Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Calverton homeowners sue Suffolk over sewage system demands | Newsday

Calverton homeowners sue Suffolk over sewage system demands | Newsday:

"Homeowners at a Calverton town house complex have filed a federal lawsuit against Suffolk County in a dispute over a sewage treatment system that serves the development’s homes. Leaders of the Calverton Hills Homeowners Association say the county is requiring residents to install a new wastewater plant that would cost about $7 million — far more than many residents can afford. Landlords said about half of the complex’s approximately 1,000 residents are on some form of public assistance, and some units are in foreclosure. “It’s going to be a financial hardship for a lot of families that have an income less than the median income,” said Michelle Janlewicz, who owns and rents out three units. “Most people already owe more than the property is worth.”"

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It appears that this sewer system was installed by the developer in 1973. In 2005, the country told them that the system doesn't meet discharge standards and it was the HOA's responsibility to pay for replacing it. The HOA got a $2 million estimate on replacing the sewer system, but didn't do it, and now there are additional requirements that led to today's estimate of about $7 million. The HOA has raised $500,000-$600,000, but all they did is raise the assessments by $30 per month, which is small change compared to what associations typically do when they have to specially assess for major expenditures. Now they are suing to force the county--i.e., the taxpayers of the whole country--to pay for a new sewer system for this subdivision, which I suspect is unlikely to work. The county is saying that if the HOA doesn't pay for this and get it installed, they will close the subdivision.

I have been saying forever that many associations are going to go under because they don't have enough money in reserves to pay for inevitable repair and replacement of major private infrastructure for which they are responsible. People buy into associations with no understanding of the financial risk. Eventually things wear out, and the people who happen to own the units when that happens get stuck with the bill. This is why associations are supposed to get reserve studies done. It's tragic to see these situations, but unfortunately we will be seeing a lot more as the years go by. And this is why the whole subject of private infrastructure needs to be viewed as a public policy issue.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Disabled veteran kicked out of heated HOA meeting - KTNV.com Las Vegas

Disabled veteran kicked out of heated HOA meeting - KTNV.com Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) - A meeting to discuss the future of a popular park in the northwest part of the valley ended with two people being kicked out after things got heated.
Pop Squires Park is part of an HOA, but many in the public also enjoy it.  It's why many people were interested in a meeting hosted by Councilwoman Michele Fiore at the YMCA to discuss saving the park from being redeveloped into apartments.
Some at the meeting claimed as the meeting began, Fiore was hostile from the start, explaining that her staff was bullied and attacked at a previous meeting, and that this was a private HOA meeting and anyone there being disrupted would be removed.
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Insane right winger Michele Fiore, who made news for her coziness with the Bundy "ranch" anarchists, went full fascist at an HOA meeting and ordered public law enforcement officers to eject people from a private HOA meeting. 

Reclaiming Public Services | Transnational Institute

Reclaiming Public Services | Transnational Institute:

There is something called "remunicipalization," which means deprivatizing public services, and it is going on around the world where people decided that privatization wasn't working. One example is Paris, where they deprivatized their water system.  You can find many examples on a map if you follow that first link.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Who is the new face of American homeownership?

Who is the new face of American homeownership?: "New homeowners in 2015 were noticeably older than those in 2001, when the median age of new owners was 34 (Figure 1). Some of this is due to the general aging of the U.S. population–renters and established owners were also older in 2015 than the same groups in 2001–but the age distribution has changed more dramatically for new owners. In particular, the share of new homeowners under age 30 declined from 29 percent in 2001 to about 15 percent in 2015. During the same time, the share of all households under age 30 declined slightly from 13 percent to just under 10 percent..In 2015, 7.5 percent of new homeowners and 3.3 percent of all households lived in newly built housing. By contrast, in 2001, 25 percent of new homeowners lived in newly built housing, as did 8.5 percent of all households..Despite much media attention to millennials’ supposed preference for high-density urban living, the data suggests that most new homeowners still purchase single-family houses. The dearth of new housing development during the Great Recession and recovery–and the scarcity of new single-family homes in particular–may constrain both first-time homeowners and established homeowners looking to trade up."

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Housing construction virtually stopped during the recession, when it started again there were more apartments, lending standards became tougher, the job market for young people hasn't been all that great, and many of the ones with higher earning potential are paying off student loans. Experts keep predicting the end of the suburban dream and the return to the city, but people keep wanting to buy single-family homes in the suburbs.



Tuesday, October 10, 2017

'Housing Is Everybody's Problem'

'Housing Is Everybody's Problem': "Concord Park was Morris Milgram’s initial venture as a professional homebuilder. His motivations were idealistic: Milgram wanted to prove that multiracial suburbs were not only practical but also superior to segregated developments. From its groundbreaking in 1954 and well into the 1960s, Concord Park’s fortunes were closely tracked by progressive activists, scholars, and journalists (most friendly, but not all). Milgram would devote the rest of his career to building, promoting, and managing integrated housing. Although he is largely forgotten today, he counted among his supporters Martin Luther King, Jr. and Eleanor Roosevelt, as well as other humanitarian leaders of the era. By the time of his death, in 1997, he could rightly claim to have provided some 20,000 units of housing across the nation while adhering to staunch anti-discrimination — and actively pro-integration — policies."

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Ironically, a lot of what Milgram did in order to promote integration is illegal today because it was race-conscious.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Los Angeles Expects to Turn Away 96 Percent of Subsidized Housing Applicants – Mother Jones

Los Angeles Expects to Turn Away 96 Percent of Subsidized Housing Applicants – Mother Jones: "When Los Angeles opens applications to join its waitlist for subsidized housing vouchers in a couple of weeks, the city’s housing authority expects that it will receive more than 600,000 applications. According to the Los Angeles Times, the waitlist’s capacity is just 20,000, which means that 580,000 of those who apply will be told, more or less, ‘Sorry, better luck next time.’

The lucky 20,000 then stand to wait a up to a decade for a voucher to become available."

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I think we can safely call that a housing crisis, don't you? LA has what some say is the least affordable housing prices in the US. Some cities are higher in dollars, but not necessarily relative to income.