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Monthly Archives: November 2019

Greensboro NC Describes The Real Roots Of Homelessness — Yet Again

Exterior of the International Civil Rights Center and Museum
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Einstein gets the nod for a popular definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results. On the other hand, some aboriginal traditions suggest that it's necessary to repeat something four times in order for it to be true. We're faced...

A Toronto Hospital Signs On For Affordable Housing

word cloud of canadian postal codes
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The University Health Network in Toronto recently announced that it will donate a parcel of land for development as a site for affordable housingThe site is currently a parking lot.. This announcement is welcome news in Toronto, where the number of people who are homeless...

Choking On The Cake Of Home Ownership

a row of new housing construction in Phoenix
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The underlying myth of home ownership in a capitalist economy is that you can have your cake and eat it. Having the cake means fulfilling a fundamental need: shelter. Eating the cake means reaping the supposedly inevitable financial rewards as the value of the...

Affordability Was Always Bottomless. Arlington, VA Makes It Topless

An image of the CN tower, its top lost in the clouds, with a ladder like pattern of its windows climbing upwards
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The current American federal government has little or no interest in a national affordability crisis, preferring to hack relentlessly at federal funding instituted by previous administrations. Not surprising, perhaps, that a Washington area city has banged the last nail into the affordability coffin. True, they...

California Rent Control: No Panacea For A Housing Crisis But Some Positives

An Ontario Provincial Government form section from a landlord rent increase notice
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Characteristic of proposed regional rent control laws are fevered arguments from opposite sides of a debate on their value. Activists, apparently with their hearts and minds closer to the plight of housing burdened renters, are all for controls on annual rent increases, the more...

California ADUs: A Step In The Right Direction . . . But, A Baby Step?

Garden suite in Clovis California
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A state with particularly serious housing problems, California is exploring as many ways as possible to increase a supply of affordable housing. California, as well as several other states, have 'rediscovered' grannie flats as well as a host of other names for various garden varieties,...

Ghostbusters: Massachusetts Enumerates Affordable Homes

apartment building in Worcester Massachusetts
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Plaudits to the Kuehn Charitable Foundation for their efforts in Massachusetts to help develop a statewide user-friendly register for affordable housing. Read more about their initiatives in The Boston Globe: Kuehn Foundation Heading Effort To Create Affordable-Housing-Search Site Needless to say, we at affordablehousingaction.org wish them...

DIY Broadband Levels Essential Internet Playing Field For Have-Nots

hay field with fence
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Here's a good news story emerging from the shadows of those giant, hard-nosed internet providers determined to soak everybody to the max for their internet access. If that characterization is correct, we'll have to add a tiny Welsh village to the list of the...

Arguably The World’s Greatest Affordable Housing Activist Performs In Tights

an ispiderman movie poster on the curved vertical corner of a multi-story building
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The writer of this blog article really needs some help here. It seems that Spiderman — the comic book hero who has now graduated to over-the-top computer generated almost non-stop action movies, is an out-and-out affordable housing activist. Here's my dilemma: Are we talking about the...

Distracted Politicians — Beware Generation Rent!

elephant in a room
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UK politicians are distracted. An opinion piece in the Daily Telegraph, inadvertently tells us just how distracted they are. The article itself is behind a paywall, but the headline and tagline say it all. The headline asks "How can a 'revolutionary' Labour Party have nothing...

Atlanta: Having Your Affordability Cake And Eating It, Too

folks at work in community garden plots
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Housing crises worldwide are demanding responses on a scale that transcends free market developer interest (We'd rather build luxury homes!) as well as low hanging fruit (Make granny flats legal again!). In planning the construction of new lower-income housing security, why not add food security...

Teachers: Who Can Afford To Battle The Modern SchoolChild?

An empty classroom
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Two kinds of affordability afflict the modern teacher. Can teachers afford the school lifestyle? That's life in an ongoing social experiment where, learning aside, students blunder about to hone their interpersonal skills at the expense of teacher sanity. Can teachers afford the community lifestyle? Simply put,...

Affordable Housing Needs Builders Even Before Designers. Wha . . ?

a single car in an asphalt-cracked parking lot
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It seems that pre-construction planning is a 'thing'. As opposed to planning before (in other words — pre) construction. That's just planning. Who knew? Not only that, pre-construction planning is a builder 'thing'. That's why a builder who specializes in that 'thing' can stand up...

Faceless Behind A Mask: A Nation’s Landlords Dodge Responsibility

blurry image of two masks and a face
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The Mask? A U.S. legal entity called a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) is becoming a favourite tool of slum landlords. LLC laws prevents the owners from being sued over their investment in one or more rental buildings. A feature of this ownership structure can make...

