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Housing and Urban Issues

Stresses on urban communities continue to affect housing, food security, child services, homelessness, business development and crime. Coverage includes stories about new solutions to how cities are run, how they develop as urban centers and about the people who live there.

This multipart investigation by St. Louis Public Radio, APM Reports and The Marshall Project explores how police in St. Louis — one of America’s deadliest cities — have struggled to solve killings, leaving thousands of family members without answers.
There are powerful arguments against cities spending lots of money on professional sports. On the other hand, the prestige of having home teams carries some tangible benefits.
The movement to build tiny houses has gotten a lot of attention, but it hasn’t gained much traction in the market. Still, there may be some applications for homes of just a few hundred square feet.
Proposed legislation would allow homeless people displaying mental health issues to be taken to a behavioral center against their will for assessment.
The 3,150 square-foot home recently hit the market in Burton, Texas, for $760,000. The printing company, Hive3D, is working on other 3D-printed housing options, including short-term rental “casitas” in Round Top.
The numbers don’t seem to support the need for new state laws cracking down on illegal occupancy. There are better things policymakers could do to deal with the larger issues around housing.
A new report shows foot traffic in downtown Philadelphia has reached 85 percent of pre-pandemic levels. Office occupancy is still down, but local leaders say it’s time to think differently about the future of downtown.
Colorado is the latest state to take a big swing at housing policy, with half a dozen housing-related bills approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Jared Polis over the last few weeks.
Many immigrants to the U.S. are fleeing violence and persecution. They are motivated to put down roots and become part of their new communities, but they need support.
A new city office focused on homeless services has given a boost to programs to help the unhoused in New Orleans.
An independent study found that more than 62,000 people received temporary housing under the program that moved medically vulnerable people from the streets and congregant shelters to empty hotel and motel rooms.
Proposed legislation would prohibit data center development along the 22-mile Beltline trail loop and from within a half mile of transit centers, including MARTA stations and BRT stops. Existing data centers would be unaffected.
Inside Winnie’s Wagon is a mobile classroom with learning tools, games and books all designed to provide the state’s homeless children, whose number has dramatically increased since the pandemic, with individualized academic support.
Lawmakers in Mountain West seek to provide permanent tax relief without harming local revenue.
Rural America’s population grew by 108,000 last year. Ninety percent of that growth was in the South.
There’s a reason why we have trouble solving crucial community problems. It’s not an easy one to deal with.
It’s a problem in urban and rural areas alike, but the greatest impact is in cities where it amounts to “food apartheid.” Our best chance of solving it is to get our communities engaged in creating solutions.
The court is considering whether criminal penalties for sleeping in public places amount to cruel and unusual punishment. But no ruling on the issues before the high court will change the nature or scope of the problem.
The state is home to roughly 111,000 subsidized units with affordability requirements and many will soon expire if the legislature is not able to grant municipalities a right of first refusal to buy subsidized-housing properties.
Cities there and in other states are building more housing of all types. They’re approaching housing on a regional basis. And there are other steps California could be taking to prevent homelessness.
Seattle’s mayor wants to revive the city center by opening much of it to businesses that have long been forbidden. It’s a move toward more lenient zoning that has been gathering steam in other places.
Gov. Kathy Hochul says she and lawmakers have a “conceptual agreement” that includes both tax breaks for developers and some new tenant protections. She failed to win approval of an ambitious housing package last year.
Other countries have dealt with similar challenges in different ways. The Danish model has some elements state and local governments in the U.S. could adapt.
Almost 700 children who were evicted from New York City’s migrant shelters on Jan. 9 are no longer enrolled in the city’s school system. Many educators are worried about how this will impact those students’ futures.
City and state leaders in the Milwaukee area are addressing a spike in reckless driving in a variety of ways, from increasing penalties to redesigning streets. The city has a goal of eliminating traffic deaths by 2037.
As with society as a whole, the homeless population is naturally aging. But now more people are falling into homelessness for the first time in their later years due to high housing costs.
City officials are optimistic that the pilot program will help connect homeless people with needed services and shelter or housing, as well as identify trash, graffiti, potholes and parking violations.
HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge announced her retirement last month, leaving the role to Acting Secretary Adrianne Todman. Housing has become yet another partisan issue, limiting hopes for ambitious policies.
Many center-city downtowns continue to struggle, but Americans, especially younger adults, still want walkability.
Housing used to be primarily a local concern. With millions of units needed, state policymakers are looking for ways to boost supply.
Biden’s budget would provide billions, along with heavy-handed regulation, but it won’t expand the supply. The way to build more housing and tame prices is for states to encourage local innovation.