Monthly Archives: September 2019

Indigenous Housing Providers: A Source Of Strength For Affordable Housing

housing in pangnirtung, Nunavut
The Canadian Housing and Renewal Association (CHRA) has just released a report about non-profit affordable housing that is provided and operated by indigenous organizations. The housing is spread across Canada in urban and rural areas as well as on reserves. CHRA's Indigenous Caucus commissioned the...

Make Me President And I Will..: Bernie Sanders Offers Relief To Renters In Crisis

Bernie Sanders on the campaign trail
With affordable housing a hot topic in current political debates, the Democratic candidates have been presenting solutions to America's crop of housing crises. The nation's obsession with the dream of housing ownership has led to a pack of proposals focussed on affordable home ownership. Bernie...

North York, ON: Intersecting Crises And The Parking Lot Conundrum

high rise apartment building
A local government is responsible to its citizens for carefully weighing important decisions. It therefore cannot be expected to respond rapidly to the changing nature of some crises it faces, together with the pop-up arrival of new crises. Yet respond it must, particularly when infrastructure...

Cozy And Bearable: Is There A Just-Right Tiny Home For You, Goldilocks?

street scene in Kyle, Texas
Okay, so you don't want to live in a maxi-cupboard on a parking space foorprint, a.k.a  a Hong Kong apartment. But on the other hand you don't need a sprawling ranch house carpet area.Carpet area is a quaint but evocative Indian subcontinent expression used...

The Really Grand, Super Exciting Canadian Housing Strategy Currently Leaking Hot Air

long stemmed red rose lying on a table
In 2017, the Liberal Government in Canada announced a comprehensive new Canadian Housing Strategy, designed apparently to bring the Canadian government back into the housing game after years of near absence. Now, with an election pending next month, the Liberals are eager to remind you...

Lindsay, Ontario’s ‘Housing First’ Building Of Doom

street scene, downtown Lindsay, Ontario
Housing First is a program that supports people who are homeless to move into housing.For more on Housing First, see What Is Housing First? Why Is It So Popular? Lindsay, Ontario has recently completed a shiny new building designed for Housing First occupancy. So of...

United Kingdom ‘BBB’ Housing: Boxy But Beautiful, Green But Affordable

airborne lamb, self propelled
A United Kingdom housing project has achieved the unlikely: PassivhausPassivhaus, a tough but voluntary standard for energy efficiency in a building. Read more: What Is A Passive House? standards generally thought to be too expensive for affordable housing. This standard has been achieved by what...

In Vancouver B.C. Affordable Housing Can Be A Doggone Shame In Every Sense

man and dog sleeping together on sidewalk
A lot of people find emotional security from 'their special baby'. We're talking about the furry kind here, cats and dogs mostly, but not exclusively. They are important enough that people who are homeless will avoid shelters and brave life outdoors year around, rather than...

Affordable Housing Crisis Spin-Doctors Deliver A Faulty Prescription

houses with windows boarded up
Let's take the following media declaration at face value: "4 Out Of 5 Americans say there is a housing affordability crisis." Based on a sample of 20,000 people that's good enough for us. We'll just ignore the experts that say there isn't a housing...

Washington Affordable Housing Remedies: The Worrisome Cloudiness of Clarity.

clouds above the reflecting pool in Washington DC
There is a growing, and very welcome, trend for governments at all levels to roughly spell out long range plans or strategies for overcoming housing crises that directly impact their region of concern. Just recently, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG), voted to approve...

A Spotlight On Rental Housing Affordability In Canada

Canada's census divisions
Want to know how renters in Canada are faring? Now you can. A coalition of agencies has teamed up to produce a Rental Housing Index for Canada. The project was piloted in British Columbia and has been expanded across the country. It includes large urban...

Social Housing In America: Past Time For A Full-Blooded Rebirth?

colourful apartment building
America is a country that remains responsive to human needs, even in spite of the fiercest attacks to dismiss them. One example: poll results following three years of U.S. federal government messaging that vilifies immigrants, inviting citizens to fear them, shun them, and deny...

Kids Desperately Need A Housing Insecurity Blanket

Jefferson School in Minneapolis
The most vulnerable citizens are those who receive no pay through lack of available work, or unable to work at all. Only slightly more secure are those who support themselves and their families on casual, intermittent, low paid work. A lack of affordable housing...

Sci Fi Meets Congested City In Mind-Boggling Tokyo Housing Fantasies

earthquake damage to a building in Tokyo
1931 was a good year for vivid imagination in Tokyo. It was the year that kicked off future-proofing in that city, now the most congested urban space in the world. Japanese minds were still reeling from a devastating 1923 earthquake. There was a demand for...

