May 12, 2016 |
Has Philadelphia's famous "councilmanic prerogative" been used in Point Breeze to encourage construction of affordable housing, or to punish a political foe? That was the question a federal jury had to grapple with Tuesday in the first day of trial for a lawsuit developer Ori Feibush filed against City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson. Feibush, who lost the 2015 Democratic primary election for the Second District to Johnson, said his projects had been repeatedly stymied and opposed by Johnson and his staff.
April 18, 2016 |
In the early 2000s, as every Class B and C apartment and office building was being converted to condos, suggestions that some people might prefer renting brought complaints from Realtors and home builders. That was the "Buy Now, Maybe Pay Later" housing boom, during which the multifamily rental industry began calling its inventory "apartment homes" as a way of competing. So one morning in early September 2007, we awoke to find that we were overstocked with houses and condos that no one could afford and not enough apartments to accommodate the corresponding increase in renters.
April 17, 2016 |
If you're a low-income family looking to buy a home, the experts advising hundreds of New Jersey townships on their affordable housing obligations have a nice place in mind: a four-bedroom house on Long Beach Island for $700,000. Don't care for the beach? How about a five-bedroom house in Toms River with a pool and hot tub? It last sold for $500,000, but it qualifies as "affordable housing" to Econsult Solutions. These are just two of 400 homes with price tags of $500,000 or more that Econsult has identified as "affordable," according to data provided by the Fair Share Housing Center advocacy group.
April 9, 2016 |
The planning consultant for hundreds of New Jersey municipalities has more than doubled to 72,000 its estimate of how many affordable-housing units towns might have to zone for statewide over the next decade. The 37,000 additional units are the firm's estimate of need if the state courts should rule that municipalities had a legal obligation to make room for low- and middle-income households between 1999 and 2015. In December, the Philadelphia firm, Econsult Solutions, had estimated the statewide obligation at slightly more than 35,000 units.
March 10, 2016
By Kelvin A. Jeremiah The surge of growth and prosperity in many Center City neighborhoods is having little impact on Philadelphia's 400,000 families living below the poverty line. Struggling daily to meet basic needs, a Philadelphia family must earn $45,400 annually to afford a two-bedroom apartment, according to a 2014 report issued by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. However, the 2015 average annual income of Philadelphia Housing Authority's (PHA) current and wait-listed families remained at $15,300.
March 5, 2016
One by one, the totems of poverty that once dotted Philadelphia's urban landscape have been disappearing. Since the late '90s, the Philadelphia Housing Authority has imploded 23 public housing towers and replaced them with traditional rowhouses. On March 19, two more of those alien towers, the Norman Blumberg Apartments, will be reduced to dust in the North Philadelphia neighborhood the PHA has dubbed Sharswood. This time, however, the housing authority's ambitions are much bigger than usual.
February 21, 2016 |
In a ruling that may prove influential across New Jersey, a judge in Ocean County has concluded that municipalities must zone for the affordable housing projects they did not build over the last 15 years. "The court finds that municipalities are constitutionally mandated to address this obligation" as spelled out in the 1985 Fair Housing Act, Superior Court Judge Mark A. Troncone wrote in an opinion handed down Thursday. Troncone's ruling does not establish legal precedent outside Ocean County.
February 19, 2016 |
Calling it the first settlement of a major affordable-housing case since the New Jersey Supreme Court issued new Mount Laurel guidelines last year, an advocacy group said Wednesday that Piscataway Township had agreed to accommodate the construction of 975 affordable units over the next decade. An upper-middle-income community of 55,000 people in Middlesex County, Piscataway abuts New Brunswick and is home to many buildings of Rutgers University. Its median household income is about $88,500.
February 16, 2016 |
An advocacy group for affordable housing is asking New Jersey judges to reject the methods a consulting firm used to calculate the affordable housing obligations for hundreds of municipalities. In briefs filed Friday in numerous South Jersey Superior Courts, the Fair Share Housing Center described as "specious" and "highly dubious" the methods that Econsult Solutions Inc. of Philadelphia recently used to project the state's household growth and population through 2025. Based on those projections and other data, Econsult calculated that the state's 565 municipalities need to accommodate 37,000 affordable housing units over the next decade.
February 11, 2016 |
A DEVELOPMENT OF about 30 affordable rental homes in Point Breeze moved a step closer to reality Tuesday when the Philadelphia Vacant Property Review Committee approved the transfer of two vacant parcels to the Women's Community Revitalization Project (WCRP). The Mamie Nichols Townhomes would consist of one- to three-bedroom apartments and townhouses. It is named for a Point Breeze community activist who died in 2009, said Nora Lichtash, executive director of the WCRP. "This is something we've been working on for the last few months," Lichtash said Tuesday.