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Good reads - October round-up
October 22, 2015

Two good articles about affordable housing - in the first, the Star Tribune reports that the Twin Cities' large health care systems are examining the links between housing and health.In the second, The Atlantic's Kriston Capps busts the myth that developers - even in high rent urban areas -- can't make a buck if they must include affordable units in their buildings.

Hospital CEOs target unhealthy housing by Christopher Snowbeck, Star Tribune Oct. 6, 2015

Housing and health are intertwined. Low-income people who struggle to find and keep safe, affordable housing are more likely to suffer health consequences. The area’s large health systems are coming to terms with the link and taking steps to support patients’ needs outside of their hospitals and clinics.

Dr. Penny Wheeler, the chief executive at Minneapolis-based Allina Health System, recalls a pregnant patient who needed bed rest – the only problem was, she didn’t have a bed. Allina’s Abbott Northwestern Hospital has reached out to the local community to learn about neighbors’ health obstacles.

“What they told us is … we want to be safe,” Wheeler said. “We want to have a roof over our head. We want to have food to eat on our table. And we want to have a community that we feel is supportive.”

Affordable housing is a choice (and the numbers prove it), by Kriston Capps, The Atlantic, Oct. 19, 2015

Kriston Capps counters conventional wisdom that developers can’t profit when they include affordable housing in their developments. An Oakland-based housing research organization has created an “inclusionary calculator” that busts the myth that including affordable units in larger projects is untenable. It allows users to simulate the balance sheets for market-rate developments for any number of scenarios.

“No matter what kind of market scenario you run, developers can still produce market-rate housing developments that include affordable housing, according to George W. “Mac” McCarthy, president of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.”

The Lincoln Institute tested the policy in major markets across the country.

“In almost every case, we could target a 10 percent profit for the developer and still leave at least 12 to 15 percent of the units to be affordable,” McCarthy says.