America’s Non-Housing Crisis Spreads To Infect The United Kingdom

street view of two homes under construction
Recently, America has produced a couple of entertaining "There Is No Housing Crisis" stories, one from the left and one from the right. On the left, a Mother Jones article uses statistics to 'homogenize' the nation's so-called housing crisis, on the apparent grounds that if...

Why A President Can’t Do More To Fix The Low Income Housing Crisis In America.

sketch of person reaching for a carrot while being beaten by a stick
This isn't a question of what President Trump would like to do, more the issue of what any President at this moment of time is actually able to do. Democratic presidential hopefuls are making the national affordability crisis into a campaign issue. So for political...

Big Changes Cloud Horizon Of Fannie Mae And Freddy Mac

exterior of US Treasury building
Two financial and housing industry giants, the federal government-created mortgage guarantors, Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac,The Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA), aka Fannie Mae and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation,(FHLMC), aka Freddie Mac.  They are government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), created in 1970 and 1938,...

Affordable Dream Or Investment Nightmare? SC Offers Low Earners Pot Of Gold To Buy Housing Rainbow

townhouses painted in muted rainbow colours
A recent and superficially very generous offer to boost low-income South Carolina residents onto the housing ladder has been described as “One Of The Best Deals We’ve Ever Had." The wording of this offer made this writer instantly wary. South Carolina traditionally has helped first...

The Housing Industry Has Hijacked ‘Affordable.’ Is ‘Public Housing’ Next?

sketch of man running with newspaper bearing the headline fake news
Once upon a time, hardly more than two years ago, there was a general agreement that might even be considered worldwide on what 'affordable' housing meant: simply put, it means housing rent or mortgage that is no more than 30% of gross income. However, wide ranging...

More Support For Affordable Housing Needed From Canada’s Federal Government

home in Iqaluit, Nunavut
The Broadbent Institute has added its voice to the groups who identify affordable housing as an issue for Canadian voters when they go to the polls on October 21, 2019. The current government announced a National Housing Strategy in 2017, which is scheduled to roll...

Homeless While Working: A Growing Urban Tragedy In Advanced Societies

patchwork quilt laid out beside abandonned rail line in Atlanta, Georgia
A widespread misconception about the nature of homelessness needs urgent correction. It is an understandable, and unfortunately highly convenient, misconception. It puts the focus on a small handful of highly visible, often annoying, panhandlers who operate around urban centres and traffic lights with lengthy...

Could Guaranteed Income End Accidental Evictions From Affordable Housing?

Food stamps, circa 1941
My decidedly middle class in-laws recently received a small windfall inheritance. Their action? To splurge on a bucket list trip for Mom, Dad, and two kids to celebrate the family roots in Scotland. It was paid for in full a few days before they...

Winnipeg Improves On “Housing First”

door with sign saying love me love my Winnipeg. There is a red rose on the sign, too.
Researchers at the University of Winnipeg's Institute for Urban Studies (IUS) have just completed a report about providing Housing First services to indigenous people experiencing homelessness. The report firmly supports the Housing First program model.Here's more about Housing First: What Is Housing First? Why Is...

In London, UK, New Social Housing Projects Stand Up To Be Noticed

view of two residential high rise buildings in Hackney, London
The public face of much-touted public private partnerships (PPP) is a local county council. For several decades now, local councils have been expected to maintain rental housing stock for citizens with lower incomes, generally known as 'social', or 'council' housing. Meantime, they have been...

Hodan, Please Don’t Go Back Where You Came From. We Need You Here!

Protesters with banner on the steps of the Minnesota Legislature. The banner text: 2011: No attacks on the poor and working familes.
Let's talk about a kick-ass Somalian from Minnesota, a new member in the House Of Representatives. We must mean Ilhan Omar, the new member of the U.S. House of Representatives, right? She's ruffled many a feather with her outspoken views, and earned a personal invite...

Your Affordable Home Is Falling Down. Sorry, It Can’t Be Fixed. You Have To Move. Not.

view of street with London School of Economics banner
"But where will we go?" Scanning affordable housing stories worldwide, an article reports some unfortunate locale were residents are being evicted from social or public housing practically every day. Four constant themes define virtually all these stories. There are frightened and angry residents and their supporters, who...

Planning Ahead For The Great Public Private Partnership Poop-Out

view of housing in Richmond, North Yorkshire
Yes indeed, the leopard may change its spots. And the scorpion crossing the river on the back of the frog may not sting it, so that they both drown. But in spite of the feeblest evidence to the contrary,See: Build Build Build: Never Mind...

Homes Can’t Fix Homelessness. Maybe Not . . . On Some Other Planet

bike used by courier
An articulate, well reasoned, polite letter to the editor of Oregon Live neatly sums up the depths of wrong-headed, misinformed thinking about why the homeless need affordable housing. The reasoning is the same red-blooded American thinking that perpetually offers the solution to the gun problem. Guns...

