The Epic Revitalization of a Latino Neighborhood from Housing to Social Change


Editor's Note: main photo above is of Esperanza Academy Charter School's mural via facebook.com/Esperanzausa and whyy.org.

Roberto Clemente Middle School shut its doors in 1994 and sat empty for more than 10 years years in Philadelphia's Hunting Park, a predominantly Latino neighborhood. Not anymore. Local faith-based nonprofit Esperanza has turned the former school into 38 affordable housing units, which opened November 2018, Plan Philly reports. The site also has 5,000 square feet of commercial space. “It will now once again become a community asset, providing quality, affordable housing to Hunting Park residents,” said David Ortiz, Esperanza’s vice president of housing and economic development. But the school-turned-affordable-housing project is just one part of Esperanza's neighborhood revitalization plans. Esperanza's Revitalization of Hunting Park Hunting Park has higher poverty ...

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#SaludTues Tweetchat 1/29: The Future of Affordable Housing Advocacy for Latinos


Family on home porch steps affordable housing

U.S. housing is at its least affordable in 10 years, according to a recent report. Lack of affordable housing has strong implications for many Latinos and greatly impacts their quality of life. Not enough attention is given to the impact of the low Latino homeownership rate on America’s ongoing economic recovery, and in turn, the future of the nation’s housing market and related issues. Let’s tweet with #SaludTues on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019, to share how to shape and improve the future of affordable housing advocacy for Latino health and education. WHAT: #SaludTues Tweetchat: "The Future of Affordable Housing Advocacy for Latino Health & Education" TIME/DATE: 1-2 p.m. ET (Noon-1 p.m. CT), Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019 WHERE: On Twitter with hashtag #SaludTues HOST: ...

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How the Government Shutdown is Affecting Affordable Housing, Eviction


Frustrated wife shocked by bad news reading letter with husband, housing affordable

As the longest U.S. government shutdown in history marches on, Latinos and the most vulnerable people face losing federal support for their very homes. Tax credits are the U.S. government’s primary tool to encourage the development of affordable housing. The government grants the credits to developers, who then sell the credits to banks and other investors, who in turn use those credits to lower their own tax bills. According to CNN, the shutdown, which started Dec. 22, 2018, is creating uncertainty for tens of thousands of low-income tenants who rely on the federal government to help pay their rent. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) hasn’t been able to renew about 1,650 contracts with private building owners who rent to low-income Americans and an ...

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San Antonio’s Daring New Policies for Affordable Housing


San Pedro Creek Lofts

Affordable housing is hard to find after home prices surged 25% in the past five years in San Antonio (64% Latino), the San Antonio Express-News reports. About 165,000 people in San Antonio are "overburdened" with housing expenses. They spend more than 30% of their income on rent, mortgage payments, and other costs associated with housing, such as electricity, according to The Rivard Report. This is a threat to a city expected to grow by a million people in the next 20 years. “Just like water, energy and transportation policy, we have to make investments in housing in order to spur inclusive development that delivers prosperity for our entire community," San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg. How is the city tackling housing? San Antonio OKs Policy Framework, Funding for ...

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Work Related Exposures May Increase Latinos’ Risk for Heart Disease



Where you live and work can greatly impact your health and well being and potentially even one's risk for heart disease. Latinos exposed to heavy metals at work are twice as likely to have cardiovascular disease than those who aren’t, according to a recent publication. Such exposures can have dire consequences both in the short and long term. In fact, cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the leading cause of mortality in the United States and western world for all groups and the number 2 cause of death for Hispanics/Latinos behind cancer, despite overall cancer rates being lower for Latinos compared to non-Hispanic Whites (NHWs). Work related exposures may increase the risk for CVD The study, published in Heart, found that heavy metal and pesticide exposures in the workplace ...

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3 Better Ways to Spend $168 Million than Parking Garages


The park-and-ride at TriMet’s Park Avenue MAX station in Southeast Portland built in 2015. Source: TriMet via Sightline

Michael Anderson is quite unhappy with Portland’s plans for $168 million worth of parking garages for “park-and-ride” users of its future 12-mile rail corridor. Anderson, an urban policy writer and analyst at the social justice nonprofit Sightline Institute, says garages are expensive, serve only a few transit riders, and drain money from more beneficial projects. He suggests three more efficient ways to spend the money while boosting transit ridership: mixed-income homes near transit bike infrastructure better bus and rail service. Anderson also encourages people in Portland Metro to advocate for these alternatives and speak up against the parking garage plans, and join local advocacy groups, like Portlanders for Parking Reform, Portland for Everyone, and ...

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The Midterms: Big Wins (and Losses) for Affordable Housing


affordable housing sign (via Associated Press)

U.S. housing is at its least affordable in 10 years, according to a recent report. So it was no surprise to see lots of affordable housing and rent control measures on local and state ballots during the Nov. 6 midterm election. Voters showed mixed results for affordable housing. Wins occurred in Texas, North Carolina, and Washington. Arizona suffered a big loss. California felt like a split decision. “Tremendous local and state victories on ballot initiatives to address homelessness and housing poverty mean new affordable homes for the people most in need and new alliances and momentum for bigger victories to come,” Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, said in a statement. “And yesterday proved that housing is a winning campaign ...

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Major Steps toward Affordable Housing in Austin, Texas


M Station affordable housing units in Austin, Texas (via Hatch + Ulland Owen Architects)

Access to safe, affordable housing is a priority for good health. Access to housing protects families and promotes feelings of security that can reduce stress. Affordable housing located near safe parks, full-service grocery stores, and living-wage employment helps to build community and encourages healthy eating and exercise. Two new initiatives will try to help solve the lack of affordable housing in Austin, Texas (34.5% Latino). $250 Million for Affordable Housing In November 2018, Austin voters overwhelmingly approved a $250 million bond for affordable housing. Here's where the money will go: $100 million for the Austin Housing Finance Corporation to buy land. The city then can give the land to affordable housing developers. $94 million to go to ...

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Colorado City Could Mandate More Affordable Housing


construction hard hat housing development

Longmont City Council preliminarily approved an ordinance that would mandate 12% of the livable square footage in a new residential development be dedicated to units affordable to low- and moderate-income home buyers and renters. Home buyers making 80 percent of the area median income and renters making 60 percent of the area median income can afford these units. The ordinance still needs final council approval. In many “big cities” in the United States, housing costs force some low-income and Latino families to make difficult financial decisions, new initiatives like these must be promoted in many cities. Longmont, Colo., has a population of 90,719 people with a median age of 36.9 and a median household income of $62,847. Longmont has 26% Latino population. The ...

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