Homelessness in CA jumps significantly

DID YOU KNOW? Housing affordability is fueling a crisis of homelessness in California, despite billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded efforts (higher property taxes in LA). Homelessness jumped 12% and 16% from a year ago in the county and city of Los Angeles, respectively. The tally showed 58,936 homeless people in Los Angeles County, which includes 36,300 in the city, the USA’s largest outdoor-homeless population. In San Francisco, the number rose 17% while Alameda County, which includes Oakland, saw a 43% increase. Homelessness grew 42% in San Jose over the past 2 years and 31% in Santa Clara County, the heart of Silicon Valley. New York is not far behind.

At the end of 2018, four California mayors from the largest cities got together to discuss this as a monumental crisis requiring state-wide effort.  See full article HERE.  Let’s hope someone can finally come up with solutions to make this grim situation better.

LGBT notable events in 2019… so far

In honor of Gay Pride this month, let’s review all the LGBT victories in 2019 so far.  I love seeing all these RIGHTS and bans finally happen.  HAPPY PRIDE MONTH!!

JANUARY

  • Same-sex marriage becomes legal in Austria.
  • A law banning conversion therapy on minors in the U.S. state of New Hampshire takes effect.
  • A law banning hate speech based on “transgender identity or expression” takes effect in Sweden.
  • A law allowing third gender option (“diverse”) on official documents takes effect in Germany.
  • A law allowing legal gender change without medical or psychological requirements, as well as third gender option (“X”) on birth certificates takes effect in New York City.
  • Angola decriminalizes homosexuality.
  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signs a bill banning the use of conversion therapy on minors. The law takes effect immediately, making New York the 15th U.S. state to enact such a ban.

FEBRUARY

  • Health Minister of Germany, Jens Spahn, calls for a ban on conversion therapy.
  • The French Parliament votes to replace the use of the words “mother” and “father” in official school forms with the terms “parent 1” and “parent 2”. Supporters of the legislation say it aims to guarantee equal treatment for pupils with parents of the same sex.
  • Same-sex marriage becomes legal in the Mexican state of Nuevo León, following a unanimous ruling by the National Supreme Court of Justice which struck down the state’s ban on such marriages as unconstitutional.

MARCH

  • The Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Austria allowed blessings of same-sex marriages.
  • The Reformed Church in Austria allowed blessings of same-sex marriages.
  • The Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Württemberg allowed blessing of same-sex unions in Christian churches.
  • Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, issues an executive order prohibiting mental health professionals from offering conversion therapy for minors.

APRIL

  • Health Minister of Spain, María Luisa Carcedo, calls for a ban on conversion therapy.

MAY

  • The Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Hanover allowed blessings of same-sex marriages.
  • The Evangelical Church of the Palatinate allowed blessings of same-sex marriages.
  • Same-sex marriage becomes legal in Taiwan.

For more information on LGBT rights, you can visit the Wikipedia page HERE.

Home Prices Still Rising

DID YOU KNOW? National home prices increased 3.6% year over year in April 2019 and are forecast to increase by 4.7% from April 2019 to April 2020. The April 2019 HPI gain was down from the April 2018 gain of 6.6%, but up slightly from the March 2019 gain of 3.5%, indicating that the rate of home price increases has flattened out. Prices in 39 states (including the District of Columbia) have risen above their pre-crisis peaks. Of the 7 states that had larger peak-to-trough declines than the national average, California, Idaho, and Michigan have surpassed their pre-crisis peaks as of April 2019. Connecticut home prices in April 2019 were the farthest below their all-time HPI high, still 18.8% below the July 2006 peak. (CoreLogic)

Babies born in the U.S. are at the lowest level in 32 years

DID YOU KNOW? 3.79 million babies were born in the U.S. in 2018, down 2% from 2017, a 32-year low. The total US fertility rate has generally remained below the “replacement” level of 2.1 since 1971. Without enough immigrants, the U.S. could see population declines and a workforce too small to support a growing segment of retirees. (WSJ)

Easy-breezy ways to eliminate more plastic

Our wonderful state of California has been at the forefront of limiting single-use plastics with statewide bans on plastic bags, straws and bottles.  And while this is amazing, I can’t help but notice how many single-use plastic bags are still lining garbage bins all around the city.   It’s so simple to come up with a solution to eliminate these.  Here are some suggestions from The San Francisco Department of the Environment on what to use instead.  These small changes can make a BIG impact on our environment.

Recycling Bin: no liner needed 

  • With dry and cleaned recyclables, no liner is needed for your recycling bin and recyclables can be emptied directly in your blue curbside bin.
  • Another option is to reuse a brown paper bag or cardboard box as many times as possible. When it gets soiled, compost it.