Seniors Co-Living Benefits: A Recipe for Risky Business?

duty board at a co-op house
Affordable Housing through co-livingSee: Co-living: What Is It? Who Does It? Why Bother? tends to burst into the news with statements from folks delighted with the savings in basic living costs. As well, they frequently include testimonials to other unexpected benefits of support and...

The Many Colours of NIMBY: Congestion, The Neighbourhood Head Cold

Woodland Park, Colorado's park flying flags of all 50 states
Why should citizens get involved in Woodland Park, Colorado housing development? Because otherwise " . . .these crowded, congested developments will pop up everywhere."

High School Students Build . . . Affordable Housing?

tiny house as example of construction project for high school students
Wow! How times change. When I was in high school I was entrusted (barely) with building a wall lamp from aluminum strips, decoration added by precise and delicate hammering with a ball peen hammer. It was an ugly design. After I was finished with it,...

Canadian Cities Want More Balanced Federal Affordable Housing Strategy

Don Iveson, Mayor of Edmontron and chair of the FCM's Big City Mayors
When Canada's sleeping giant (in this case, its federal government) finally awoke to a variety of housing crises in 2017, it did so with a 10 year, 40 billion dollar housing strategy. It was gratefully received (though not uncritically) by subordinate governments, the building...

Sweden Sniffs At Co-Living For Affordable Housing: Social Blessing Or Social Disaster?

block in downtown Stockholm
With housing becoming increasingly unaffordable, ingenious ways of reducing shelter costs abound. One trending fad featuring in the news media: co-living. A boon? A bust? There are two sides to every argument, and co-living has several 'two sides'. On one hand: "As I grew up, I...

Affordable Housing Not Your Problem? Think Again.

Build more affordable housing? Go right ahead, but not with your tax dollars. You don't need affordable housing. Maybe you're a homeowner, don't have to hunt through unaffordable listings, looking to catch a break. Or maybe you're renting a rent-controlled apartment. Or you don't live...

Red Tape: Alberta Conservatives Can’t Define It But They Won’t Put Up With It

The god-like building industry! It is a Prometheus that has sinned by giving mankind shelter. Now it is an industry shackled in punishment for its selflessness by chains of heavy regulations, while an eagle daily pecks at its liver. Who will free this wronged...

Local Governments & Businesses Plan To Push For Fed Affordable Housing Leadership

White House in Washington D.C
At the latest Group of Seven(G7) get-together in Biarritz, France, Trump and his aides made it clear that official federal policy, regardless of the views of the American people, considers Climate Change a 'niche' issue. Most other leading countries, by contrast, are viewing it...

Indiana ‘Friendship’ Co-Living: Extra Challenge, Extra Reward

Commercial street scene, Terre Haute, Indidana
The search for housing affordability has recently focused attention on the benefits of co-living.Try: Co-living: What Is It? Who Does It? Why Bother? That co-living involves responsibilities as well as benefits is a given — everyone raised in a family knows that to at...

Affordable Housing In Trailer Parks? ROCk On, America!

two homes in a mobile home park
These days, a flood of buy-and-destroy developers as well as vulture rental packagers threaten the existence of a longstanding North American affordable housing institution — the trailer park. Trailer parks are based on the home-owning dream, made affordable by the limited size of the homes...

Born Again Social Housing? Is It Possible? Scotland’s Done It

closed circuit camera against blue background
America is where social housing went to die. Poisoned by the cold war that tarnished all things that remotely hinted of socialism or communism, social housing's slow death was, and still is, blamed on its penniless inhabitants. This poor underclass of Americans has been physically...

Climate Change Threatens Another Knockdown Blow To Affordable Housing

homes in Mexico Beach Florida, damaged following Hurricane Michael
"Hurricane Sandy was the greatest natural disaster to ever impact public housing residents in New York City". So begins the abstract of Public Housing on the Periphery: Vulnerable Residents and Depleted Resilience Reserves post-Hurricane Sandy, a report, due to be released on the first of...

Housing Crisis? Who Cares In The UK? Apparently The People But Not The Politicians

slide rule style tool to assess the validity of survey results
During the 2016 American pre-election campaigns we noted that affordable housing was an 'elephant in the room' — something that politicians were presumably aware of, but nobody was discussing.See: The Elephant In The US Election Room: Affordable Housing In the current seemingly endless run up...

Build Build Build: Never Mind The People

vector diagram with social, environment and business circles
Just recently, the Business Roundtable, a group of very large companies called a press conference. The purpose? Why, to say that in addition to being about shareholder profits, business has responsibilities to the environment and to the public. The group has no ability to...
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