POVERTY THOUGHT FORCE WORLD CAFÉ ON Housing & Homelessness
Policy Ideas Generated
Question 1: How might we enhance access to decent, affordable housing for all Winston-Salem residents? What incentives (or regulatory requirements) might encourage developers to increase the stock of affordable housing, and encourage landlords to keep buildings in good shape?
1. Investing incentives for landlords.
2. Sponsored/ subsidized landlord-tenant education seminars.
3. Increase inspection frequency/ accountability for low-income housing.
4. Assist with utility costs for low-income housing, as these are often high due to poor construction and infrastructure.
5. Withhold Section 8 benefits/ rent from repeat-offending or poorly reviewed landlords.
6. Start a nonprofit to mediate and educate between landlords and tenants.
7. Increase staffing for HUD and WSHA.
8. Better accountability process for landlords with the city.
9. Hire/ solicit volunteer arbitrators to help with landlord-tenant negotiations. These are often difficult, especially with elderly or undereducated tenants and nonresponsive landlords.
10. Need to help incentivize landlords to develop in “stigmatized” areas.
11. Need better enforcement on the city’s part against poor or manipulative landlords.
12. If developers accept tax incentives, they must be required to make a portion of their units subsidized or low-income housing.
13. City has to crack down on “slum lords.”
14. Education programs on home maintenance/ homemaking skills. Needed especially for younger tenants and first-time buyers/ renters.
15. [From WSHA:] Need dedicated case managers for tenants. No oversight or accountability in current system.
16. Attack stigma, particularly racial biases, around WSHA/ Section 8 etc.
17. Education on the importance of renter’s insurance and tenant’s rights.
1. Provide transportation and alternatives for low-income developments.
2. Incentivize employees to compensate/ incentivize employees to live downtown.
3. Push back against developers who market only to specific clientele.
4. Developers get a tax break to attract tenants of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds.
5. Need to change narrative about poverty- more than just applying policy.
6. Need dedicated, localized research to determine which areas have the most employment opportunity, and subsequently encourage developers to build in these areas.
7. Fix the downtown food desert.
8. Mandate a percentage of downtown housing to be low-income.
9. Create more jobs which will accept those with a criminal record.
10. Instead of rejecting applicants based on drugs and alcohol, work with them to help overcome their problems.
11. City PR campaign to put a face to poverty.
12. Require big businesses to have employee housing programs.
13. Subsidies/ bonuses to those who move downtown.
14. Buy old/ abandoned buildings and turn them into affordable housing.
15. Fix public transportation, especially downtown.
1. Identify what counts as a qualified resident
2. Make livable home spaces without safety hazards
3. Housing quality standards
4. Utilize community funds for repairing homes
5. Educating home ownership to prevent draining resources
6. Standards for who can be landlords, and what those landlords have an obligation to do
7. Properly manage and upkeep the property for the residents they rent to
8. Help people establish credit
9. Provide information about resources
10. City should put in money to enhance a less desirable area instead of continuously investing in the already nice areas of town
11. a certain number of homes had to go to people with low income; we should bring that back
12. programs being advertised
13. Identify what counts as a qualified resident
14. Make livable home spaces without safety hazards
15. Housing quality standards
16. Utilize community funds for repairing homes
17. Educating home ownership to prevent draining resources
18. Standards for who can be landlords, and what those landlords have an obligation to do
19. Properly manage and upkeep the property for the residents they rent to
20. Help people establish credit
21. Provide information about resources
22. City should put in money to enhance a less desirable area instead of continuously investing in the already nice areas of town
23. A certain number of homes had to go to people with low income; we should bring that back
24. Programs being advertised
25. Do something in schools to help kids learn skillsets that could help them in getting a home later in life… maybe in high school students can learn more about planning for home ownership and what steps need to be taken
26. Habitat for Humanity provides some information about programs
27. programs match the funds that a family saves which is incentive
28. advertise their programs on social media
29. Banks supply programs for financial literacy
30. ESR budgeting class
31. one-stop place in town that would provide a compilation of all these services in one place; maybe a library
32. One Line: phone book for agencies and organizations
33. city needs to know what all these other agencies are doing in addition to what the city is doing
34. get more involved visiting the community: they need to tell other organizations what they’re doing so those organizations can pass on the information about other resources to people looking for hel
35. One Stop place is ideal
36. interconnectedness between organizations
37. Website of resources
38. helping move people into rental housing
39. Voucher programs through housing program
40. Habitat for Humanity is good for those who are ready for homeownership and Section 8 is good for those who are not ready for long-term housing, but rapid rehousing is the middle of that and it needs to be expanded
41. Hope 6 project: transitioned people from public housing to mixed income housing by getting their credit up through education and classes about home ownership
42. a house with 1-2% interest rate, but now what is it? 30%? 10%? Is there any way to change that
43. Banks often call you because they want you to remortgage, so they need to reach these people (low-income individuals)
44. convince people that they can save money
45. Use of Social Media
