3 Better Ways to Spend $168 Billion 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 billion 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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The Upstream-Downstream Parable for Health Equity


upstream downstream parable for public health

Public health advocates often talk about health in an “upstream-downstream” fashion. They want to highlight the importance of health promotion and the influence of social, economic, environmental and cultural factors health equity for Latino and all people. It is a parable: A man and a woman were fishing on the river bank when they saw a woman struggling in the current. They rescued her. Soon, they saw a man struggling. They rescued him, too. This continued all afternoon. Finally, the exhausted pair decided to go upstream to find out where and why so many people were falling in. They discovered a beautiful overlook along the river’s edge without any warning signs or protective barriers. The couple went to community leaders to report the number of victims they had rescued ...

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Immigration-Informed CHWs Link Families to Economic, Social, Legal Supports


Samantha Morton Project DULCE

No money. No quality childcare. No social or legal support. These big stressors plague many parents, and can spur domestic violence and child maltreatment, hampering a child’s early and future development. Fortunately, Project DULCE is testing a unique solution. DULCE adds a “family specialist” to a child’s pediatric healthcare team. The Family Specialist builds relationships of trust and respect with enrolled families and connects families to social services if they want ─ like food stamps, housing vouchers, and legal services ─ to reduce economic stress and prevent maltreatment. Public health advocates often talk about health and quality of life in an “upstream-downstream” fashion. They want to highlight the importance of prevention and the influence of ...

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Adult Obesity Rates Surpass 35% in 7 States, While Other States See No Drop


obese, overweight adult

Adult obesity rates reached 35% in at least 7 states and saw increases in 31 states across the U.S. from 2012-2017, while no significant drops in obesity rates were seen in any state, over the last year. These are the latest findings from a report from the Trust for America's Health and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The report developed using data from the CDC's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) goes on to highlight how adult obesity continued to rise in at least 6 states: Iowa, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and South Carolina, between 2016-2017. In the case of Iowa and Oklahoma, this is the first time these states reach the 35% obesity threshold. The states with the highest levels of obesity by rank are: #1- West Virginia ...

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San Antonio Leaders Weigh Plan to Triple Funding for Affordable Housing


Woodland Ridge Apartments in Medical Center

“Affordable living” is a myth for many people in San Antonio, Texas (63.6% Latino). More than half of people here don’t make the $18 an hour needed to afford the median apartment rent. Population and job growth outpace housing by 2.3 to 1. Affordable housing is lacking. Evictions nearly doubled between 2013 and 2016. This threatens economic opportunity and health for many Latino families. That’s why the Mayor’s Housing Policy Task Force’s new report urges the San Antonio City Council to budget for new housing jobs, triple city spending on affordable housing production and rehabilitation, and even change the city’s charter to create new ways to pay for more affordable housing. “For us to make a significant impact, it’s going to require a long view and ...

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Hospital Treats Neighborhood as Patient, Tries to Cure Unstable Housing


Houses renovated by the redevelopment project lead by Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

In Columbus, Ohio (5.8% Latino), the diverse Southern Orchards neighborhood suffers racism, a lack of affordable housing, economic segregation, violent crime, poverty, and expensive medical use. That’s why the whole neighborhood has become a hospital’s “patient.” Nationwide Children’s Hospital saw “unsafe conditions” as their patient’s top symptom. They diagnosed their patient with “unstable housing,” which is known to cause many economic, social, and health hardships, especially for Latinos and other people of color. The hospital prescribed a “housing intervention” and spent the past 10 years revitalizing Columbus’ South Side and Southern Orchards neighborhood through its Healthy Neighborhoods Healthy Families (HNHF) partnership with faith, community, ...

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