Category Archives: Housing

Housing costs ease for homeowners; not for renters

HOUSING

by Christopher Mazur

The housing cost burden has eased for U.S. homeowners but remained stagnant for renters since the peak of the recession in 2008.

“Recently released data from the American Community Survey (ACS) estimates the percentage of “burdened” households, or those that spend at least 35% of their monthly income on housing costs, and provides a 10-year look at the trends from 2008 to 2018.

“Burden Depends on Mortgage Status

“There were 77.7 million owner-occupied housing units in the United States in 2018. Approximately 62% of these homeowners had a mortgage, down 6.5 percentage points from 2008.

“the homeowner spends 35% or more of their monthly household income on mortgage payments, utility bills, real estate taxes, property insurance, and any required condominium or mobile home fees.”

Click here to read this article in its entirety at the US Census Bureau Website.

 

 

Self-Determination Housing Project Webinar Series: Assistance Animals Explained – October 17 at 2:30 PM

sdhp webinar

Do you have tenants, case workers, or other clientele that are requesting to have assistance animals in their unit?  Do you work with clients who are having to interact with hesitant landlords because they have a service animal?  If so, you might be wondering what rights tenants and landlords have when it comes to assistance animals.  Tune in to our webinar, Assistance Animals Explained, to find out:

  1. What SDHP does and how you can use our services
  2. What a reasonable accommodation is
  3. And rights both landlords and tenants have when it comes to assistance animals

Webinar scheduled for October 17, 2019 from 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM ET

This training is recommended for landlords and property managers, autism service coordinators, mental health caseworkers, ID housing caseworkers, hospital liaisons, and other providers serving individuals with disabilities.

Register for the webinar here, and feel free to share this information with colleagues and those in your network who are interested in this topic.

**If you have any questions about the training or need to request a disability related accommodation, please contact SDHP @ region1@sdhp.org.

“‘We Need Each Other’: Seniors Are Drawn to New Housing | Arrangements Older Americans are exploring housing alternatives, including villages and home-sharing.” – The New York Times

Finding a place to live for too many people is a serious challenge; co-housing or home sharing provides a viable option. This article, Here’s an idea worth “sharing.”, is about a test program that’s being used in northeast Pennsylvania. This article, too, takes a closer look at the concept of shared housing.

we need each otherCredit: Jackie Molloy for The New York Times

by 

“After her husband died, Freda Schaeffer was left on her own in a three-bedroom house in Brooklyn. ‘I was lonely,’ she confessed. And she worried about finances, because ‘there’s a lot of expenses in a house.’

“Tom Logan, who had moved east from California, found that his disability payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs didn’t stretch very far in New York City. ‘I needed a place to stay, or I could be homeless,’ he said.

“Enter the matchmaker, a home-sharing program operated by the New York Foundation for Senior Citizens. It pairs people who have extra living space — but want company, help with chores, extra income or all three — with those desperate for affordable housing.”

Read this article at The New York Times in its entirey, click here.

“12 myths about homelessness in America” – Futurity

“The realities of homelessness upend many common assumptions about its causes—and potential solutions—an expert argues.”

homeless_myths_1600“Antonio DeSilva, who is currently homeless, plays with his dogs outside his tent on September 09, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.” (Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

“On a single night in January 2018, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development collected nationwide data to determine there are now about 553,000 homeless people across the country—or nearly the same number as the entire the population of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

“While that is an improvement on the estimated 647,000 homeless Americans in 2007, it also reflects a lingering inability to solve a four-decade-old national crisis.

“What exactly caused the American homeless rate to reach and sustain such heights? Some have cited the shutting of mental hospitals in the 1970s. Others have pointed to the lack of safety nets for military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Read this article at Futurity.org.

 

What you should know about Pennsylvania “Estate Recovery Plan.”

Pennsylvania’s “Estate Recovery Program allows the commonwealth to recover Medical Assistance payments from the estate of an individual who was 55 years of age or older when they started receiving nursing facility services or home and community-based services. These payments must have been provided on or after August 15, 1994, the effective date of the Act.”

“Established under federal law, this program requires the Department of Human Services to recover the Medical Assistance costs from the estates of individuals who have died. Repayment is required for the amount the state paid, even if the individuals paid part of the bill themselves or through insurance. If an individual 55 years of age or older received certain Medical Assistance benefits and dies, the department will reimburse the Medical Assistance program by recovering these costs from the assets of the person’s estate. An estate exists when a person dies and his or her assets are distributed by will or state law. All monies collected by the Medical Assistance Estate Recovery Program are returned to the Department of Human Services’ long-term care programs to assist others in need of long-term care services.”

estate recovery program

Click on the graphic to download the Medical Assistance Estate Recovery Plan Program.

