Affordable Housing Units Prone to Floods Could Triple by 2050 | Smart News

The amount of affordable housing in the United States that is susceptible to damage and destruction caused by coastal flooding will triple by 2050, reports Daniel Cusick for E&E News.

A new study, published yesterday in the journal Environmental Research Letters, suggests that around 7,668 affordable housing units in the U.S. flood annually. Without swift action to reduce carbon emissions, that number could reach nearly 25,000 units by 2050, reports Oliver Milman for the Guardian. This is the first study of its kind to assess how vulnerable affordable housing units are to flooding and rising sea levels, according to a press release.

According to Reuters, previous studies have forecasted how houses along the coasts will be affected by climate change, but “there’s been much less attention put on these lower-income communities,” says computational scientist Scott Kulp of Climate Central, an independent group of scientists and communicators researching climate change.

The team of researchers used maps of low-cost and federally subsidized housing units and coupled them with flood projections to forecast how communities will be affected in the future, reports the Guardian. They found that states like New Jersey, Massachusetts and New York are expected to have the highest number of units at risk of flooding at least once a year by 2050, according to the press release.

The U.S. is already facing an affordable housing shortage—there are only “35 units available for every 100 extremely low-income renters,” reports Patrick Sisson for Bloomberg. That amounts to a shortage of 7 million units, so losing any more units will add to the deficit. For example, almost half of the available affordable housing units in New Jersey are projected to flood at least four times per year by 2050.

Within the next 30 years, coastal flooding will affect 4,774 affordable housing units in New York City, 3,167 in Atlantic City and 3,042 in Boston. Other cities will see a huge jump in the number of at-risk units: Miami Beach will see a 1,074 percent increase in at-risk units and Charleston, South Carolina, will see a 526 percent hike by 2050, according to the press release.

Climate change is wreaking havoc on coastal communities all over the world, but people with low incomes are being disproportionately affected by the ensuing hurricanes, floods and rising sea levels.

“The point here is that two neighbors can suffer from the same flood, one living in affordable housing and one in a home they own, and experience a very different outcome,” study co-author Benjamin Strauss, the CEO and chief scientist at Climate Central, tells Bloomberg. “Many more people in the general population will be affected by sea level rise than the affordable housing population. But the affordable population group is the one likely to hurt the most, who can’t afford to find a remedy on their own and tend to not have the voice needed to change the allocation of public resources.”

In the U.S., affordable housing units along the coast tend to be

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Look for a ‘For Sale’ sign soon to be posted on the property housing Pa. state university headquarters

Look for a “For Sale” sign soon to appear on the Harrisburg riverfront property that has served as headquarters for Pennsylvania’s state university system for the past 28 years.

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education was given the green light from the General Assembly to sell the Dixon University Center, the nearly 6.5-acre campus that sits along Front Street and stretches across North Second Street. It is named in honor of Fitz Eugene Dixon Jr., a wealthy Philadelphia area philanthropist who was the system’s founding and longtime board chairman.

Next up is looking for potential buyers for the property and the six brick-faced edifices and an underground parking garage on it.

System spokesman David Pidgeon said the system is in the process of selecting a Realtor to handle the sale of the property.

“Selling the Dixon University Center is an important example of the innovation agenda the State System is pursuing, and we appreciate the support of both chambers in the General Assembly,” Pidgeon said. “While the journey to a successful sale is a long one, [the Senate’s vote on Nov. 17] coupled with the House’s approval on Sept. 16 adds to the State System’s growing momentum as it seeks to build a brighter future.”

The system’s board voted in August to ask for legislative permission to sell the underutilized property as part of a cost-saving move. System officials indicated money saved from moving the system offices to a smaller facility would be directed to support ongoing efforts of redesigning the system and its universities.

Board chairwoman Cynthia Shapira said at the time the sale of the Dixon University Center demonstrates the board’s commitment to a top-to-bottom look at the system “and not hold anything sacred.”

The State System purchased the property in 1991 and made substantial renovations to the historic buildings that for decades housed the Harrisburg Academy, one of the nation’s oldest non-public schools.

During the Depression and World War II, David Morrison, executive director of the Historic Harrisburg Association, said in his history of the property, much of the property was sold to the U.S. War Department to use as a training center for the military’s air intelligence service. The property also has been used as the temporary home for Harrisburg Area Community College while its Wildwood Campus was being built.

The sale of this historic property is not the only dramatic change that the system is pursuing these days in its efforts to overhaul the system to keep tuition affordable and adjust to changing demographics and workforce development demands.

The system has begun the exploration of integrating six universities into two separate institutions to put all six schools on a more financially sustainable path. In the western part of the state, Edinboro, California and Clarion universities are being considered to become one institution. In the north central part of the state, Lock Haven, Bloomsburg and Mansfield universities are looking at integration into a single institution.

