I’ll be going back to doing these every week, or every other. I hope you enjoy some of what I found to be informative, important news stories.

Seattle has a “first come first served” housing law, whereby a landlord is required to take the first qualified tenant, regardless of race or other protected criteria. But is it a fair law?

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti says the state’s elimination of redevelopment authorities made LA’s housing situation worse. Many cities have spent money that should have been earmarked for housing on other projects and plans. Baltimore spent its mortgage settlement money on demolition, instead of creating new housing, or assisting homeowners whose homes went into foreclosure — despite Baltimore’s affordable housing crisis looming overhead.

Because April is Fair Housing month, lots of news stories about the Fair Housing Act of 1968, most predictably safe and cheery, despite the fact that segregation still persists in our cities and towns across the country — but this is, in fact, by design. That’s the part of the conversation most (white) people seem to leave out or gloss over. Sure, read the NYT Op-Ed piece linked here, but also watch this, and read this, to get even more perspective.

Portland, OR is a city known for high housing costs and gentrification. Instead of leaving the city to its own devices (and surrounding areas that may be struggling with housing affordability, too) — the Oregon House passed a resolution that allows Portland to leverage its $258 million housing fund, in order to create more affordable housing. Maybe someday Maryland legislators will understand the importance of housing affordability, and we’ll have innovative bond measures to create the funding. Sadly, though, it doesn’t appear it will be anytime soon.

Baltimore does, however, have a new law that requires landlords of single-family homes to register those homes, and also to obtain inspections annually. With the large amount of substandard rentals in Baltimore, this is a huge step towards making sure Baltimore families are living in safe and healthy housing.

Rent-to-Own deals usually sound too good to be true — because they are. Overwhelmingly, the tenants are low-income, purchasing from a landlord who knows the purchase will never be completed. If the story in the link sounds familiar to you, it’s the same scam many landlords were running in the 1930s to the 1960s, at the peak of sanctioned housing segregation. Buyer/renter beware.