Affordable Housing

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beautyfromashes
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Affordable Housing

Post by beautyfromashes » Sun Sep 09, 2018 9:07 am

There is beginning to be a stronger demand for affordable housing in the city. It will be a major topic in the upcoming mayoral election and candidates will be pushing plans to provide it. Unfortunately, TIF will be a major target. This is bad because this program has been instrumental to revitalizing the urban core and also brings large amounts of money to the city that can be used for services. Cutting it, or adding burdens to it that disencentivize development, will be bad for the city. Instead, we should make the city designate profits from TIFs (taxes received after payoff of TIF above initial tax receipts) to programs to help the poor instead of having them go into the general fund. Of course, the council won’t do it because they want the funds to spend on pet projects, but this would be a good way to continue development and help solve affordable housing.

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Re: Affordable Housing

Post by dnweava » Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:58 pm

The entire east side is affordable. We should make it more desirable rather than abandoning huge swaths of the city only to build more sprawl and government subsidized housing when its not needed.

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Re: Affordable Housing

Post by beautyfromashes » Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:05 pm


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Re: Affordable Housing

Post by flyingember » Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:01 am

I see a variety of items need to be done and none of them come with a cost to the city

1. accessory building apartments allowed. Stupid easy to do.

2. More multi-unit buildings mixed in. Even before we get to four-plexes and apartments, it would be easy for existing neighborhoods to allow a building that looks like a detached house with two small 1BR apartments stacked one on top of the other on every residential lot in the city. 2x 1BR for two single people is the same amount of cars as a married couple.

3. Maximum side setbacks citywide. I measured a random suburban street north of 100th in Clay County. They needed ~85 feet across per house from lot line to lot line and each side was an average 12 foot setback. If the setback changes to 6 feet maximum every 6 to 7 homes becomes 7 or 8 homes. That's an increase in density without changing *anything* else about the neighborhood. Do that hundreds of times and it helps.

4. scrap the lot size zoning rules. An R-80 is an 80k sq foot lot. You can't build a two-unit house on that much land. It also makes no sense that a lot that large the house can't be more than 35 feet tall. The house could be 100 feet from the street and 40 feet is too tall?

5. No parking minimums by law, allow shared parking with legal access. This doesn't mean a developer or owner can't require it themselves. There's a good example of this at 21st/Iron in NKC where there's two houses. One lot has *no* parking and the other has a driveway and small parking lot with six spots. The two homes share the parking. Should see this across more of the city. Would be an easy way to infill deep corner lots. Split into two homes on two legal lots, one keeps a small parking lot with it.

6. No front setback anywhere in the urban core, recreate and use alleys. Go look at 25th and Michigan (just east of 71) and imagine that block with no front setback and shared parking in the rear. It would feel entirely different

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Re: Affordable Housing

Post by TrolliKC » Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:41 pm

flyingember wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:01 am

6. No front setback anywhere in the urban core, recreate and use alleys. Go look at 25th and Michigan (just east of 71) and imagine that block with no front setback and shared parking in the rear. It would feel entirely different
Agree about 25th and Michigan. A good start with house design, but with the setback and the awkward design drives - this street ends up looking awful IMO. Rear parking via alley creates an entirely different feel to the neighborhood.

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Re: Affordable Housing

Post by FangKC » Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:49 pm

Things need to change. Depending on the city, or neighborhood, anywhere from 40-50 percent of adults now live alone in cities. This fact alone can create housing scarcity, and the demand for places to live--for everyone. It puts a lot of pressure on low-income families because they are competing against more affluent singles for older houses or apartments to rent or buy. It certain drives up prices since new housing needs to be constructed to meet demand, and newly-constructed housing is the most expensive to buy or rent. The most affordable housing is an older structure that has the mortgage paid off.

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Re: Affordable Housing

Post by FangKC » Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:39 pm

Housing Study: For Low-Income Residents, Kansas City Is Far From Affordable

http://www.kcur.org/post/housing-study- ... e#stream/0

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Re: Affordable Housing

Post by FangKC » Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:46 pm

Kansas City Attempting To Tackle Large Issue With Affordable Housing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVxMt3jg6pA

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beautyfromashes
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Re: Affordable Housing

Post by beautyfromashes » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:21 pm

Under what income do you get federal housing assistance? I’m trying to see what types of rental units we are looking to build. The article gives $30k as an example with the desire to keep rents under 30% of income. That would be $750/month which seems like a good amount for a single person living with a roommate or dual income household. MAC Properties has many that would fill this requirement. Not sure how new construction could ever meet that requirement goal without tax subsidies.