“What Makes a Community Livable?” – AARP

English-In a Livable Community Poster

“The formula for what makes a community livable isn’t particularly complex. For the most part, the features and needs are fairly simple.

“But living in a place that, say, requires having a car for every errand or outing can be a difficult place to live if you don’t have a car or can’t drive.

“Living in a place without access to outdoor spaces, good schools and healthy food isn’t very livable, especially for young families.

“Living in a community that isn’t safe, or offers few activities, can be isolating for people regardless of age.

“On the other hand, a community that includes all of the features pictured in our “In a Livable Community” handout can be great — for people of all ages!”

AND people with a disability!

housing crisis | two articles about the difficulty of finding housing in America

housing crisis

It is not only happening here in Berks, Lancaster and Lebanon Counties. It is a nationwide challenge. Here are two articles from opposite ends of the nation, that focus on just two aspects of adequate, safe, affordable, dry and warm housing.

Seniors facing eviction fear homelessness and isolation as California’s housing crisis rolls on


Soul-crushing. Demoralizing. My tortured odyssey to find an apartment in Boston

 

 

 

“Affordable Housing Push Challenges Single-Family Zoning” – Stateline

new housing models“Phil Chang added an apartment over the garage in his alley after the city of Bend, Oregon, made it easier to build what are known as accessory dwelling units. Two of the homes next door also have ADUs that can be entered from the alley.” – Erika Bolstad / The Pew Charitable Trusts 

by Erika Bolstad

“It was, the Bend City Council reasoned, one way to make room for affordable housing in a city that saw its population double over two decades and is projected to add 30,000 residents by 2030. Bend and other Oregon cities have difficult-to-expand urban growth boundaries that limit new sprawl. That means new development must be a creative mix of habitat, especially if Bend wants to be affordable for everyone.

“‘What was done in Bend has now become a model,’ Bend Mayor Sally Russell said. ‘We started it, we tested it.’

“The new state zoning law also addresses a structural mismatch in available housing, particularly in cities like Portland, said Mary Kyle McCurdy, deputy director of 1000 Friends of Oregon, a conservation group that got its start advocating to restrict sprawl in the 1970s.

“In Portland, two-thirds of households consist of one or two people, McCurdy said, yet most of the available homes are detached single-family housing. An estimated 90% of residential areas are zoned for single-family, detached homes.”

Click here to continue reading this article at Stateline.

 

 

Here’s an idea worth “sharing.”

share logo

This message from the Pennsylvania Department of Aging’s Secretary, Robert Torres, comes in the Inside Aging – August eblast. It’s an idea that many in our Service Area (Berks-Lancaster-Lebanon Counties) have talked about … shared housing.

“Many of us may have experienced placing a loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility—it’s a challenging process for both the family and the older adult. This can isolate the senior from regular time with family and friends and put them in a new setting to adjust to, as opposed to the comfort they have been used to in their own home or local community. The family having to rehome an older adult may worry about cost, quality of care, and a change in convenience of spending time with them.

“Aging in place is an option we know that most seniors prefer, and improving access to affordable and accessible housing is an objective of the department’s State Plan on Aging. An AARP study found that an overwhelming 90% of people age 65 and over would rather stay in their own home as they age.

“It’s important to know that there are alternatives for the seniors in our lives when it comes time to make such a difficult decision. Within the last two years, the Department of Aging has overseen the launch of two very exciting housing programs: the Shared Housing and Resource Exchange (SHARE) pilot program, and Pennsylvania’s very first Elder Cottage Housing Opportunity (ECHO) program.

“The SHARE housing program launched in 2017 in Pike, Wayne, and Monroe Counties in partnership with the Pike County Area Agency on Aging and the support of the counties’ commissioners. SHARE brings together homeowners with extra space in their home and individuals, referred to as home seekers, in need of affordable housing. SHARE counselors assist a matched set of homeowners and home seekers in making a plan where affordable housing is offered in exchange for rent, help around the house, or a combination of both.

“Last year, the department celebrated Pennsylvania’s first ECHO cottage in Clearfield County. Elder cottages are small, separate, manufactured residences that are temporarily placed on the side or rear yard of a host family for an older adult. This allows privacy for both the senior and host family, while at the same time assuring accessibility for both parties as necessary. Additionally, the cottages are far more cost-effective for both parties and give the older adult the option to avoid premature admission into a long-term care facility.

“SHARE and ECHO allow seniors to age in their communities, close to their family and friends, without concern of isolation. Programs like this can give families one peace of mind about their loved one’s wellbeing. If you are interested in exploring housing alternatives for an older adult, please reach out to Julie Seby, jseby@pa.gov, at the Department of Aging to learn more about these programs.”

“How Much do you Need to Earn to Afford a Modest Apartment in your area?

out of reach

How Much do you Need to Earn to Afford a Modest Apartment in your area? Click here to find out.