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Monthly Archives: April 2018

Wealthy, Isolated Whistler, BC Implements PLIMBY (Please, In My Back Yard)

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Someone wants to build affordable housing in Whistler? There will be no NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) here. NIMBY doesn't work when there is only your back yard. Other communities with affordable housing are too far away for a daily commute. A few hours...

Miami Wants To Lead A National Parade Towards Affordable Housing Land Trusts

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How do you stop land and housing speculation in a democratic country committed to accumulating individual wealth through housing investment? Faced with skyrocketing real estate prices, inflated further by foreign interest in the housing and land markets, Miami is looking towards land trusts as the...

Affordable Housing: Human Right? Human Desire? Or Somewhere In Between, Lost In translation?

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Not long ago, there was a growing crisis of housing affordability. To pay more than 30% of your salary for rent was to expose you and your family to undue hardship, as well as the risk of homelessness. Things have changed. In some pricey cities, even...

Small Town: Tens. Big City: Thousands. USA: Millions: 4 Million Young People Homeless

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Toronto is the fourth largest metropolitan area on the North American Continent. With something of a social conscience, it has developed a Housing First program (known locally as Streets to Homes) and worked hard to reduce a homeless population which numbers in the thousands,...

The Affordable Community: When An Affordable Home Is Not Enough

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Humans are by and large sociable animals. Or, if you prefer, sociable God's creatures. Indeed, religions are both powered and empowered by the social magnet of their communities. They are made strong by the closeness of their adherents, to the point where outsiders can...

Can Churches Survive Without Socialism?

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Strange headline . .  was there a typo? Did we mean 'can churches survive without social justice'? That seems a much better headline. Churches have long claimed to practically own social justice. And even if some modern churches emphasize personal fulfillment rather than social action,...

Joliet’s Affordable House: Microcosm Of A Mega-Problem

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Hats off to a number of well-meaning citizens, bureaucrats and politicians in Joliet, Illinois. Not so much praise to those carping and foot-dragging, as well as suggesting the money might be better spent on community recreation, or business improvement. What's it all about? The construction...

Hong Kong: An Animated Future Where There Won’t Be Room To Move

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The authors of a South China Post article have criticized a recent study suggesting that Hong Kong's micro-apartment present can only lead to a future of even smaller flats. Their  speculation: mental health would almost immediately be a limiting factor if accommodation continues to shrink. The article does...

Need A Million Houses? UK Labour Party Wants To Revive Social Housing In A Big Way.

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With American conservatives pouring poison down the social housing well at a fearsome rate, the world — or at very least the North American continent — has been brainwashed to believe that the failure of public housing has been caused by the irresponsibility of...

Short Term Rentals Bite Affordable Housing. Or Perhaps They Don’t.

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Same day in the news, two views from two countries: Anne-of Green-Gables-Land takes on the Big Easy. The economies of both Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, and New Orleans, Louisiana get a significant boost from tourism. It may be more appropriate to compare the whole of...

Against the Law: Unaffordable Housing

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Unaffordable housing: these days it works against the law, against nursing, against firefighting, against teaching, as well as other activities which are a foundation of any healthy community. The chief of police in Moab, Utah, recently pleaded with the city manager for a housing allowance...

Ways To Kill Affordable Housing Action: Florida Trust Fund Looting

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Central Florida, once an inexpensive to place to live, has seen a dramatic drop in housing affordability. Fortunately in 1992, a bipartisan bill was passed in the Florida Legislature: Its purpose was to divert revenue from taxes on Florida legal documents such as real estate...

Major California Housing Bill Dies In First Committee Hearing

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California, liberal as it may be, is ground zero for activist NIMBYites. They have made it difficult or impossible for communities to make progress in the face of both a state homelessness crisis and, more particularly, a rapidly growing affordable housing crisis. Following the lead...

Yearn To Move To A City With Affordable Houses? Chase That Dream Quickly. It’s Disappearing.

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Over time, different countries have evolved their own famous pockets of unaffordable housing. In America, San Francisco. In Australia, Sydney. In Canada, Vancouver. In the United Kingdom, London. As time goes by, the situation seems only to get worse in these expensive cities. Unfortunately, any...

Get High For Affordable Housing!

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With housing speculation a sacred right in western democracies, only the total collapse of the land and housing market can ensure the future return of affordable housing. That event, should it happen at all, is not likely to happen soon. In the meantime, there...

Not Appreciated: Minneapolis NIMBYites Attack The Affordable Four-Plex

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NIMBY: Not in My Back Yard. Part of an ongoing collection of articles exploring some of the many ways that a worldwide affordable housing crisis is opposed.

From Unaffordable Here To Affordable There: American Migration Today

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Why do people move? Mobility in the United States has historically been driven by employment. Unlike an old world tendency to stick to a home city, town or village, it has been suggested that the enormous distance from the 'old countries' to America has...

Manufactured Homes: Affordable Housing? Or A Dodge To Avoid New Construction?