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Re: Affordable Housing

Post by flyingember » Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:18 am

beautyfromashes wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:21 pm
Under what income do you get federal housing assistance? I’m trying to see what types of rental units we are looking to build. The article gives $30k as an example with the desire to keep rents under 30% of income. That would be $750/month which seems like a good amount for a single person living with a roommate or dual income household. MAC Properties has many that would fill this requirement. Not sure how new construction could ever meet that requirement goal without tax subsidies.
It varies

https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/pub ... fact_sheet
This says in general it's 50% but 75% must go to the 30% median mark

https://www.huduser.gov/portal/datasets ... ummary.odn
This says the area median is $80k. Very low looks to be 50%, extremely low 30%

For a single person with a roommate, 30% rent would be $840, each paying half. So I would say $750-900 monthly is a good range.

Someone can easily take a house with three bedrooms and lightly renovate it to create 3x 1BR apartments with shared kitchen and bathroom setup and meet or beat that price range. I lived in a place like that in college, it wasn't great but it was affordable.

I would put multi resident living in single family homes as the greatest opportunity right now for affordable housing.

The single person qualification is somewhere around $10.50/hour so a lot of people qualify.

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Re: Affordable Housing

Post by beautyfromashes » Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:06 pm

flyingember wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:18 am
For a single person with a roommate, 30% rent would be $840, each paying half. So I would say $750-900 monthly is a good range.
But, if each were only paying half, $420/month, that would only be 15% of income, and not be in the affordable range they are pushing. Are we looking to build single person apartments at $420/month? That seems almost impossible in the city.

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Re: Affordable Housing

Post by loftguy » Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:49 pm

Develop creative versions of Single Room Occupancy (SRO).

Essentially dry-docked houseboat living with shared amenities.

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Re: Affordable Housing

Post by flyingember » Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:37 pm

beautyfromashes wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:06 pm
flyingember wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:18 am
For a single person with a roommate, 30% rent would be $840, each paying half. So I would say $750-900 monthly is a good range.
But, if each were only paying half, $420/month, that would only be 15% of income, and not be in the affordable range they are pushing. Are we looking to build single person apartments at $420/month? That seems almost impossible in the city.
Not everyone can afford to live on their own. (pun intended) Most of the cost savings is in adding bedrooms instead of additional full units. Affordable for a single person comes with tradeoff and that means not getting a full 1BR at that price.

You can find 3BR units at that price range per person
https://www.wildoakapts.com/floorplans

Or you can cut the space down. Ikea has examples of 240 and 380 sq ft micro homes. It's not going to be exactly an even scale down of a 3BR in cost but you'll get close. I can absolutely picture a building on the east side full of these size of spaces.

The affordability number today is about keeping the top of the market down so lower end buildings are less likely to raise rates. It's probably mostly to stop developers from calling insanely high numbers as affordable for incentives like they had been doing.

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Re: Affordable Housing

Post by beautyfromashes » Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:59 pm

flyingember wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:37 pm
The affordability number today is about keeping the top of the market down so lower end buildings are less likely to raise rates. It's probably mostly to stop developers from calling insanely high numbers as affordable for incentives like they had been doing.
So, you’re thinking the initiatives are more a push to get developers to build for the middle class vs trying to get ‘affordable’ housing for the desperately poor? Personally, I don’t like mixing development incentives directly with housing for the poor. One is an investment that should produce a healthy return for the city, the other should be providing for those in need. Putting a low income person in 3 Light doesn’t make sense when the money spent on that unit could house 10 people in affordable basic units in Midtown. Incentivize money making units that will yield tax funds and use those funds to provide for those in need.

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Re: Affordable Housing

Post by missingkc » Fri Sep 14, 2018 6:58 pm

Anyone else remember back in the 70s when owners of large houses in neighborhoods such as Hyde Park were required to reduce the number of units? My personal knowledge is of a home on Janssen Place that was required to tear out two kitchens to reduce the number of rentable units from 5 to 3. Now, I'm not sure that was a bad move for the neighborhood, but it certainly didn't advance the cause of affordable housing. Of course, no one was thinking about that in the 70s. Affordable house was available everywhere in midtown at the time.

