claimed.

Over the next 22 years, therefore, Britain will need to house up to 243,000 new households every year, according to the statistics. Net ­migration accounts for an estimated 45 per cent of this growth.

The figures were presented to the House of Lords in response to a question put by Lord Green of Deddington, Chairman of Migration Watch, which campaigns for lower levels of migration.

Lord Green told the Upper House: “To put the point slightly more dramatically, that would mean building a new home every five minutes night and day, for new arrivals until such a time as we can get those numbers down.

“I know there is a strong view in the House that there is a lot to be said for migration. All I am pointing out is that there are also costs.”

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April 7, 2017

‘Child Refugees’ Rampage, ‘Demolish’ Housing Over Lack of Game Consoles

Young Somalis in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania have “demolished” their kitchen and living quarters during a violent “rampage” in which they demanded PlayStations and more pocket money.

Four teenagers have been separated and sent to other residences for ‘unaccompanied minors’ after their violent rampage forced a staff member of the facility to flee to his office, where the 44-year-old locked himself in and called for police help.

The migrants had only been in Germany for two weeks when they became violent, threatening to beat the member of staff tasked with their care unless he fulfilled demands including giving the teens game consoles, more pocket money, and moving them to accommodation in a bigger city.

The Somalis, who are reportedly between the ages of 15 and 17, destroyed most of the furniture and “demolished” the kitchen in their taxpayer-funded living quarters.

According to Parchimer Zeitung, the youths were still rioting when police arrived, forcing police to put them in handcuffs while the situation could calm down.

The German newspaper stated that the four unaccompanied minors will be held responsible for the property damage caused, and attempted blackmail of officials.

Jan Buchholz, who runs the accommodation in Dargelütz, was reportedly taken aback by the violence as the Somalis had only been living there for two weeks, having been sent back to Germany from Scandinavian countries under the Dublin agreement.

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