46. decentralize poverty (it’s in specific areas)
47. help people build their knowledge over time by attending classes
48. outreach services so people don’t necessarily have to scour the community for resources, but rather, the resources come to them (at a local community center nearby or something)
49. educate people about what is required in owning a home
50. Communities that have been granted access by 10% of New Housing units being subsidized housing (Inclusionary Zoning)
○ Serves Impoverished, Disabled, Limited Income
○ Chapel Hill as a case study
51. HUD Funding
○ Fix Old Motels into living spaces; Supporting organizations that would
○ Old and Empty Buildings have to be Renovated or Broken Down
○ Many families can be fit into these spaces
○ Revitalized housing; Make homes affordable
○ Vacant and Foreclosed Homes Renovated
52. Local v. Federal Funding
53. Supportive Housing Program: Funded by Feds
○ Truly Homeless, Mental Illness, Substance Abuse
54. Adding More Workforce Housing
○ Close Affordable Housing Gap
○ City Council to increase incentives
○ Developers build quality housing
○ Because Developers are all about money, provide incentives
55. Stricter Laws, Incentives, Education Programs, Forms of Accountability for Landlords / To protect homeowners
56. John Doe Project
57. Ideologies of Landlords have to be changed
○ Rent houses have to be rentable because of the basic fact that they are providing housing for humans
58. Incentives to developers for commercial development
○ Given back to community to provide affordable housing
59. TURN: Transforming Urban Residential Neighborhoods
60. Energy and Efficiency and Weatherization of Homes
61. Allow people to plant food on their rented or owned land – Tackles food insecurity
62. decent/affordable housing might be in the form of more room at shelters
63. “One-stop-shop” that presents information on all affordable low income rentals in one spot
64. Ban the Box (ban requiring indication of past criminal charges on housing applications) housing options will then not be limited by past criminal records
65. Willing landlords comes from an applicant with community connections and/or advocates
66. A need for a housing facility specific to teen parents
67. create a program that creates a bit of a “safety net” for people to move to more affordable living when they very first fall behind on rent
68. a neighborhood boarding house with flexible rates
69. A monetary incentive for landlords from the city
70. A visit from city authority (mayor) to all affordable housing and publicize the findings (whether living situations are livable or not)… this worked in Greensboro
71. A program to provide affordable repairs for landlords
72. Need to incentivize people to build smaller (more affordable) living areas
73. necessary to keep living conditions in good repair
74. partnership in building housing and maintenance?
75. need a change in mindset: smaller living areas are appropriate and ok
76. senior/artist gateway colony: an apartment community active within intself with programs at the complex to promote a healthy living environment
77. develop the neighborhood around Thurmann Street
78. form/strengthen relationships between schools and universities to address issues
79. involve the “creative community” of artists
80. Divide property taxes between three stages – development, improvement, land
○ More tax on land, less on development and improvement
○ Increases incentives to build leads to more supply and lower prices
81. change mindsets – increase drive and motivation within individuals to improve their living conditions
82. Require 10% of each neighborhood to be for low-income housing (a model from Washington D.C.)
83. increase the jurisdiction of the Housing Authority of WS to regulate wealthier neighborhoods that are outside the city limits
84. increase amount of jobs that provide livable wage
85. create more reliable and more extensive public transportation
Question 2: How best to enhance qualified residents’ participation in existing programs of housing support? These include education about the benefits of homeownership and efforts to enable those in public housing to transition to the housing market. Relatedly: how to expand our most successful housing-support programs?
1. Need better cooperation between agencies, so people can access services
2. Packet of community resources- helpful for families to get linked to services
3. People need to be able to have time off if they are sick and still be able to make money
4. Algorithm that bases things off of what people need (whether they are a mother, pregnant, homeless, etc.)
5. Network of people that offer advocacy and support in order to get someone into housing
6. Track family with how they did in supportive housing- are they ready to become homeowners?
7. Step 1: supportive housing, Step 2: homeownership- can you take the next step?
8. Grant housing navigator- steps into support people in order to maintain permanent housing
9. People who work for agencies need to find agencies so that they can expose them to those in need
10. Central database (211)
11. Case manager can ensure that someone can make the transition from institution to home
12. We need a system that infuses professionals and volunteers
13. Match volunteer up with someone who needs help so they can assist that person
14. Need to feed services to students so they know what they are eligible for (scholarships, student loans)
15. Bring programs to public housing units and make it approachable (offer food, coffee, etc.)
16. Have a volunteer that they are comfortable with work with them and take them to these places
17. Get people in the doors of church (for instance) and educate them and give them the hope to want better
18. Individual development account (classes about budgeting)
19. Center for homeownership
20. Walk people through the process because they are scared to do it on their own- coaching
21. More 1-on-1 focus, be an advocate for the resident
22. One-stop-shop, which is access to all resources in one place to ease the process
Question 3: What new or expanded policy approaches could help reduce or even eliminate homelessness in Winston-Salem?