The Many Colours of NIMBY: Musical Houses — NIMBY Goes Statewide

stone pinnacles in the Garden of the Gods stretch off into the distance
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Hats off to a Colorado landlord for thinking big. Read about a man who, in the face of housing crises across the country, wants to call the entire state his backyard and simply limit the number of houses allowed to be built in there every year.

UK Council Housing: Beginning Of The End? Or End Of The Beginning?

Dust flies as the Elizabeth St. Flats in Glasgow are demolished by explosion in 1993
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The future of council housing in England has changed considerably since 1981, when 32% of all of the country's households lived in it. At that time, the government had provided housing for returnees from two world wars, replaced houses destroyed in WWII, and engaged in...

Is An April Fool’s Joke A Warning Of Micro-House Reality?

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A Ketchum, Idaho April Fool's Joke this past April 1, 2019 saw a number of local dumpsters dressed up overnight as tiny homes, making a pointed statement about the increasing depths of the local affordable housing crisis. The picture in the article at KMVT11...

British Council Housing, Born 100 Years Ago. Success? Failure? Somewhere In Between

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Governments are vital agents of social and economic change, not foot-dragging deep state bureaucracies committed to interfering with visionary private enterprise. Really? Mariana Mazzucato, an American economist, has earned growing international respect for this revolutionary view, backed up by her research. Governments are the true risk...

Kudos To Chicago’s Striking Teachers. They Broke The Law To Kick Social Ass

Teachers' union meeitng in Chicago's Union Temple
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Chicago teachers settled their recent strike in part by ignoring their legal requirement to bargain only for wages and hours and other strictly technical issues related to their employment and job function. Larger classrooms? Special Education and Student Health Support?  Affordable housing for vulnerable families?...

US Affordable Housing Supply — Sabotaged!

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A recent study by two U.S. economists demonstrates how national homebuilders can effectively sabotage the free market, building fewer homes to their great convenience and profit. In response to cries for more affordable housing, the housing industry as a whole pays at least tacit support...

Crying Out For U.S. Federal Support Of City Affordable Housing Initiatives

Air photo of Minneapolis, Minnesota
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Two big U.S. city councillors write about some of the steps that cities across the country are trying to implement largely on their own, in the absence of meaningful leadership and funding from the federal government. What kinds of affordable housing programs are being tested...

Persistence, Not Perfection, Plucks Homeless From Atlanta Streets

Air Photo of Downtown Atlanta, Georgia
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For Atlanta, Georgia's homeless population, persistence has paid off. The city lays no claim to a magic formula for getting people out of the streets and into homes. Other major cities try the same measures, but few if any can claim year-by-year reductions of...

Is Your Housing Is Affordable? Can You Keep It? Is It Crisis-Proof?

A person's belongings are arrayed on the sidewalk in front of a small cottage
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#affordablehousing #affordablehomes Story, full photo&credit at

Getting More Affordable Bang From Your Rental Security Deposit Buck

A large circular bank safe door
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If you are a renter, what use are you getting out of your security deposit? None. Your landlord is holding your security deposit as a trust. So, in theory at least, a landlord gets no benefit out of it either. We're talking about a sum of money that...

Time To Recognize The Need For A ‘Green New Deal For Housing?’

An old house completely festooned with greenery
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At affordablehousingaction.org we've expressed some concern that climate change activists may find themselves competing for limited funding with affordable housing activistsTry: Saving The World One Tree? Affordable House? At A Time. And we've looked small ways in which the two wholly different global crises...

Is Government, Not Free Enterprise, The Engine Of Innovation?

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Could the solution to the world's collection of increasingly serious affordable housing crises find a solution in the risky, adventurous initiatives of your everyday garden variety government? The free-enterprise promoted . . . myth? . . . is that great new ideas are spawned by...

Hong Kong ‘Rats in a Cage:’ Affordable Problem Or Political Party Line?

arial view of agricultural land in the New Territories in Hong Kong
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There have been hints that months of unrest and riots in Hong Kong have been triggered in part by the high cost of cramped housing in an overcrowded city. Is this the animal behaviour observation of 'too many rats in a cage and they fight'...

Harvesting Humans For Profit In The UK

two images: poster bearing the word profit in top left, houses in the bottom right
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One of the currently most successful human harvesting activities in free enterprise societies can be found in the United States — private jailing. Because the collection and control of humans in this case allows the possibility of utilizing their labour for little or nothing, it...

Chicago Housing Pride: Both Beautiful And Affordable

a proud african girl stands in a crown at a Notting Hill festival in London UK
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Here's a peek at a new affordable housing development in Chicago.

