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Monthly Archives: July 2019

Can Unsubsidized Apartment Construction Rescue Struggling Middle Class Buyers?

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For the past few years, the American housing industry has been open and unapologetic about the focus of its members, both corporations and individuals. The industry prefers to profit from the construction of luxury homes, and has done its very best to concentrate on...

Critics Slam All Affordable Housing Solutions. Time For Critics-Be-Damned Experiments?

Ciity Hall in London England
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This article does not reflect upon many interesting facets of London's newly proposed rent controls for the UK's largest city. Instead, we'd like to comment on the meat of a HOUSING TODAY article which trumpets 'critics' who are universally dismayed with Reforming Private Renting: The...

Young Professionals Failing To Bite On Topeka Housing Ownership Lure

bird's eye view of Topeka Kansas
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Over-the-hill American heartland cities are currently licking their lips at the prospect of the reverse migration of talented young professionals from increasingly unaffordable coastal boom towns such as San Francisco and Miami. Some of them, like Topeka, are discovering that their own housing stock is...

Hey Buddy, Got A Dime For An American Dream? Panhandling For A House

gold stencil of 64 with embellishments on a red background
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Panhanding on street corners for coffee (or beer)? Not okay! Panhandling for a step up onto the housing ladder, particularly if the handout is enormous? Now you're talking! A National Association of Real Estate Editors conference in Austin Texas, heard some interesting statistics about various participants...

Berlin Tries Another Way For Governments To Invest In Affordable Housing

black and white soviet era post card showing the Karl Marx Allee in Berlin
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Should Government take any role, let alone a direct one, in creating or maintaining affordable housing? For conservative-dominated capitalist governments, it is a topic of hot debate. That in turn has led in recent years to an ineffective product of a wishful thought. The thought?...

UK View: Unreasonable Rent? That’s Private Taxation!

shot of raby castle
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In feudal times, land lords laid down the law of the land, or at least the law pertaining to their patch of the land. If they decreed their tenants must pay tax, who was to stop them collecting it? No one. As central governments (kings...

The Many Colours Of NIMBY: The Call Of The Wild

great blue heron fishing
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For those determined to man the neighbourhood battlements against change, any and all weapons are used to stave off development plans which alter the 'neighbourhood character.'

Zombie Properties: What are They? What Are Their Affordable Housing Benefits.

A spooky-looking abandoned colonial pre-World War II building in Malaysia.
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Don't you really want to know what a zombie property is? We confess that we did. A mobile haunted house perhaps, decaying, dilapidated, lurching down the street late at night, devouring party stragglers? Nope. Seems that zombie properties are a catchy name for vacant housing,...

Bad News For ‘American Dream’ Buyers. Your Home Ownership Strategy May Suck, Big Time.

yard, house and fence
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The American Dream (which was once something elseThere’s a Wikipedia post about the American Dream from a range of perspectives.) has for a while time now been to 'own your own home.' Really? That's a big responsibility! Why on earth would a person want...

Little But Lip Service To Liberal Ideals Sinks Local UK Government Reputations

abadonned warehouses and parking lot
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What are conservatives actually conserving? Some hold the idea that conservatives are conserving endearing and enduring values of liberalism.If you can handle all the flips and flops and mixups of terminology, ideals and political viewpoints, past and present, here's a good wallow in the...

Ungood: Looking Back At The Future Of California’s ‘1984’ Dormitory Life

red rectangle framing and eye and the inscription Big Brother is watching you. The image is painted on a gray wall between two windows.
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George Orwell's novel, 1984, was published in 1949. It defined a category of science fiction which is today called 'dystopian' — the very opposite of life in some rosy future utopia or paradise. Or was 1984 just a canny prediction of science fact: a hard-nosed vision...

Affordable Housing Massaged By Technology: Benefits? Or Techno-nerd Hype?

a vacant snow covered lot, with a scattering of wooden tulips
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Can government or charitable grants and subsidies fuel a housing revolution and overcome today's affordability crisis? If so, it's sure not happening yet, if ever. Alternatives? Turns out they're popping up all over, many ignoring financial handout-based solutions to focus on the free housing market,...

Helping Baby Boomers Go Very Slowly, Gracefully, And Affordably Bust

black and white image of retirement community in Olinda, Victoria, Australia
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What do Baby Boomers Need? Fresh air and sunlight (which we all need). But surprisingly, seniors, along with the rest of us, need surprisingly little as it turns out. A recent article in New Scientist describes parameters for all ages. Read more in New Scientist:...

Affordable? Workforce? Madison Developers Have Cake, Choke While Eating

fireworks against a night sky
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Pity those poor housing developers, bamboozled by their own bamboozlement. As always, preparing to meet NIMBYites who man the neighbourhood ramparts, developers take up righteous sword and prepare to do battle, only to find themselves facing . . . themselves. In the space of a...

Amazon $18,000 Affordable Home, Delivered Free To The Doorstep You Don’t Have Yet

bungalow with driveway and carport
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Here's a useful little discussion on the future of mail-order housing (Step 2), as well as a surprising past. The article is by no means exclusive to Amazon's housing kit offer alone, and provides a checklist of things that are going to drive up the costs after you've nailed together all the boards that arrived at your curb side.

