Not a forgotten housing issue
Programming for those who are often overlooked
The news of the most recent community came at the most interesting time. Yesterday, I had a very heated conversation with my good friend Jeremy Pearce, who I hold in very high esteem. Along with being a soccer enthusiast, delightful character and sustainable financial adviser, Jeremy just so happens to be the Chair of an organization in Washington, DC called Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive, or HIPS for short.
We had just left a meeting that I host for environmental professionals, and we were due for a chat. He began our late-morning coffee by telling me about the non-profit HIPS, how he came to chair it, and their “harm reduction model” for aiding people who are primarily in the sex trade seek to reduce the likelihood for harm towards these people.
Some of the services and programming that they provided struck a nerve with me and that was where the “heated conversation” came into play… and a good ol’ healthy debate ensued. I didn’t understand why they would provide for just a “one more day” sort of mentality. I guess I would want to provide safety (and our ideas of safety are entirely different) and all of the resources for the whole person all at once, and well, I realize that it is a lot more difficult than that. Sometimes friends will have lively discussions, you know.
Harm reduction model includes housing resources
Mister Chairman went on to disclose, rather eloquently the mission statement of the organization that he is the current Board Chair is “to assist female, male, and transgender individuals engaging in sex work in Washington, DC in leading healthy lives. Using a harm reduction model, HIPS’ programs strive to address the impact that HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections, discrimination, poverty, violence and drug use have on the lives of individuals engaging in sex work.”
I asked, why do you lump LGBT in with the rest of your “clients”? His answer: “Ah, yes, [the LGBT community] are a huge constituent of ours, as they are often pushed out of their homes, run away and find themselves in the industry that HIPS seeks to bring the harm reduction model and services to. It is difficult to bring an entire life shift to a person, but if we can provide on a daily basis the safety of “one more day” then that is what we will provide.”
Of course, hopefully it is understood that this is in no way a generalization, but just a facet of this particular non-profit organization. I personally found this non-profit’s stance quite fascinating, and yet my heart sank for all of the people that the HIPS group works to provide daily services and resources for- even after a heated conversation.
Limited options for breaking the cycle
Since it seems to be a recurring theme in the LGBT community that housing and homelessness are an issue, not just for seniors, but for all ages, I found it highly interesting that my conversation with the chair of HIPS came on the same day that an announcement of a new community for the same group was announced for the City of Philadelphia, which is so very close in proximity to DC.
The fact of the matter is that housing is an issue which can span a lifetime for those in the LGBT community, and there are only two housing development projects that have been created to break the cycle.
New developments create hope
There are numerous programs to try to resolve individual need and counseling, but the actual housing communities are limited to the newly slated Washington Square West property which has broken ground in Philadelphia to house LGBT seniors and a Triangle Square in Hollywood, California.
Nathaniel Popkin of Hidden City Philadelphia has published an article which sheds some light on the detail of this new development concept in Philadelphia. Signage for the Triangle Square property as it was being constructed read “Supportive Housing Saves Lives;” this absolutely parallels what organizations such as HIPS do in their harm reduction model for providing valuable resources to communities which have in the past, been passed by.
Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home
When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?
Looking at the bigger picture
(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).
That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).
They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.
“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”
Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?
With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.
The average home age is higher than ever
(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.
With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.
Prices of new homes on the rise
Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.
Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?
The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.
Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes
(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.
Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.
So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.
1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues
It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.
Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.
2. Two major media brands emerge
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