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Mobile home parks, a.k.a trailer parks, a.k.a manufactured home parks: call them what you will, over time they've attracted a reputation based on their failings, while their successes have often been ignored, or simply taken for granted. For a typical mobile home park bad-news story,...

A Tip From The Beach For Employers Needing Workers: Build Up!

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Affordable housing for seasonal workers is often scarce in resort towns. Its not uncommon for unscrupulous landlords to charge extortionate prices while cramming migrant workers and students into the very limited housing is available.  Such unattractive working and living conditions are forcing local businesses...

Viability Assessments: Are Artful Dodgers Facing A Comeuppance?

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In the United Kingdom, affordable housing has been redefined to be anything up to 80% of market value. That makes the war on affordable housing 'a complete red herring' in the view of one prominent affordable housing advocate. Beyond the challenge of climbing Mount-Everest-high housing...

Welcome Back Granny Flats! (ADU’s To You, Too)

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Private enterprise has had a long history of efficiently accommodating the public need for accommodation. But, thanks to the ever-stretching long arm of NIMBYism (read this New York Times article: How ‘Not in My Backyard’ Became ‘Not in My Neighborhood’, over recent years many elegant...

From Finland, A Way To End Homelessness That Really Works

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Housing is affordable if: •        a household is paying less than 30% of income for rent, or housing payments. •        the rent is in reach of those making less than 60 percent area median income. •        affordable to...

Pregnant? With Uncertain Housing? Mom & Unborn Baby Face A Health Crisis

A pregnant mom arrives at The Washington D.C. perinatal clinic Mamatoto Village. Is she homeless, or facing eviction, or couch-surfing? These are all important health questions. And if her housing is shaky or non-existent, then the correct prescription for the health of the mother and...

Short-Sighted Eviction Policies Profiting Landlords, Costing Tenants And The Nation

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Studies show that providing emergency shelters for the homeless people is far more expensive than housing them. But many, if not most, American communities do not invest in preventing homelessness, even as they provide judicial support to landlords who wish to evict tenants. The...

Master Leasing Seeks To Provide Social Housing Affordability At Market Rate Returns for Landlords

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The Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce in North Carolina is not impressed with the lengthy time it takes to deliver a mere trickle of affordable housing for purchase. And if the 'free enterprise' folks at the chamber of commerce don't think that public/private partnerships...

Death On The Streets

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How many homeless people spend cold nights on the streets of your community? How many have no shelter to go to? How many sleep rough because they cannot cope with bullying or other pressures that keep them away from shelters? How many homeless people die...

Is ‘Neighborhood Character’ A NIMBY Weapon Whose Days Are Numbered?

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Not in my back yard! But why? The character of the neighborhood will be destroyed by . . . those buildings . . . those people . . . their traffic . . . criminal elements . . . young vandals . . . and so...

Finland Has Ended Homelessness? Or Maybe Not. Still, The Finnish News is Good.

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One of the world's foremost English Language Newspapers, The Guardian, recently reported that Finland has ended Homelessness. Try: Finland Ended Homelessness, Thanks to Housing First. But Not JUST to Housing First! YLE, the Finnish National Public Broadcaster, is not nearly so sure. It reports a two-thirds drop...

Middle Income Unaffordable Housing: All About Need? Or All About Choice?

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Middle class families in New York City may qualify for affordable housing while making as much as $180,000 a year in income. The affordable houses for which they window shop may actually cost more than the market rent housing they already occupy. Buy or...

Subsidize Affordability By A ‘Flipping’ Tax? Somerville Argues The Pros & Cons

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It's abundantly clear that a national speculative housing markets are pushing housing prices beyond affordability in many countries. There is little real reason for any hope that housing prices will collapse or wages rise so much that shelter will once again affordable for nearly...

Need Affordable Housing? Don’t Look To Supply And Demand For Deliverance!

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Conservative thinkers who place their trust in the economic theory of 'supply and demand' believe that affordable housing will be delivered as and where needed by the unrestricted operation of a free market economy. It is not the housing market economy itself that is...

Some Kind of Taxation Must Subsidize Affordable Housing. How About A Construction Tax?

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The right to speculate on housing is embedded in our western cultures. History has shown that speculation rapidly makes housing unaffordable for the poorest individuals and families. That means that affordable housing for those most in need must be subsidized. Subsidies ultimately mean taxation (leaving...

Homelessness: How Deadly Is It?

Homelessness is recognized as a growing problem in many nations. Street counts are popular just now, but just how many homeless people are dieing? Surely that's a measure that we should be taking note of. Why not treat it as a disease, and provide...

City-Splitting: Can De-Centralization Help The Affordable Housing Crisis?

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Twenty years ago, The Province of Ontario merged the City of Toronto with 5 other municipalities to create one mega-city, now the heart of the fourth largest metropolitan area in North America. The amalgamation was the latest in a historic trend of mergers in...

Youth Homelessness: High Tech Squats For Those Who Blend In

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Youth homelessness is on the rise everywhere (as is virtually every kind of homelessness). But when it comes to appearances, young people can take advantage of the low expectations harboured by people in authority. Youth, even wealthy university students, are positively expected to look...

