Author Archive

Molly Bolan

Molly Bolan
Molly Bolan is the assistant editor at Route Fifty. She previously covered education for The Keene Sentinel in her home state of New Hampshire.

Housing and care costs leave aging Americans with limited options

With adults over 65 already 17% of the U.S. population, communities need to prepare for the growing number of older adults who need both affordable housing and care, experts say.


The housing policies residents want to see

It may seem like housing policies that allow granny flats or multifamily homes on single-family lots are pretty contentious, but a new survey shows that most people support state and local policies that boost housing stock.


What does a resilient city look like?

In many cities, resilience is more than climate-ready infrastructure and disaster relief. It’s a tool for building trust in local government, connecting neighbors and uplifting vulnerable communities.


A solution for dying downtowns is popping up in major cities

As business districts look for ways to revive economies weakened by long-gone office workers, cities are testing pop-up shops to reduce vacant retail space and give small business owners a launch platform.


How paid sick leave helps cure economic instability

Cities and states are enacting paid leave policies that prevent low-wage workers from choosing between rest and recovery or work and a paycheck.


Without enough housing vouchers, what can cities and states do?

Millions of renters use housing vouchers to help cover housing costs, but millions more are languishing on yearslong waitlists. Experts suggest exploring other subsidies, like tax credits for renters.


How the issue of housing and homelessness factored in state and local elections

It impacted mayoral races, and landed on the ballot as communities debated the merits of homeless encampment sweeps, tax hikes and affordable housing developments.


What’s driving post-pandemic downtown recoveries?

Data shows that many of the country’s largest downtowns have more residents now than before the pandemic, but residents alone can’t revitalize downtowns.

Digital Government

Statewide housing programs can be complex. A good website can help.

As Colorado embarks on an aggressive program to build affordable housing, the state is turning to a website to engage and involve residents as the projects unfold.


Who should have land-use authority in green energy projects?

Michigan lawmakers are considering legislation that would shift some land-use authorities to the state to streamline renewable energy developments. But local governments and residents fear their voices will get left behind in the race to build green infrastructure.


The Biden administration looks to spur office-to-housing conversions

The White House launched a multi-agency effort to encourage states and cities to convert more empty office buildings into housing units. It is putting billions of federal dollars behind the announcement.


Communities look to end prison-to-homelessness pipeline

Incarceration and homelessness are inextricably linked, each cycling into the other. As the housing crisis drags on, state and local governments are looking to prevent former inmates from becoming homeless in the first place.

Emerging Tech

County tests feasibility of 3D-printed affordable housing

Santa Barbara County is using a state grant to 3D-print an affordable home in what it hopes will be a demonstration project other communities can learn from.


How one city is streamlining housing construction

San Francisco is required by state law to build 82,000 housing units by 2031, but it won’t even come close if the city maintains its current pace. Mayor London Breed hopes that reducing fees and red tape will spur more development.


Building trust in local government with better budgeting

A more transparent, collaborative and data-driven budget process can help municipalities implement real change.


By the numbers: How pandemic relief expanded affordable housing

The American Rescue Plan Act helped keep millions housed during the pandemic and created long-term affordable options. A new report digs into the numbers behind the initiatives.


Why are Black homeownership rates still so low?

Local leaders are experimenting with creative financing, zoning changes and cooperative housing to reverse long standing housing discrimination.


If jobs won’t bring people downtown to work, what will?

The economies of six big cities took a hit as workers went remote or moved to areas with lower costs of living. But by focusing on downtown housing and leaning into already strong local industries, municipal leaders may be able to reverse the trend.


Four tax credits that states can adopt to ease the child care crisis

With the end of federal child care subsidies, states are scrambling for ways to keep the industry afloat and parents working. Plus, more news to use from around the country in this week's State and Local Roundup.


‘Disaster gentrification’ looms over Lahaina

The Hawaii city is recovering after a wildfire killed at least 115 people and destroyed more than 2,000 buildings. A top concern for officials is preventing local residents from being priced out.