In each of those groupings, all campuses would remain open

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DHA, Housing Solutions for North Texas Focuses on Advancing Equity in Education to Help Create Opportunities for the Communities It Serves

DHA selected to join The Bridges Collaborative and invests in ultra-speed Wi-Fi

DHA, Housing Solutions for North Texas announced today that it has been selected to join the inaugural cohort of The Bridges Collaborative, a first-of-its kind grassroots initiative to advance racial and socioeconomic integration and equity in America’s schools. The Bridges Collaborative is coordinated by The Century Foundation (TCF), a national think tank that has helped steer the conversation on equal education and school integration for decades. DHA is joining 55 other organizations—including 27 school districts, 17 charter schools, and 12 housing organizations—which together represent more than 3.5 million children nationwide. Over the next two years, the collaborative will serve as a hub for practitioners from across the country, providing school and housing leaders the opportunity to learn from one another, build grassroots momentum, and develop successful approaches for integration.

Through the Bridges Collaborative, DHA is helping to close the digital divide for families and students by piloting ultra-speed Wi-Fi internet service at its Frazier Fellowship property. DHA conducted check-in calls to its public housing residents and identified a need for internet services at the Frazier Fellowship community, which provides housing for 281 households and 268 students. If the implementation of ultra-speed network proves beneficial, DHA may expand these services to its other properties. The ultra-speed network is being installed by local Minority-owned Business Enterprise, Wiser DSP.

“Our team at DHA believes in the power of education and we want to make sure we’re doing our part to give every opportunity for our families to have a pathway to success,” said Troy Broussard, president and chief executive officer of DHA. “COVID-19 is creating an even wider opportunity gap in education and we want to ensure the communities we serve do not get left behind. We are proud to join Dallas ISD, Fort Worth ISD and other leading organizations in The Bridges Collaborative initiative and look forward to seeing the impact of the ultra-speed Wi-Fi installation during this time when so much schooling is taking place virtually.”

About DHA, Housing Solutions for North Texas (formerly the Dallas Housing Authority)
DHA, Housing Solutions for North Texas provides quality, affordable housing to low-income families and individuals through the effective and efficient administration of housing assistance programs. The agency aims to create opportunities for program participants to achieve self-sufficiency and economic independence. DHA provides housing opportunities to ~55,000 people through public housing developments and Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) programs. Our mission is to provide affordable quality housing and access to supportive resources across North Texas. DHA is governed by its Board of Commissioners and administers housing programs funded and regulated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. DHA is an independent, local government entity, that is separate from the Dallas City Housing/Community Services department, which is governed by the City of Dallas. For more information about DHA, please visit

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Watch Scott Wiener and Jackie Fielder answer questions on housing, education and more key issues

It’s a classic “only-in-San Francisco” election contest.

Jackie Fielder, a 25-year old activist, college lecturer and Stanford graduate, is challenging the progressive California state Sen. Scott Wiener with an even more progressive platform. It’s Fielder’s first run for office and she mounted a strong showing in the March primary, collecting a third of the vote to set up this November’s all-Democratic general election in the 11th State Senate District.

Every election season, The Chronicle Editorial Board interviews candidates in the races Bay Area voters are deciding as a part of the endorsement process. You can read more about how, and why, the Editorial Board makes endorsements here, and see a full list of the endorsements for the 2020 election here.

Here are the recorded interviews with Fielder and Wiener, in which they answer questions on housing, education, homelessness and other critical policy issues.

Watch: Chronicle Editorial Board interviews Jackie Fielder

Fielder is a democratic socialist who describes herself as a “Native American … Mexicana, and queer educator and organizer.” Her supporters include progressive groups Our Revolution, the California Progressive Alliance and the Democratic Socialists of America. She also has the backing of the California Teachers Association, the San Francisco Tenants Union, San Francisco Supervisors Gordon Mar, Dean Preston, Hillary Ronen and Matt Haney, along with Mark Sanchez, president of the San Francisco Board of Education.

Watch: Chronicle Editorial Board interviews Scott Wiener

Wiener, a 50-year-old gay attorney who was elected to the state Senate in 2016 after two terms as a San Francisco supervisor, is backed by most mainstream Democratic leaders, including Gov. Gavin Newsom, Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco and Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo. He has been endorsed by San Francisco Mayor London Breed, San Francisco Supervisors Norman Yee, Rafael Mandelman, Ahsha Safai, Catherine Stefani and Shamann Walton. Other endorsements include all five San Mateo County supervisors, the California Democratic Party, the California League of Conservation Voters, and several labor unions.

Read the Editorial Board’s endorsement in this race here.