Composting Bin: find a compostable liner that works for you

  • Use a soiled cardboard to-go container or a milk carton, newspaper, or a reusable container (rinse as needed). 
  • Freeze your compostables and avoid all liners! Freezing compost prevents leaks and smells.
  • Purchase compostable bags to line your compost bin (make sure they are certified “compostable”). Learn how you can get a free kitchen compost pail from Recology

Landfill Bin: think small 

  • Very little actually belongs in this bin except for some chip bags or broken ceramics, so you can use any small container – even a coffee can! No liner is needed and your landfill materials can be dumped directly in your black bin. You can rinse the bin as necessary.

How well are you positioned?

The position of a home is a key factor when deciding what to buy. It’s also key when selling – doing so can help you highlight attributes that may be important in a buyer’s eyes, yet often ignored or not broadcast loudly enough.

For instance, all apartments in a large condo building share the exact same location, but position of each apartment is different. Low floor corners may get interesting street views and even some greenery. Upper floors may not have the same benefit, but they may enjoy better light. Proximity to amenities like the gym, pool or elevator can also make a difference. 

The lifestyle a home offers is also a consideration. What are the amenities?  What is within walking distance? How long will it take to drive to get to the things you need? I like to picture an imaginary day in a home hour-by-hour. It helps me speak about the property more effectively and develop better “word pictures” for any ads I’m writing. 

The immediate neighborhood is also important. I pay attention to how “settled” the block is and ask the Seller about their neighbors. I also like to see how many homes have been improved with new paint or landscaping. Recently completed work indicates that the block has potential upside.

I always take note of which direction a property faces. Often our best views are North facing, which can make the rooms facing them colder, while a south-facing yard is ideal for plants and sun. A western view can offer wonderful sunsets, but can also be hard on furniture and art.

Just like a fine painting, all real estate requires close observation to FULLY understand its positives and negatives. No property is perfect: matching the needs of a buyer to a seller is the key.

Hey, Roomie!

With San Francisco real estate the highest in the nation, it’s easy to feel you’ve been priced out of the market.  Are you starting to wonder how you’ll ever afford a home?  Maybe it’s time to get creative.    According to Forbes, 36% of first-time homebuyers would have a roommate if it meant being able to afford a home sooner.  Do you have a friend with dreams to buy a home as well?  Perhaps you can invest in a home together.  Yes, I know.  Having a roommate doesn’t sound ideal, but finally owning a home does.  And a good investment means you can hopefully sell in a few years, and then afford to buy your OWN home.   The article here has a great list of pros and cons for this type of investment. 

2019 San Francisco Decorator Showcase

April 27 – May 27

The esteemed San Francisco Decorator Showcase benefitting the San Francisco University High School financial aid program is underway and the photos I’ve seen so far are nothing short of gorgeous.  This year’s 18,000-square-foot Presidio Heights home (3800 Washington) has been transformed into a magical space with rooms designed by top Bay Area designers.  Tickets are $35-40 and can be purchased here.

“Houghton Hall Reimagined” by Jonathan Rachman Design

 

Balcony Garden: the Skylight Conservatory” by Brandon Pruett Design

 

“Daydream Believin’” by Studio Heimat 

 

“Master Bathroom/Spa” by Alexis Humiston of ABH Interiors

Fun Things to Do This Weekend May 3-5

One of the many reasons I love this city is that there is ALWAYS something fun to do.  Here are just a few things to check out this weekend.

MUTEK San Francisco 2019 (2nd Edition)

May 02, 5:00 PM — May 06, 12:00 AM

This 4-Day electronic festival returns for it’s second year.  The event is “committed to the advancement and presentation of groundbreaking works in the audio, art, and digital tech space, get ready for another year of innovative installations, informative conversations, and genre-bending fun.”

 

Wanderlust San Francisco 2019

May 04, 6:00 AM — May 05, 5:00 PM

Free outdoor yoga in San Francisco?  Yes, please!  For 10 years, Wanderlust Festival has gathered teachers, experts, musicians, and creators at stunning destination resorts for transformational experiences—each unique unto itself. For the first time, we’re bringing our destination festival experience to select US cities.

 

SailGP

May 04, 11:00 AM — May 05, 3:00 PM

Golden Gate Yacht Club

This is the first SailGP event ever to be held in the U.S.  Witness thrilling racing as six national teams battle it out in identical, supercharged 50-foot foiling catamarans capable of breaking the 50-knot speed barrier.