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The Gropius house, Lincoln, Massachusetts

Thoreau's Cabin at Walden Pond, Concord, Massachusetts


Substandard Housing

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In The News

Fair Housing

The Dangers of Sleeping in Dumpsters

John Grisham Champions The Homeless

John Grisham first became interested in the problem of homelessness when he began to work on his forthcoming new book, "The Street Lawyer." In this week's edition of Newsweek, he talks about how his research took him into the world of the homeless.

Homelessness, says Grisham, "is a problem that is not going away. There are more homeless this year than last, and the number keeps growing. The new welfare overhaul our politicians are so proud of is sending more poor people into the streets. Many homeless people actually work, but not where they prefer. They are relegated to minimum-wage jobs with few hours and no benefits. The cost of housing is high, so they have a choice: sleep under a bridge or fight for a spot in a shelter" (John Grisham, Newsweek, February 9, 1998).

"About 40 percent of the homeless are substance abusers, and this number is expected to increase as rehab programs dwindle ... Many of the homeless are mothers with children, and shelters are not always equipped to handle them. Tonight many thousands of children will find a place to sleep without a decent bed, shelter or roof. They will sleep in trunks of old cars, and in parks I wouldn't walk through in daylight, and in abandoned buildings in inner-city combat zones" (John Grisham, Newsweek, February 9, 1998).

"There is now a new and growing threat. Some cities are in the midst of an effort to criminalize homelessness. Attempts have been made to outlaw panhandling, sleeping on park benches and sideqalks, eating near fountains and leaving personal property on public property. Some of these ill-advised ordinances have been struck down, so the cities selectively enforce existing laws ... Sweeps have become routine in some cities ... Everyone has to be somewhere. The problem of homelessness is not solved by removing the victims from our view. The issue borders on the brink of hopelesness" (John Grisham, Newsweek, February 9, 1998).

"... Is this the Third World, I asked myself? Or is this America?" (John Grisham, Newsweek, February 9, 1998).

The Price of Segregation

"FOR SALE: Three-bed-room, two-bath ranch-style house. Near good schools and good neighbors. Low taxes, low crime. Located in a white neighborhood. How much would you pay for this house?" (Richard Morin, The Washington Post, December 28, 1997).

"If you're white, a new study of housing prices suggests that you'll pay, on average, about 13 percent more than if the same house were located in a racially integrated part of town" (Richard Morin, The Washington Post, December 28, 1997).

That's the premium that whites appear to be willing to pay to live in the typical segregated white neighborhood, say Harvard economists David Cutler, Edward Glaeser and Jacob Vigdor. And it's this extra cost that's now primarily either reponsible for keeping America's neighborhoods predominantly black or white decades after legal segregation officially ended, Cutler agrees" (Richard Morin, The Washington Post, December 28, 1997).

"Cutler and his colleagues collected a mountain of data on every neighborhood in three American cities: Cleveland, Atlanta and Sacramento. They selected these cities because they were 'representative of the urban experience of the past century'" (Richard Morin, The Washington Post, December 28, 1997).

Karen Lilleleht Receives Award

"Karen Lilleleht, chairwoman of Albemarle County's housing committee, has received an award for her 27 years of work in helping Charlottesville-area residents secure affordable housing." She was awarded the annual Virginia Housing Leadership Award in November at the Governor's Conference on Housing in Roanoke (The Daily Progress, December 24, 1997).

Karen "was the first president of Albemarle Housing Improvement Program, in 1973, and is a past president of the Charlottesville Housing Foundation. She now serves on the Piedmont Housing Alliance's board of directors" (The Daily Progress, December 24, 1997).

The significance of Old and Middle-aged Housing in Charlottesville

"More than 8,000 housing units were constructed in Charlottesville from 1945 to 1970, nearly half of all Charlottesville's housing. Given its current age, and the fact that it will be 40 to 65 years old by 2010, I estimate that at least 50 percent of it will need major reinvestment just to maintain livable quality" (William Lucy, professor of architecture at the University of Virginia, for The Daily Progress, December 21, 1997).

"The 50 percent estimate (4,000 units), plus aging of the 1970's housing stock past the 30 year mark (at least 1,000 more units), equals 5,000 units that will need reinvestment, enlargement and upgrading" (William Lucy, professor of architecture at the University of Virginia, for The Daily Progress, December 21, 1997).

"Charlottesville cannot match Albemarle's lot sizes, scenic views or current dwelling sizes. To be competitive for middle-income home buyers, the city must capitalize on conevenience, quality services, good schools, walkability and ambiance. But Charlottesville must also have housing that is more competitive with Albemarle in quality and size" (William Lucy, professor of architecture at the University of Virginia, for The Daily Progress, December 21, 1997).

"These housing reinvestments are needed to retain and attract middle-income individuals and families to the city, because enough new housing will not be built to halt or reverse erosion of Charlottesvilles' middle-income population" (William Lucy, professor of architecture at the University of Virginia, for The Daily Progress, December 21, 1997).

Vehicular housing



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