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Re: Affordable Housing

Post by missingkc » Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:09 pm

Anyone else remember back in the 70s when owners of large houses in neighborhoods such as Hyde Park were required to reduce the number of units? My personal knowledge is of a home on Janssen Place that was required to tear out two kitchens to reduce the number of rentable units from 5 to 3. Now, I'm not sure that was a bad move for the neighborhood, but it certainly didn't advance the cause of affordable housing. Of course, no one was thinking about that in the 70s. Affordable housing was available everywhere in midtown at the time. I suspect it still is. I suspect the whole current "affordable housing" furor no more than a political ploy. When I lived in a 3rd floor apartment at 39th and Harrison, I was completely happy. I had no desire to live in affordable housing in Santa Fe tower. Why would I?

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Re: Affordable Housing

Post by Highlander » Sat Sep 15, 2018 12:03 am

beautyfromashes wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:59 pm
flyingember wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:37 pm
The affordability number today is about keeping the top of the market down so lower end buildings are less likely to raise rates. It's probably mostly to stop developers from calling insanely high numbers as affordable for incentives like they had been doing.
Putting a low income person in 3 Light doesn’t make sense when the money spent on that unit could house 10 people in affordable basic units in Midtown. Incentivize money making units that will yield tax funds and use those funds to provide for those in need.
That would never happen simply because if you burden high rise apartments with a requirement that 15% be affordable or low rent housing, none will be built in the future. That's putting a fairly significant burden on a large long pay-out investment and I suspect even with incentives, few if any new builds would ever be economic with those terms. Maybe some two or three floor wooden structures and/or rehabs might clear economic hurdles but it would be a tough requirement for a high rise. Cordish wasn't going to build Three Light with such terms but they did accept them for the Midland units.

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Re: Affordable Housing

Post by FangKC » Sat Sep 15, 2018 3:26 am

If You're Going to Allow ADUs, Don't Make It So Hard to Build One

https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/201 ... -build-one

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Re: Affordable Housing

Post by FangKC » Sat Sep 15, 2018 3:57 am

The fastest way to create affordable housing is to renovate existing vacant houses that are not too far gone. I don't know what the current count is, but the last I heard was that were up to 14,000 vacant houses in KCMO. Some are owned by the Land Bank. Renovating an existing vacant house is often cheaper than building a new domicile. There aren't enough people trained in renovating old houses. One of the City's approaches should be job-training programs that teach people skills in renovating houses.

Another way to provide affordable housing quickly is to take vacant, or under-utilized, land and zone it for trailer courts. The first place that comes to mind for this type of repurposing would be the I-70 Drive Inn Theater that just closed down.

https://www.google.com/maps/@39.0641006 ... a=!3m1!1e3

The rents on some of these "affordable projects" being done around the City are still too expensive for a lot of low-income people. I am see constant complaining on my neighborhood Facebook page of what are considered affordable housing projects. Many don't realize that for a sizeable percentage of the working poor, there is a backlog to even get a Section 8 voucher. It can take years, and people need a cheap place to live now.

I do think there needs to be reconsideration about housing types. I think for many people, dormitory-style living would work for them. There could be different levels (shared floor bathrooms vs. in-suite). A lot of people would be just fine with living in a room without a full kitchen, and eating in a dorm cafeteria that had expanded hours. One might even put a 24-hour-type restaurant on the first floor facing the street that could also serve the public. Another strategy would be to put a Waffle House, Denny's, or IHOP in the building that would provide 24-hour food service availability to the tenants, and they could get buy on having a small refrigerator in their apartment for snacks.

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Re: Affordable Housing

Post by flyingember » Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:59 am

FangKC wrote:
Sat Sep 15, 2018 3:57 am
The fastest way to create affordable housing is to renovate existing vacant houses that are not too far gone. I don't know what the current count is, but the last I heard was that were up to 14,000 vacant houses in KCMO. Some are owned by the Land Bank. Renovating an existing vacant house is often cheaper than building a new domicile.
Roughly 1/3 of a home's total cost is from digging the foundation to roof sheathing and if those are solid it's absolutely worth a rehab. There's too many ways for a place to have rental grade everything and be super affordable if they're keeping all the walls the same.

While we were building we watched wood costs go up every month. Apparently our framing would have been 10% more expensive if we had waited just 6 months.

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