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The St Louis Contrarian

Providing Independent and Intelligent Insight on St. Louis Public Policy Issues

Archive for the category “affordable housing”

Compromise carved out on state Low Income housing Tax Credits

www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/savings-from-missouri-s-tax-credit-shift-are-not-factoring/article_905f3b1e-5546-5b0f-a50c-bc9aa3b9548f.html

the program is corrupt but we need it

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St. Louis Chosen for ‘Healthy Housing’ Initiative | Catholic Charities

St. Louis Chosen for ‘Healthy Housing’ Initiative | Catholic Charities
— Read on www.ccstl.org/st-louis-chosen-for-healthy-housing-initiative/

This is great news. I helped st Patricks get started with hospital-homelessness initiative

Housing Idea 3-Don’t Romanticize the Poor

Poor people have very serious problems, that don’t need exaggeration. I have worked my whole professional life to address the problems of poverty. The progressive left is making a serious mistake by romanticizing the poor.

David Brooks has some excellent words on this subject. He states that conservative exaggerate by saying that all the problems of poverty are caused by the individuals and progressive make the same mistake by blaming all the problems on institutions. The reality is somewhere in the middle.

In managing affordable housing I have seen numerous instances where the low income individuals make poor decisions that are within their control that make their situations worse. These include abusive relationships, not putting emphasis on a good education, and engaging in drugs and crime. Poverty is not an excuse for this behavior. Let’s not romanticize things. Written by Paul Dribin

Ideas About Housing -Too Much Democracy is Bad

Urban Planners talk about the need for community involvement in neighborhood development. That is good. Similarly, public housing residents need to have their ideas included in planning for the future of their developments. Yet, in St. Louis I sometimes think democracy has gone overboard. It seems that everyone no matter how wacky their idea has an equal say in the future of our communities. I certainly see that problem in the failure of the McKee effort to redevelop north St. Louis. People get worn out and nickel and dimed.

My first job with HUD was to insure and improve tenant participation in public housing. In all, participation tended to be low. Poor people participate less in public life less than wealthier people, that is partially why they are poor. More important, they simply lack the time for civic involvement.

A concrete example. The Darst-Webbe Hope VI redevelop[ment required tenant involvement. The remaining few tenants in the failed original project refused to be supportive of a complete demolition and redevelopment. Why? They were selling drugs and didn’t want that activity disrupted. It has always puzzled me why tenants of public housing appear to have more say in the running of their project than other properties. All political theorists have agreed that direct democracy is a poor form of government. They are right. Written by Paul Dribin

This article talks around the vacancy issue

www.stltoday.com/opinion/columnists/st-louis-has-a-plan-for-vacancy/article_039ec2ca-751d-5451-b039-f6f60baa239d.html

what is a chief resiliency officer?

Government Shutdown Hurting Low Income Housing Programs

nyti.ms/2Hnt8QP

Article is from The New York Times

St. Louis should foreclose more quickly on vacant properties

www.stltoday.com/opinion/editorial/editorial-compassion-or-tough-love-vacancy-problem-means-making-tough/article_6e9ab332-20a2-5a44-9828-92951b03acb3.html

Affordable Housing in Seattle and Microsoft

It is a good news bad news situation that Microsoft has started to invest significantly in affordable housing in the Seattle area. The good news is that a responsible corporation is stepping up to the plate to address a huge problem in their community. (This of course, is a problem they largely created). The bad news is that this funding only represents the tip of the iceberg and is an attempt to alleviate the federal government of its’ responsibilities. When markets don’t work the feds need to step up. In fact, housing investments by the federal government are fewer than in the 1970s.

Written by Paul Dribin

Vacancies in St. Louis

As you may know, there has been a collaborative formed to address the huge vacancy problem in St. Louis. Various task forces are meeting and I participate in two of them. Most of the people at the meetings appear to be community activists with a smattering of developers.

The discussions have generally been good but rather general in nature. We do not seem to want to address the key problems which I see as:

1. Outmoded methods of management and sales by LRA.

2. The higher cost of doing business in St. Louis.

3. Historical preservation

4. Crime

5. The overall oversupply of housing and undersupply of population in the region.

6. The unwillingness of the group to accept demolition.

Written by Paul Dribin

Green lining in St. Louis

I heard a talk today at one of the many marginally useful meetings on vacancies in St.Louis. The discussion was about green lining, an effort to artificially prop up property sales by financing the gap between appraised value and total development costs on single family houses.

The issue as presented seems dubious; that tons of people are waiting to do major rehab to houses on the north side who can’t get the appraisal they would need. The green lining program would put together a pool of institutional funding that would provide second mortgages to fund the appraisal gap.

There are several problems with this approach. The first problem is that the homebuyers would immediately be under water. What if they want to sell the property and cannot pay off the mortgage. Second, the proposal does not address credit issues which I think are a bigger problem than appraisals. The program should go all the way and guarantee the purchaser’s equity. But the real issue is creating demand in an area with high crime and poor schools. Written by Paul Dribin

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