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The St Louis Contrarian

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

Housing discrimination

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an excellent editorial from New York Times about housing discrimination

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Evictions

There are major new research efforts ongoing that focus on evictions. I see this becoming the next social justice issue. Some people claim the volume of evictions is greater than ever. I don’t know how that claim can be made.

Evictions are bad for both the tenant and landlord. Focusing on eviction as the problem would be like focusing on stopping death or some terrible illness. Most evictions are justified. The problem is poverty and poor life choices rather than focusing on some mechanical solution to evictions like mediation etc. By the time a case gets to eviction it is a lost cause.

Poverty plays a major role in evictions but not always the way one would think. If poverty was the sole cause, public housing where tenants pay almost no rent would have a lower rate of eviction. In fact the rate is higher. Families that are traumatized, poor, and who make poor choices have the greatest chance of losing their unit. Anything that creates restrictions for landlords will simply drive up the rent for other tenants. Written by Paul Dribin

Fair Housing Law

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Former Vice President Walter Mondale presents an excellent discussion on the federal Fair Housing Law of 1968 which was intended to outlaw racial discrimination and segregation in housing. Mr. Mondale presents some very accurate points about the serious flaws in implementing the law by the federal bureaucracy including HUD where I worked. The political consequences are still strong for politicians who support open housing. We do know that living in safe neighborhoods with good schools is the number one things a poor family can do to improve their lives. Written by Paul Dribin

Homeownership tougher than ever

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The Wall Street Journal points out in this article that homeownership is tougher than ever. In most cities there is a short supply of housing, and higher interest rates. Incomes have remained fairly stagnant. The suburban areas of St. Louis fit this pattern. Written by Paul Dribin

A bad racist housing program

www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2018/04/rent-to-own-redlining/557588/

This article itemizes a new form of land contract housing sales. It preys on African American people of limited means and marginal credit. People pay monthly but title to the property does not transfer until after a long number of years. The potential buyers build no equity and if they miss a payment they are out with no equity to show for it. These programs were used for blockbusting in Chicago when I grew up. Written by Paul Drib in

Housing and healthcare

shelterforce.org/2018/02/13/financial-metrics-wont-tell-full-picture/

a good article from Shelterforce weekly

Public Housing

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An editorial from NYT about the state of public housing in New York City and resignation of Executive Director. All housing authorities are suffering from a lack of federal support. Rents can’t come close to covering rent. The tenants are very poor and need much support. Many of the same problems are brewing in St. Louis and all over the country. Written by Paul Dribin

New Development Proposed on Choteau

A new mixed use development is proposed on Choteau and Jefferson. It will be quite a large project encompassing commercial, residential, and retail. The area could certainly use something like this. We wish the project well. Written by Paul Dribin

Poverty in the Suburbs

I read an article in the Washington Post over the weekend which provided data that poverty is increasing faster in the suburbs than in central cities. I have heard reports of this nature for some time. Maybe this will make suburban voters a little more sensitive to the concerns of their counterparts in the city. Written by Paul Dribin

Metrolink Again

The light rail system in St. Louis, Metrolink is just too easy of a target. Ridership on the system is down and crime is up. The Post Dispatch reported on its editorial page that there is still not a common approach to policing the trains, and that the police of the 3 entities responsible for policing cannot communicate with each other by radio. Metro which runs the trains and the St. Louis County police point the finger at each other for the problems. All of this and Metro wants to expand the system. Go figure. Written by Paul Dribin

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