Cities Are Turning Stores, Hotels, and Offices into Affordable Housing Havens



The COVID-19 pandemic is having a devastating impact on housing and homelessness. City and state leaders know this. Many are implementing policies and creating unique affordable housing conversion projects that aim to make progress in solving this problem. One such piece of legislation, the "Housing Our Neighbors With Dignity Act," from New York, will enable the state to buy office buildings and hotels that have been struggling during the pandemic and turn them into affordable housing. “The housing problem in our cities has gotten worse. But, the crisis of growing vacancies in our commercial property provides an opportunity,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a recent speech. “We should convert vacant commercial space to supportive and affordable housing and we should do ...

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Tell CDC: Add Social Risk Codes to Better Classify Disease Diagnoses, Symptoms (ICD-10-CM)


Tell CDC: Add Social Risk Codes to Better Classify Disease Diagnoses, Symptoms (ICD-10-CM)

Social risk contributes significantly to poor health. These social risks—also known as social determinants of health—include food insecurity, housing instability, transportation insecurity, financial strain, and more. But without the right terminology about social risk, doctors and other healthcare workers may struggle to identify, support, and report patient’s social needs, which can harm health and hinder research. This is particularly problematic for Latinos and others who are overburdened by social risks. This why the Gravity Project, a coalition of experts on social risk, is recommending code changes and updates to CDC National Center for Health Statistics’ International Classification of Diseases-Clinical Modification, Tenth Revision (ICD-10-CM), which provides a ...

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Inside California’s Struggles to Solve Housing, Homelessness


homeless homelessness shelters on street in Los Angeles intergroup contact

California had an affordable housing crisis well before COVID-19. Now the pandemic is having a devastating impact on housing and homelessness. State leaders are continuing work to make a difference. For example, California Gov. Gavin Newsom's 2021-22 State Budget proposal has many short-term investments specifically targeted at housing and homelessness. "The state continues to make progress in addressing the housing availability and affordability crisis that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic," the Governer's Office stated. "In addition to the $500 million for infill infrastructure, the Budget also proposes an additional $500 million in low-income housing tax credits to support low-income housing development. "The Administration is streamlining and reorganizing ...

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Cut Toxic Stress with 3 Types of Public Health Prevention Interventions


Cut Toxic Stress with 3 Types of Public Health Prevention Interventions

To reduce the impact of a disease like diabetes, public health leaders usually apply a three-part preventive approach of prevention, early detection, and early intervention. But this preventive approach hasn’t been applied to toxic stress. Toxic stress is the body’s response to prolonged trauma─like abuse or discrimination─with no support. It can harm lifelong mental, physical, and behavioral health, especially for Latinos and others of color. Amid COVID-19, civil unrest, and an economic crisis, we need a public health prevention approach to address toxic stress now more than ever. A new roadmap can help. Dr. Nadine Burke Harris’ Roadmap for Resilience: The California Surgeon General’s Report on Adverse Childhood Experiences, Toxic Stress, and Health proposes a ...

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4 Reasons to Think Structuralist, Instead of Individualist, to Improve Health Equity



Every person is a unique individual. But if you look closely, you’ll see each person lives, learns, works, and plays within social and environmental conditions that influence their individual health and wealth. Some people face health barriers because of structural and systemic policies that curb their access to quality housing, transportation, medical care, food, jobs, schools, parks and other social determinants. Individuals have no choice when it comes to these structural health barriers. “Despite the tremendous, lifelong impact of our community conditions on our health, we focus most of our energy and resources on treating the outcomes of these problems but lack the essential urgency for attacking the root causes of poor health,” according to Brian C. Castrucci, Dr. ...

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Latinos Face Homelessness Spike Without Congress COVID-19 Relief Bill


Covid-19 relief bill for poverty homelessness for latinos

Latino and Black people will suffer significant financial problems that could lead to an increase in homelessness if U.S. leaders fail to pass a COVID-19 relief bill this week, experts say. The spring 2020 stimulus package is set to expire at the end of the week, prompting Congress to debate over a $900 Billion pandemic relief bill that will give stimulus checks, pause evictions and student loans, and provide further unemployment insurance. Leaders hope to find a solution by the end of the week. If they don’t, Latinos and Black people could suffer the most, including a rise in homelessness. “The pandemic has hit communities of color harder than white Americans, and the population of homeless Black Americans and Latinos will only increase if there is no emergency federal ...

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Jennifer Rangel: Creating Bilingual Cartoons to Teach Zoning 101


Jennifer Rangel creates animated videos to teach residents about zoning

“Ever wondered why your neighborhood looks how it does?” Jennifer Rangel once asked herself this question. To find an answer, Rangel got a master’s degree in urban planning. Along the way, this Latina planner learned that discriminatory urban planning practices, like the zoning of land, had been used for white advantage for over a century, segregating communities and forging inequities in health and wealth among Latinos and other people of color. Rangel wanted to share what she learned. So she helped create workshops─then bilingual animated videos─to train neighborhood leaders, social workers, and others about zoning and how to get involved in zoning changes. “Understanding zoning is a critical step for residents as they try to undo previous harms and to ...

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Through Shared Ownership, Community Land Trusts Can Help Retain Housing Affordability


Community land trust

The prospect of homeownership remains out of reach for many Latinos as incomes fail to keep up with rising property values. The community land trust model is a shared ownership model designed to protect people, neighborhoods, and businesses at risk of gentrification and displacement due to development and the upward pressure of urban land markets. This model can be used for housing, small businesses, agriculture, and community resources. There are roughly 277 community land trusts across the US, many addressing housing instability. Community land trusts could play an important role in supporting economic recovery during and after COVID-19. Unfair Urban Land Markets Leave Many Families Behind Property rights in America were not created equal. They have excluded Latinos, ...

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Latino Homeownership Is on the Rise (Even in a Pandemic)


Latino Homeownership on the Rise Despite Pandemic Impacts

In spite of the countless burdens of COVID-19 on Latinos, rates of increased household wealth have been on the rise. In fact, 40% of Latinos who do not own a home plan to become homeowners by 2025, according to a recent survey conducted by the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP). This presents a shift, not only in the housing market but in the state of race and class in the U.S., according to Veronica Figueroa, a veteran realtor in Orlando. “In recent years, Latinos have proven to be more confident than ever when it comes to homeownership and entrepreneurship," Figueroa told Click Orlando. "We are also seeing overwhelming confidence in Latino investors who choose to invest in real estate. Latinos are overcoming the stigma of being considered an ...

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