Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Radio Smart Talk: Housing still an important issue

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Jun 11, 2013 2:08 PM

Radio Smart Talk for Wednesday, June 12:

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For as complicated as life is today, one of the basics of human survival is having a place to live.

For some, it could mean simply having a safe space to sleep at night with a roof over their heads.

Others opt to rent or lease the room, apartment, or house they call home.

But for millions of people, owning a home is a huge part of the American Dream.  It provides security and a sense of satisfaction that the homeowner has achieved enough success to be able to afford such a large investment.

And investments were how most looked at homes.  The common thought was houses always would increase in value and they could be used to leverage for more financial equity.

Then came the housing bubble of the last decade that sent the economy into a downward spiral.  Too many people had mortgages they couldn't afford and banks and other financial institutions gambled too often and lost.

Which brings us to today.  The economy and housing is improving but it still is a major issue for many Americans.

Liz Hersh of the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania will appear on Wednesday's Radio Smart Talk to discuss the Pennsylvania Housing Trust Fund, foreclosures, the housing market, homelessness, and how the federal budget sequester has impacted home ownership.

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Michael Kearney and Liz Hersh

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  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-06-12 08:44

    Email from Lisa, Goodville:

    1. It is disappointing that the definition of affordable housing given only applies to renting. Shouldn't it apply to home buying as well? It seems to me that it is very difficult for first time buyers to find anything affordable. Also, shouldn't the definition include the ability to save money? If people are not able to save money for purchasing permanent housing or for their retirement, then this definition offers little security beyond being just able to make ends meet.

    2. Your guests are making subsidized housing sound all rosy. I live near a section 8 rental unit that is deplorable. It consists of two home and a garage with an apartment above it on what was originally meant to be a single family property. It currently consists of 4 units, all sharing the same well and septic system, which is failing. Neither of the second floor apartments have fire escapes, heating is not on separate units, wiring is faulty at best, etc. I truly feel bad for the people living there. Is there anything the neighbors can do to force the landlord to make improvements? Please note that our local township municipality enjoys a lot of tax revenue from this slumlord and won't go after him.

    • tlan img 2013-06-13 09:19

      For Townships, they do NOT like it when you go and sign in for the agenda of the meetings, and ask questions.

      Ask about the water and sewage, ask about DEP regulations, and ask to have your answers read into the minutes of the next meeting if they "don't know".

      Ask how many properties that man has.

      Ask if they are all up to date for all codes.

      Ask where you can see the records since it is your money that he gets in Section 8 for the difference his tenants do not pay.

      It is a good 'racket' to get into for money but it runs down properties and blights communities because people don't understand how it works and in Adams County and Franklin County (administered by Adams)the properties were absolutely horrible, run down, dangerous and allowed by people who were not following regulations.

      Section 8 works more for Landlords-less for tenants, which are just a means for them to get government sponsored rent differences for their terrible, illegal, not up to code or Section 8 HQS Standards. If any Inspector or former Inspector complains to HUD, the Housing Office or Council and the property owner drop the property off the program until the investigation is over.

      Decent people started the Adams County Housing Authority and the Adams County Interfaith Housing Council.

      Then someone took over and was placed in charge of both at the same time and given a salary for both positions at the same time. The salary for just one position was more than twice what it was for the person who used to be there.

      Therefore, on the few days she showed up, she sat in the same chair, in the same office, and got paid twice.

      Then she allowed her staff to pass anything in the housing stock that was passed before, even if it was not meeting all the points in an HQS Inspection. It could lack electrical outlet covers, stair handrails, tie-downs for a trailer (that is bad in a windstorm), windows at the front door (one had black garbage bags taped up on it on Chambersburg Street).

      Write the DEP if you want to check on the septic. Townships respond very well to DEP. But someone has to "let DEP know".

      There is a distinct lack of new homes below $150K because land is so expensive and builders need to make a profit and banks need to make more than three times what people see as the sale price of a house.

      If PA wants more problems, it will allow and not change the above conditions and not put into place mechanisms for positive change.

      However, it is not something many people get excited about.

  • valy spin img 2015-03-15 03:20

    Many people like this idea, to live simply, without any worries. But the world in which we are living is insecure and unsafe and everyone wants to feel safe, at least, in his own home. The security systems from are high tech quality and every homeowner or business owner who uses them is pleased with this technology.

  • marlenechip img 2015-03-28 03:15

    You have admitted that housing is still a huge and important issue. Therefore, something must be done to create more homes for new couples and for families who search for a place to live. New apartment complexes are built in every community, the builders are using the best construction equipments like the ones from, the best construction tools and materials to finish the project on time. If this doesn't solve the housing problem, what would solve it?