1. Incentivize more affordable housing
2. Redevelopment of boarded houses around the city
3. Raise minimum wage
4. Smaller housing options
5. Ban the box - grace period for people with a criminal record while they are transitioning
6. Coordinated intake centers - send them to case managers and use rapid housing to try and put them in a house first
7. Re-entry programs for people coming out of jail/prison
8. Veteran homelessness
9. Funding for addiction + mental illness programs
10. Parenting classes like planned parenthood
11. Better studies of homelessness: who, how long, why
12. Financial literacy education
13. Expand medicaid so healthcare costs dont result in homelessness
14. Increase homeless services for mothers with children
15. Increase job training and skills workshops so people have capabilities (think goodwill)
16. Increase job training and skills workshops so people have capabilities (think goodwill)
17. Raise poverty income guidelines with raising minimum wage
a. Making it a living wage, more jobs available
18. alcohol / drug-free housing
19. Get on employers to look at backgrounds less harshly similar to credit background check
20. Rate control, not allow people to inflate rent prices
21. Tiny House movement, could be solution to housing
22. Tax Breaks for single individuals could help
23. Look beyond government as a partner
○ Corporations, local solutions
24. Biggest need, permanent supportive housing
25. support via social worker to help make sure they are going to the doctor, paying bills, etc
26. Make expungement more easily available
27. Making headway on addiction would be a huge help
28. Rapid Rehousing
29. People in prison aren’t equipped to enter a society after being in for a long time
○ Could be beneficialto put money on front end, similar to military personnel
30. Social workers to help map a plan for each individual (each case is different)
31. Housing first model
32. Coordinate a list of things working well in Winston Salem, match people based on needs with appropriate aid (assessment, not1st come, 1st served)
33. Employers of Winston Salem, work with bethesda or homeless shelter, to get people jobs or on their feet quickly
34. Develop a landlord base that would be willing to help with homeless situations
35. Maybe charity / tax breaks for landlords
36. Access to food (community gardens)
37. Transportation as an issue
○ Access, Affordability
38. create affordable housing by new development
39. Transportation policy with bus station location and transportation authority
40. Mixed income housing which would eliminate segregation within the community
41. Community policy that rewards and encourages mixed development within the community
42. improvement on Winston Salem Section 8* on affordable housing conditions and location
43. Mixing Section 8 housing within the community to eliminate segregation
44. Create school policy because segregation in school is impacting housing segregation
45. Develop funding for affording housing to increase # of affordable housing
46. stop the landlords from doing this and create a trust fund in which those interests would be put into the trust fund in order to create a deposit for affordable housing
47. help the homeless with education
48. help the homeless with education
49. think about choice neighborhoods and refurbish homes to gain a greater image of affordable housing
50. Provide dentist, school, private and public initiatives, free health education clinic.
51. Give people options to pick where they want to live—ability to have make a decision about their life, gain a sense of control
52. Move some affordable housing to Robinhood Rd to decrease segregation
53. Transportation close to housing for people who don’t have cars
54. Play off the veteran population with their success because they are respected
55. Look into and transfer the veteran policy to the homelessness programs
56. EXPOSURE of homelessness to the community is key
57. Increase funding of section 8 and HUD (housing and urban development)
58. Get rid of the box on lease applications that require that they check if they’ve been incarcerated. Same applies to sex offenders
59. pay a living wage
60. Get the community involved. Reaching out to churches/ faith based communities that are passionate about the cause and are willing to help sponsor housing
61. minority faith based communities and get them involved with the cause. Community involvement in advocacy for this issue is key. Faith based communities can act like resource centers and networking with people who are willing to help are essential.
62. infrastructure surround low income housing so that people can also work, shop, etc. in the same community where they live
63. Diversify developments such that some of it is affordable housing but not all of it.
64. Disincentivize poor living conditions by fining landlords and requiring regulatory health inspections.
65. Increase new forms of residential tenures like coops
66. Federal grants to subsidize housing
67. Add mixed communities: low income housing with nearby mid/high income housing.
68. Government subsidies with tax breaks for low income housing.
69. Grants and incentives should go towards fixing up empty boarded up apartments in low income areas where high income people wouldn’t go to live.
70. Open up currently empty historical buildings as affordable housing and make the rent income based.
71. Tap into underutilized programs and available grants.
72. Take a look at old programs to improve them and change their “bad name”