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243-unit affordable housing development coming to Fairview and University

A five-story, two-building housing development that guarantees a wide mix of affordable apartments for 30 years is coming to the Green Line.

a close up of a toy: Reuter Walton Development will build a 243-unit apartment complex at the northwest corner of University Avenue and Fairview Avenue in St. Paul, the current site of a Goodwill Industries parking lot, it was announced on Dec. 13, 2019. The affordable "workforce housing" project, to begin construction in late 2020, will span two seven-story buildings facing University Avenue. (Courtesy of Reuter Walton)

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Reuter Walton Development will build a 243-unit apartment complex at the northwest corner of University Avenue and Fairview Avenue in St. Paul, the current site of a Goodwill Industries parking lot, it was announced on Dec. 13, 2019. The affordable “workforce housing” project, to begin construction in late 2020, will span two seven-story buildings facing University Avenue. (Courtesy of Reuter Walton)

The planned 243-unit affordable housing development at Fairview and University avenues in St. Paul took a major step forward earlier this week when the city council approved $30 million in conduit multi-family housing revenue bonds.


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Developer Reuter Walton will use bond sales to borrow money from investors based on the city’s favorable interest rate. Actual city funds are not changing hands for the $64 million project.

The vacant and boarded property at 1825 University Ave. W. sits near the Fairview Light Rail transit station. The finished project will include a play lot, underground and surface parking, and 2,500 square feet of commercial space anchoring the street corner at ground level.

The two buildings will span 15 studios, 89 one-bedrooms, 63 two-bedrooms and 76 three-bedroom units.

In total, 27 of the apartments will be “deeply affordable,” or targeted to renters earning no more than 30 percent of area median income, which is currently $31,000 for a family of four.

Another 83 units will be priced at 50 percent of area median income, 58 units at 60 percent, and 75 units at 80 percent. The affordability requirement will remain in place for 30 years.

Reuter Walton last year drew the ire of labor advocates, including the North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters, which accused them of benefiting from wage theft allegedly conducted by seven subcontractors at 22 projects.

On Wednesday, HRA Chair Chris Tolbert and fellow Council Member Mitra Jalali praised Reuter Walton for disassociating themselves from alleged bad actors.

“They worked with the unions on better contracting standards and practices,” said Jalali, who represents the neighborhood. “This developer took a lot of steps to change and improve their practices.”

The project will be funded with a Fannie Mae permanent loan of $42 million, housing revenue bonds, Low Income Housing Tax Credits, a Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development contamination cleanup grant of $331,000, and a Metropolitan Council Tax Base Revitalization Account contamination cleanup deferred loan of $112,000, among other sources.

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Quarantine, isolation housing occupancy nearing 50% at University of Michigan

ANN ARBOR, MI — Occupancy in the University of Michigan’s quarantine and isolation housing for COVID-19 cases now tops 46%, according to university data.

a large brick building with a clock on the side of a road: Buildings at the Northwood III complex on the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020.

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Buildings at the Northwood III complex on the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020.

As of 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 16, occupancy of quarantine and isolation housing is at 46.2%, according to UM’s COVID-19 dashboard. There are 135 students who have received a positive test and are in isolation housing, and another 142 have been exposed or are waiting for test results, the data shows.


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On Friday, Oct. 9, just a week ago, only 17.2% of quarantine and isolation housing was occupied, according to the dashboard.

If there is an 80% projected capacity for isolation and quarantine housing within 14 days, UM health leaders and public health experts would evaluate the use of enhanced mitigation strategies, according to published guidelines.

These strategies could include restricting in-person activities, a pause of in-person classes and switching to remote classes for the remainder of the semester,

University of Michigan publishes guidelines for responses, strategies in case of COVID-19 outbreak

Since Oct. 11, there have been 73 confirmed cases in the UM community, the dashboard shows. Most of those tests came within the university, but in weeks prior, the majority of positive tests were conducted outside University Health Services or Occupational Health Services, according to the dashboard.

A number of cases were identified in the past week and previous weekend, including cases involving residence halls, UM spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said. Follow-up, targeted testing identified additional asymptomatic cases, and students of specific floors in three residence halls have been asked to maintain enhanced social distancing for two weeks, Fitzgerald said.

High numbers of cases in residence halls include 60 at South Quad, 51 at West Quad and 34 at Mary Markley Hall, which recently identified a cluster on the third floor.

Coronavirus cluster identified on 3rd floor of University of Michigan’s Mary Markley Hall

There have been 824 COVID-19 cases connected to campus since Sept. 13, including 279 for the week of Sept. 20, dashboard data shows. There has been an increase in COVID-19 activity across the region, with new cases often attributed to social gatherings, both indoors and outdoors, Fitzgerald said.

Some students who tested positive also had a number of close contacts, which caused an increase in the number of students who moved to quarantine housing because of higher risk exposures, Fitzgerald said.

UM is accommodating students in need of quarantine or isolation in units on North Campus as part of the university’s overall inventory of quarantine and isolating housing spaces, Fitzgerald said. UM has capacity for 600 students in quarantine or isolation, Fitzgerald said.

UM has shifted to using saliva-based testing through university startup LynxDx Inc. The university’s Community Sampling and Tracking Program conducted 415 saliva-based tests at Palmer Commons last week, with all tests coming back negative, an Oct. 13 dashboard update shows. UM

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