Who Buys Houses From Aging Boomers? Not Skint Millennials, That’s For Sure

three storey and a half houses
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The housing market, most unfortunately, is absolutely everywhere. As well, it's absolutely stuck in its everywhere place. (With rare exceptions, nobody buys a house — should they be able to afford one — then moves that house someplace else.) With all the regional and international...

Institutionalizing Homelessness: Bangor, Maine, Hands Out Tents

dome tent perched on platform set on rocks
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On one hand "Make India Great" is coming close to providing true housing for an entire population of one and a third billion over a span of 7 years.Try: Shelter For All: Most Governments Cower. India Tackles It Head On On the other hand, Bangor,...

One Way To Beat The Heat In A Hot Housing Market: A Community Land Trust

head shot of Charles M Sherrod. Charles M Sherrod monument in background
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America is a land with no constitutional right to housing, but a pressing need for it, nonetheless. What is a house? With no constitutional definition, it's becoming ominously clear that a vehicle could be deemed a house,Try: Car Living Skyrockets In Seattle. Is It Affordable...

Shelter For All + Healthy Environment: Positive Partners Or Poisonous Protagonists?

solar panels and entrance to LEED certified affordable housing
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When humans interfere with the environment, even with the best of intentions, it can have an impact on human health.

Montreal’s July 1st Musical Housing Chairs Sounds A Mournful Note

fridge being moved by 2 people on Montreal moving day
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An unusual phenomenon takes place every July 1 in Canada's second largest city, Montréal. It is a city where renters are in the majority (493,000 or 63% of all households at the last census). A large number of those renters — as many as...

American East Coast Liberalism, A Dogma For Preaching, Not Practice

connecticut state capitol in daylight
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Let's take a most 'Christian' (supposedly charitable) interpretation of a certainly-Christian teaching: 'Ye shall know them by their deeds.' (Mathew 7:16). Use it as a lens with which to view East Coast Liberals, or at least a state full of them — Connecticut. How do...

NIMBYite Baby Boomers Go Out With A Bang, Not A Whimper

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"Affordable Housing? How quaint. Of course. Only take it somewhere else. Otherwise I personally guarantee to shove your XXXX up your YYYY until you bleed buckets and scream for mercy." Were they ever civil? Not any longer. Reports from the affordable housing trenches more and...

Youth Group Weighs In As Halifax Updates Its Zoning By-Law

halifax city hall with formal garden in foreground
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The Halifax Regional Municipality has decided that its zoning by-laws, parts of which are 50 years old, need updating. Ten years ago it embarked on a review process that will wrap up at the end of 2019. Some stakeholders are drawing attention to the...

Upzoning in America: A Map View of City Density Informs Future Housing Choices

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Urban sprawl is beginning to receive a technical analysis that threatens its existence. It is the very foundation of the so-called 'American Dream'— a single house on a single lot in a neighbourhood of single homes on single lots. This lowest form of housing...

California Homelessness: ‘Housing First’ Masks A Greater Problem

view of six storeys of a spiral staircase
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Housing First is a much respected world wide housing program. It has been so successful in helping individuals who are chronically homeless to leave the streets that its approach is mandated by many funding agencies. These days, Housing First is recognized (not surprisingly) as an important...

Shelter For All: Most Governments Cower. India Tackles It Head On

bird's eye shot of housing in India
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Following the landslide re-election for India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, how is his hugely ambitious 'Housing For All By 2022' plan coming along? Not a slam dunk yet, but it apparently remains at least a possibility except in Mumbai, where the problem is not so...

Free Market Affordable Housing: A Unicorn? IKEA & Padsplit Don’t Think So

bas relief of a unicorn, displayed in a museum
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In no small part, affordable housing is a victim of housing industry propaganda, not actual facts. The housing industry, by and large, sings a two-note song. The high note: luxury housing is profitable for private market builders and/or managers, which is why the housing industry...

Saving The World One Tree? Affordable House? At A Time

waterway shot through shore plants
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An article about a 'green' project on the Island of Montreal reflects a conflict pitting two well meaning and determined groups of activists against each other, something we'll undoubtedly see more and more as climate change accelerates threats to our environment. But the article linked...

Affordable Housing Dance Of The Seven Veils: Canadian National Edition?

live performance of the dance of the seven veils, taken at the Florida Grand Opera
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Finally! Over the past few decades it has seemed that when it comes to housing, the Canadian federal government was hiding in bed with the covers over their head. Then at last, in 2017, a Canadian National Housing Strategy was born. Not just a "Somewhere...

Affordable Housing In The Swamp: Raising Up A Pyramid Of Govt Ineffectiveness?

yard filled with 25,000 kg four sized pyramids
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Are higher levels of government too remote from the practical problems faced by cities? It's certainly a cause for worry in America, particularly when the subject is the affordable housing that cities absolutely know they need. But the pressure to solve this crisis often...

Nevada Homeless: Sin Tax Money Buys Housing, Not Necessarily Homes

The annual report of the NLIHC (National Low Income Housing Coalition) places Nevada in the thick of America's housing crisis for low income workers and families. In 99% of the nation's counties, minimum wage is not enough to rent a one bedroom apartment. That's...