Denver Drops Affordable Housing Oversight, Belatedly Discovers That Buyers And Sellers May Cheat

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Business managers, bureaucrats, civil servants and politicians seem quite capable of supervising the development of massive housing projects, and are able to factor in all kinds of long-term expenses, such as management, repair and replacement costs.  But inevitably they seem to behave like cats....

Yes, Short Term Rentals Do Threaten Affordable Housing, Say New Orleans Activists 

Recent developments in short term housing rental have catapulted companies such as Airbnb to fame and fortune. Unfortunately, a trend that has been a boon to bargain-hunting tourists and holiday makers appears to be adding to the affordable housing crisis everywhere by removing city...

In America, Poverty Is Migrating. Supporters And Advocates Are Getting Left Behind.

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Urban renewal is evicting the poor from North American inner cities. More and more affordable inner city housing has been torn down to make way for new and unaffordable housing developments. Other housing stock that has survived from from an earlier heyday is being...

Squat To Own: Impossible? Not So, Call The Expert Who’s Been There.

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Squatter's rights: hard to believe they have any. But they do, along with a host of wrongs, such as trespass. Ask Steven DeCaprio. He's been there. A squatter living in the filth of derelict buildings, now a law school graduate. He has so far been denied...

Is There a Difference Between Hostile Architecture and Torture?

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If you are homeless, and cannot sleep over a heat vent, will you die? The odds are against it unless you are in a country with a frigid winter season, the night is bitterly cold and an emergency shelter is out of the question....

“A Corrupt Scam”: Conservative Think Tank Disses Low Income Housing Tax Credits

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America's affordable housing crisis rapidly worsens. One of the key government supports for affordable housing since 1986 has been the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC). It is estimated that 90% of the affordable rental housing created in the United States today is based on...

Poverty-Striken In The Suburbs? An ADU Might Do For You.

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ADU's (Accessory Dwelling Units), granny suites, in-law housing, laneway housing, call them what you will, these old, discredited housing solutions are generating new interest across North America. The favoured flavour of these small affordable housing solutions has been the basement apartment. Why? Even when illegal,...

Speculation Tax: Life Ring For Affordable Housing Or Back Stab To Free Market Democracy?

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A pillar of North American democracy (from a conservative viewpoint at least) is the right to speculate on housing. It has supposedly enriched homeowners of all stripes since World War II, when mortgages enticed individuals and families to invest in long term plans for...

‘Real’ Affordable Housing: Are NGOs, Charities And Non-Profits Our Only Hope?

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There once was, and still is, a universal standard of housing affordability that is recognized world-wide. If you yourself (no, not your average community member, just you) can rent or buy a home for a payment less than 30% of your net income, it...

Unholy Partnership Of ‘NIMBY + Environmental Review’ Proves Toxic To Speedy Affordable Housing Development

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Developers and Local Government alike are fond of blaming each other for lengthy delays in the planning of housing projects. In the United Kingdom, a Government draft proposal is attempting to define changes that must be made to streamline the process and get desperately...

From Scottish Children To US College students: Unaffordable Housing A Root Cause Of Poverty

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Housing advocates applauded the Scottish Government's new  Tackling Child Poverty Action Plan, but some were quick to point out that it is necessary to decrease the cost of housing in order to bring down family expenditures and help ease families and children out of poverty. Read...

The Affordable Housing Titanic: Lottery Winners To The Lifeboats

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Life or Death by Lottery? Consider: it's well understood that housing is truly a matter of life or death. Try: Women Die Young in the Country of Homelessness Every day, more and more people are becoming trapped upon the sinking housing ship of affordability. In some countries,...

Homeless Need Homes. Instead, UK Enacts Legislation To Provide Only Scapegoats.

UK homelessness got legislative support on April 1, 2018, with a homelessness act that places responsibilities those in the front lines on the war against homelessness—towns and cities that have shrinking resources to actually do anything about the problem. Instead of addressing the root...

Downsizing (Or Should It Be ‘Resizing’?) The American Dream

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The postwar housing boom that brought Norman Rockwell's idealized America to a ring of suburbs around every North American city was not built upon 2000-3000 sq ft. ranch houses upon half-acre lots. So where are the original, far more modest dream homes? If not absorbed...

Manufactured Home Communities: Take Out The Trash And Rethink The Affordability

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$70,000 home ownership? It's still possible in 'Manufactured Home Communities'.  That phrase captures solid industrial strength paired with cozy neighbourhoods. Apparently, some 37,000 such communities around America enjoy this kind of positive identification, perfectly happy to abandon a name made infamous by flimsier, multi-wheeled manufactured...

Use It Or Lose It: Affordable Housing By Compulsory Purchase Order

Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) emerged from a British 17th century need to assemble land in order to create canals. In the 19th century they were used the same way to assemble land for the construction of railways. As a principle of British Common Law,...
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