Donated Frequent Flyer Miles Provide 40,000 Flights for Afghan Refugees

Frequent flyer miles donated over a two-month period will provide around 40,000 flights for Afghan refugees, the Associated Press reported.

The Biden administration is considering doubling the number of miles available to refugees, and around 3,200 flights already covered by the donated miles have allowed Afghan refugees to resettle in communities around the U.S. from temporary housing at military bases, according to the AP. Miles4Migrants organized the donations, and the group has provided aid to refugees using donated airline miles and credit card points since 2016.

“Government resources are limited, and we knew that the American people wanted to support Afghans who were arriving and help them find safe homes,” Miles4Migrants Co-Founder Andy Freedman said, the AP reported. “That’s when we turned to the airlines.”

Read More

Up to 50,000 Afghan Refugees Could Be Headed for Resettlement in the U.S., but Exactly Where Is Still to Be Determined

It’s unclear how many Afghan refugees arrived in the U.S. recently, though they will mostly stay at military bases as they undergo immigration proceedings, a senior Biden administration official said during a press call last week.

Around 20,000 Afghan refugees now stay at eight military bases across the continental U.S., Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said on Wednesday. The Biden administration warned nine nonprofit organizations contracted with the State Department that work with refugees to prepare for up to 50,000 Afghans to arrive in the U.S. without visas and in need of resettlement, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

“After getting tested (for COVID-19) at the airport, American citizens and LPRs (legal permanent residents) can head to their onward destination — home — while others — everyone else heads to those military bases I mentioned before,” the senior official said during a press call on Aug. 24. “There, they receive a full medical screening, and they receive a variety of healthcare services and assistance in applying for things like work authorizations, before moving on to their next destination.”

Read More

‘Squad’ Members Earned Tens of Thousands as Landlords, Even as They Supported Eviction Moratorium

Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib

Far-left Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), who have both been vocal critics of landlords and supportive of the eviction moratorium that prevents them from collecting rent indefinitely, made tens of thousands of dollars themselves collecting rent last year, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

Tlaib disclosed in a recent financial statement that she made between $15,000 and $50,000 from rent out of a property she owns in Detroit, even after she had recently criticized “landlords and bill collectors” and said that Americans needed to be protected from them “in the midst of a pandemic.” Pressley made roughly $15,000 from 2019 to 2020 off a property she owns in Boston. Pressley has denounced landlords for trying to collect rent during the pandemic, claiming it to be “literally a matter of life and death.”

Both congresswomen, along with others in the so-called “squad” and other congressional Democrats, were supportive of extending the eviction moratorium that has forbidden landlords across the nation from collecting rent, ostensibly to provide financial relief to Americans who cannot pay their rent due to losing their jobs to lockdown orders. The Biden Administration extended the eviction moratorium through October, after the original moratorium implemented last September by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) was set to expire earlier this year.

Read More

Denver Spends More on Homeless Than Schools and Police

Denver spent twice as much money on its homeless population than it did on its students and police, a Common Sense Institute August report showed.

The city spent between $41,679 and $104,201 per person on its homeless population, compared to $19,202 per student in K-12 public schools in 2020, according to the report. In total it spent $481 million on healthcare, housing and other services for homeless people, over $100 million more than the Department of Public Safety’s budget.

Read More

Minnesota House Approves Housing Bill

The Minnesota House approved the housing budget on a vote of 72-59.

The $125 million measure aims to fund a plethora of programs to create more affordable and stable housing.

Included in the budget is an off-ramp to the eviction moratorium.

Renters can only be evicted for “seriously endangering” another tenant or property or who is eligible for renter’s assistance but won’t apply.

Read More

Wall Street Firm Blackstone Invests $6 Billion in Single-Family Homes

"For Rent" sign in window of building

Investment firm Blackstone Group acquired 17,000 single-family rental homes on Tuesday in a deal worth $6 billion.

Blackstone, an asset management firm that focuses on alternative investments, acquired Home Partners of America (HPA) along with its 17,000 home inventory, the firm announced in a statement Tuesday. Blackstone will continue HPA’s business model of offering its tenants rent-to-own lease agreements, which allow the tenant to purchase the rental property after a certain amount of time.

“The fundamental premise of the HPA platform is to provide residents with the opportunity to live in their chosen home with the option to purchase it,” Blackstone’s Real Estate Senior Managing Director Jacob Werner said in the statement. “We intend to build on that goal and expand access to homes across the U.S.”

Read More

Lumber Prices Reach Record Heights Causing Home Prices to Surge

Man standing in front of miter saw

The price of lumber has skyrocketed to a record high and four times its usual price at this time of year, causing a spike in homebuilding costs, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Lumber futures, or the market price for wood, reached a record $1,500.50 per thousand board feet on Friday, according to The Wall Street Journal. A board foot, the unit used to measure lumber, equals one square foot of wood with one inch of thickness.

“Absent a significant increase in mortgage rates or a Covid resurgence, it is hard to imagine what could cause lumber demand to drop and prices to moderate in the foreseeable future,” Eric Cremers, the CEO of major lumber producer PotlatchDeltic, told the WSJ.

Read More

Analysis: Jobs, Housing Show Recovery Continues

There were only two insightful reports on the economy this past week—for jobs and housing. Both show impressive gains.

Weekly initial unemployment claims fell by 56,000, to 787,000. They are down more than 100,000 from a month ago. There has also been a substantial decline in the insured unemployment rate to 5.7 percent from 8.7 percent a month ago. Also, the number of people receiving unemployment insurance payments fell to 8.4 million; it was 12.6 million a month ago.

Read More

Minnesota’s State and National Dems Want to Cancel Rent and Mortgage Payments

  An executive order from Gov. Tim Walz bans evictions, foreclosures, and lease terminations for the duration of the state’s peacetime emergency, but one Democratic lawmaker wants to take things a step further. State Sen. Jeff Hayden (DFL-Minneapolis) recently called for a “rent and mortgage moratorium” in Minnesota, an idea…

Read More

Ilhan Omar Introduces $1 Trillion ‘Homes for All Act,’ Declares Housing a ‘Human Right’

Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-MN-05) new “Homes for All Act” would cost more than $1 trillion over a 10-year period and has a goal of building 12 million “public and affordable” housing units.

Read More