Visitors Rule Or Locals Rule? Views From The Airbnb Tourist Battlegrounds

cruise ship dwarfs island in Venice
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Conventional thinking has always been that a tourist destination needs to bend over backwards to service its visitors, however inconvenient this may seem to some natives. But is it a 'seeming' inconvenience, or a real one? Globally, we're seeing examples of pushback against the assumption...

Lefties Brainwash Governments With Outrageous Fallacy: Non-Profits Build Better

Permanent supportive townhousing for people who are homeless in Baltimore
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From Self-aggrandizement via Red Herrings To Fake News, a Forbes commentator solves our unaffordable housing crisis by snorting his way through a Niagara Falls of information to discover that water flows upwards. Welcome, lefties, for an opportunity to get your nerd-glasses thoroughly steamed by a...

Washington State Turns The Other Cheek To Help Affordable Housing Pickpockets

checklist attached to clipboard in outdoor setting
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Store your wallet on your backside, don't keep an eye out for pickpockets? The result is inevitable. When it comes to cheats picking the pocket of an individual, an agency, or the government itself, the results are dependably similar. Without surveillance, folks can, and...

Housing Co-Operatives: What Are They And What Are They Good For?

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What Are Housing Co-operatives? When you start to look into housing co-operatives, you might be struck more by their diversity than what they share. Their contribution to a country's housing stock ranges from less than one per cent to 30% of all homes. There are...

Austin, Texas Council/Developer Spat: Trouble In PPP Paradise?

tiny yellow buildng with orange trim
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Public Private Partnerships are the darlings of neo-conservatives. These are arrangements in which the public, a.k.a government, knows how to levy taxes, but is a screwup in most all other regards. It gets together with a private entity — a developer or home builder, say,...

Australian Journalism Inspires A Rumination About Rooming Houses

Black and white postcard of boarding house in New South Wales
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Traditional boarding (or rooming) houses are NOAH, and they suffer for it. They cannot be barred by NIMBY activists, because they are already IN the neighbourhood. Yet they offer affordable housing in an era of affordable housing crisis. And though rooming houses invariably add to neighbourhood density, they do so in a relatively nonintrusive way, unlike a high-rise sun-blocking apartment tower.

US Affordable Housing Standard Is Dead. On To A ‘Survivable Housing’ Standard?

kitchen shot in a one bedroom apartment
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Affordable housing lives on in America, as: an Individual concept: e.g. "Every house ever built is affordable to at least somebody." a general segment the housing cost spectrum, determined either by income or price: as in "Oh you must mean affordable to people who...

NYC Rent Wars: Landlords Right & Duty . . . Big Profit. Tenants . . . Help!

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There would seem to be a growing consensus worldwide that housing renters need at least some kind of protection from free-market land and housing speculation. But how? Within capitalist societies there is agreement that human shelter must also be a source of profit-making and wealth...

Die, P-P-Pie In The Sky! UK Affordable Housing Needs Huge Govt Commit Instead

sculpture of Winston Churchill
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An unprecedented coalition of charities and activist groups are challenging the next UK Prime Minister to face up to reality. They are labelling as a total failure the public/private partnership (PPP) experiment to re-build a nation's depleted stocks of affordable housing. Instead, the private...

What is NOAH? Does NOAH count? Minneapolis Thinks So.

exterior of three storey apartment building in Minneapolis
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NOAH stands for Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing. Not naturally occurring like crabgrass, springing into existence year after year, no matter how you try to stop it, but Naturally occurring in another sense: nobody planned for NOAH to be there, be habitable, and be affordable. But there it is, hallelujah!

UK Supreme Court Rules On ‘Intentional Homelessness’

library of the UK supreme court with the inscription Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable netwok of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects us all indirectly.
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In 2011, Terryann Samuels, a mother of four in England, was faced with a difficult decision. She could 'top up' her public rent assistance with £150 of her basic needs assistance to pay her rent. Otherwise, she risked being labelled 'intentionally homeless' by the...

Revisiting The City Of Boulder’s Co-op Housing Ordinance

white house
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Two years ago, after a two year process, the City of Boulder approved by a vote of 7-2 an ordinance to allow housing co-operatives as dwelling units. Opponents felt the ordinance did not do enough to protect existing neighbourhoods from the young single people...

UK Naked Shelter Crisis Obscured By ‘Affordable’ Dance Of The Seven Veils

dancer with two veils
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The 'Affordable' Dance of The Seven Veils is not just a coy ploy in the UK. It is happening everywhere. The housing unaffordability crisis is being masked by cutting up the whole cloth of 'affordable' into a series of income or price brackets. These...

Sidewalk Labs’ Proposal For Affordable Housing On Toronto’s Waterfront

colourized photo of several men at an outdoor curling match on the Keating Channel in Toronto
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Earlier this week, Sidewalk Labs released its long awaited proposal to develop a site on Toronto's Waterfront. It's called Toronto Tomorrow. There are proposals in for affordable housing, so of course we couldn't pass up the opportunity to review it from our particular perspective...
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