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Homesearch Online Tools

Pros and Cons and how to make them better

Pro-Increases choice beyond "traditional" neighborhoods

Con-Promotes "tribalism"

Pro-Gives tenants a voice by permitting on line evaluations

Con-Online tools promote scams; may use your personal data against you.

 Do on line search services promote integrative moves or "tribalism"?
Remember when real estate was a neighborhood business like a corner store or the "community church" or parish?  That was when neighborhoods had an "ethnic" flavor and you needed to be an "insider" (or know an insider) to find a place to live in a particular community.  After WWII, with the advent of the highways and cheap gas, developers could create new communities far from "the inner city".  Legal segregation was not necessary...just place your community beyond the physical or social reach of unwanted minorities and you had a new ethnic enclave.  So fair housing laws were created to breakdown the new barriers.
    Now begins stage 2.  With the advent of BIG DATA, it's easier than ever to search for housing in places where nobody knows your name.  You don't need an "insider" to find housing in a community of people who are "like you" or in a community where there are "new opportunities".  These issues are wrestled out in two articles appearing this past week.  Both (in different ways) ask if on line search services promote integration and inclusion or reinforce "tribalism" (the new code word for "ethnic").

Federal Housing Policy (still) favors wealthy homeowners over low income renters.

Center for Budget and Policy Priorities recommends three course changing steps that could realign Federal policies to low income renter needs.
  • Most immediately, Congress should provide more resources in 2015 funding bills to restore Housing Choice Vouchers and other low-income rental assistance that was cut as a result of sequestration in 2013.
  • ...Congress should replace the mortgage interest deduction with a less-expensive, better-targeted credit that would trim subsidies for higher-income families while expanding them for middle- and low-income homeowners.
  • [when] Congress reforms the housing finance system...develop and rehabilitate affordable rental housing through the National Housing Trust Fund.