The Many Colours Of YIMBY: Yes, It’s What The Neighbourhood Needs

Logan Square Christmas Decorations - 2008
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We've found a collaborative neighbourhood YIMBY in Chicago that invests in the faith that mixed income neighbourhoods can be a better places to live than single-income-bracket ghettos. Granted, NIMBYites in this rapidly gentrifying neighbourhood had their say, with some of the usual moans such as lost parking for businesses (the land is currently in use as a city owned parking lot.)

War On Affordable Housing: UK Government Still Leading From The Rear?

For a good chunk of the twentieth century, national governments in the UK and the US recognized a responsibility for ensuring that lowest-income citizens had adequate housing. Over the last three decades however, 'Thatcherite' conservative policies have seen national governments in both countries abandon low-income...

Public Housing Residents Want It Just As It Is, Not ‘Improved’ By Developer

A Birmingham council housing resident tends a magnificent balcony flower garden
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In the face of anti-council housing attitudes and 'private enterprise does it better' hollow promises, residents of a London council housing estate have long been under threat of eviction for redevelopment. For more than ten years they've fought to basically be left alone with...

India Housing Industry Binges On Affordability. Could It Be Fatal?

houses beside tea plantations in Darjeeling, India
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The Meal: hundreds of thousands of middle class affordable housing units of various stripes and colours The Tasty Hot Sauce: Government Subsidies The Unfortunate By-Product: Thousands upon thousands of empty housing Units across the country, particularly in big cities, still owned by developers and builders with...

London Mayor: Private Enterprise Can’t Solve Affordable Housing Crisis

a crane works at knocking down a tower of Chicago's Cabrini-Green housing project
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Faced with an affordable housing crisis in his city, the Mayor of London, UK, has pointed out the fatal flaw when it comes to using PPPs (Public Private Partnerships) to build affordable housing. He describes these partnerships as a 'cross-subsidy model' in which one set...

San Francisco’s First Safe Parking Lot for People Living in Vehicles Takes Step Forward

aerial shot of parking lot near Balboa BART station.
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Safely 'transitioning' homeless people from living in their vehicles is a praiseworthy long-term objective, one driving efforts to gain approval for a first San Francisco parking lot catering to these folks. Read more about the plans at KQED News: San Francisco's First Safe Parking...

Survey: Parking Your Shelter Overnight On The U.S. West Coast

Old camper van parked on a side street, contrasting with decent housing
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When a car is your shelter, parking is critical. It has become a particular problem on the US west coast, where the high cost of housing is forcing more and more working people to live in their only major asset — their vehicle. Is this...

Gentrification Whack-A-Mole: Now It’s Popped Up In The Suburbs!

pedestrian in commercial area with wide sidewalks
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First there were the middle class inner city suburbs, which slowly degenerated into near-downtown depressed areas as wealthier folks moved to one acre lots in the further suburbs, until the depressed areas were invaded and upscaled by the gentry, driving lower income citizens out...

Do Simple Housing Toolkits Beat One Grandiose Smart City Of Tomorrow?

An elaborate multi-story lego building
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Dare we suggest that Google, or at least its sibling, is lumbering? Based on its proposal to revolutionize housing by wiring everything to everyone in a Toronto Smart City neighbourhood, any lumbering seems to be of a particularly fluffy and insubstantial kind. Sidewalk Labs, a...

Housing Literally Under Water Might Burst A Housing Bubble, Trigger Recession

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The housing market collapsed in 2008 and caused an economic recession in the United States, which spread to other countries. It was triggered when new homeowners found themselves 'under water' — an expression meaning that their houses were no longer worth what they were...

The Extinction Rebellion Vs. Affordable Housing: Adversaries Or Soul Mates?

Behind a sweep of flats in Bath, UK, a single woman is visible in an array of garden allotments
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These days, a great deal of visionary thinking is being applied to newly appreciated human concerns such as Climate Change, the Green New Deal, the Extinction Rebellion and other movements that are sounding the alarm about the potential fate of human and other life...

Three Takes On California’s Housing Crisis: Part 3

An abandoned, though fairly recent McMansion, looking as if it were a hundred years old
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Part three looks at some of the unexpected consequences of an American Fever-Dream — home ownership, but not just any home: bigger, more unique, prestigious and. . . for reasonably well off citizens . . . affordable.

Three Takes On California’s Housing Crisis: Part 2

a homeless person's tent set up on a los angeles sidewalk
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Part two of a three part series on California's housing crisis published in the California Globe moves to Los Angeles to take a personal look at those most affected by the housing crisis — the homeless.

Three Takes On California’s Housing Crisis: Part 1

pedestrians stroll in historic Pasadena
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Part One considers the current clash of legal responsibilities between the two levels of government actively involved — state and local — focusing on Pasadena.
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