Extra Extra : Housing

Extra Extra Monday: Uneven assessments, National Guard misconduct, Chicago migration myth

Across Wisconsin, uneven property assessments fly in the face of fairness | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

By measure after measure, in cities, towns and villages across Wisconsin, property assessors are discounting uniformity and trampling on fairness, while officials with the state Department of Revenue do little to rectify the disparities, an investigation by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has found.

In dozens of communities, 20% or more of residential property taxes are being paid by the wrong people, according to the Journal Sentinel's analysis of Department of Revenue records for each of the state's 1,852 municipalities. The analysis considered communities ...

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7 children lived in filth despite child welfare visits

The Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare did not consider a home so filthy it had to be condemned an imminent threat to the seven children living inside, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel found.

The deplorable conditions prompted the district attorney’s office to charge a 26-year-old woman already on probation for child abuse with multiple counts of child neglect.

The family was already well-known by child protective services, according to court documents. Still, caseworkers did not raise any red flags about the conditions of their home, which included floors covered in excrement and walls crawling with bugs.

Many displaced by superstorm Sandy still wait for housing help

Seventeen months after Congress authorized up to $16 billion to fix homes wrecked by superstorm Sandy, tens of thousands of people still are living in damaged houses or paying rent on top of a mortgage as they wait for rebuilding help, reports The Wall Street Journal. About 15,000 New York City residents are seeking aid, but city officials say only 352 have so far received a check or city-provided home construction.

Notorious landlord has another problem to explain

One of Boston’s most notorious landlords is housing international high school students in a building for which he does not have a proper license and whose facade Boston University considered structurally unsound when it sold the property to him in 2006.

Anwar N. Faisal, who largely caters to student tenants in Boston and was among the subjects of a Globe Spotlight Team investigation last month, has been operating a dormitory on Commonwealth Avenue in Allston with a license intended for the New England Institute of Art.

Read the full story from The Boston Globe here.

Maintenance workers for troubled public housing system reaped thousands of dollars from dubious overtime

The Center for Investigative Reporting has uncovered more problems in Richmond, California's public housing system. Two maintenance workers, who also live in public housing, were found to have double-billed for tasks, billed for more hours than were worked and charged overtime during their regularly-scheduled shifts. Overtime paid to the two workers totaled more than $125,000 over four years.

All time sheets from the two workers were approved by the appropriate officials and it is still unclear if the two men were deliberately abusing the system. 

Detroit landlords cash in on rent aid, ignore tax bills

A Detroit News investigation found about 1 in 4 Detroit landlords paid to rent to poor families through the state’s Housing Choice Voucher program collectively owe the city at least $5 million in back taxes and probably much more. Federal and state guidelines for the rental assistance — known as Section 8 — don’t require that all landlords pay.

Read the entire story here.

Residents of 'uninhabitable' Calif. public housing complex to be relocated

Following a report by the Center for Investigative Reporting, the City Council of Richmond, Calif. voted to give residents of the Hacienda public housing complex vouchers to move into private housing. Tim Jones, executive director of the Richmond Housing Authority, called the bulding uninhabitable, and dozens of residents have complained of health problems due to mold.

Jones has blamed deteriorating conditions in public housing on the lack of federal funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The city said it will ask HUD for voucher funding. But if the city can't get the money from ...

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Va. official uses tax dollars to fund vacation

The former police chief of the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority appears to have charged a Las Vegas vacation to his public credit card, according to a report from Virginia TV station ABC 8 News.

The chief was scheduled to attend an annual training event in California, but his return tickets home were booked out of Las Vegas, the station found. The station examined credit card and travel reports, finding that the former chief used taxpayer money to pay for plane tickets for his wife as well as a handful of other, smaller expenses.

Last fall officials suspended the police ...

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After NYT series, officials to transfer hundreds of children out of ‘deplorable’ shelters

City officials are moving more than 400 children and their families out of two city-owned shelters in the wake of a New York Times series about homeless children.

“For nearly three decades, thousands of children passed through Auburn and Catherine Street, living with cockroaches, spoiled food, violence and insufficient heat, even as inspectors warned that the shelters were unfit for children,” the Times wrote today.

“State and city inspectors have cited Auburn for over 400 violations — many of them repeated — for a range of hazards, including vermin, mold, lead exposure, an inoperable fire safety system, insufficient child care and the ...

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