Monthly Archives: February 2020

What Is Remunicipalization? What Has It Got To Do With Affordable Housing?

view along catwalk at Berlin's water treatment plant
If you're interested in affordable housing, we'd like to "water" down your experience for a few moments in service of one large word: remunicipalization. (You may need a sip of water just to swallow it!) Remunicipalization has emerged as a term to describe returning privatized municipal services...

‘Socialist’ An Insult Right Up There With ‘Yr Mother Wears Hockey Socks’

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar Smiling
In America, aging red state populists are the last survivors of the good old Cold War days when anybody who was anybody checked daily for Reds under the beds. In those days, 'socialist' was an insult with a sting, not the dusty province of a...

Speaking The Unspeakable: New Public Housing In L.A.

#affordablehousing #affordablehomes Story, full photo&credit at

How UK Housing Assistance Creates Ugly, Dodgy Investments

a row of rather plain houses
A recent article in The Guardian forms a basis for our headline. That article connects financial incentives for first time buyers to a plague of ugly, shoddy new build multi-unit housing in the United Kingdom. These homes, which are likely to be poor investments due...

The PPP Era? Lost In Translation. Edinburgh Refocuses On Social Housing

Bird's eye view of Edinburgh, Scotland
Bad news for that Thatcherite conservative, small government fever-dream of arranged housing marriages. Those are the ones in which a sturdy, competent private groom lifts the bridal veil to pucker his lips towards the fluttery, incompetent public heiress, her cheeks swollen with taxpayer cash. Spit...

In The UK, The West Midlands Combined Authority Redefines ‘Affordable Housing’

These days, the affordability of housing is defined in many places by the market value of the housing. For example, one range of housing cost, based on local markets, is deemed 'somewhat affordable,' another range of cost, perhaps 'moderately affordable,' and so on. But housing...

Truly Affordable: Time To Stop ‘Tinkering at the Housing Margins’

street signs protesting poverty & low wages at a Des Moines pre-democratic debate street rally
Two years ago, Homes For All published a report entitled Communities Over Commodities: People-Driven Alternatives to an Unjust Housing System. At the time American politics, particularly at the federal level, battled onward without much if any indication that a national housing crisis was even on the...

So You Think It’s Tough To Rent In Your City? What About . . . ?

A crazily painted, tilted half house in a dirt lot
As cities cores become higher, denser, and more gentrified, the American dream is changing shape. What was once the lure of a single family home on a private lot is becoming the opportunity to own a stacked-box residence in a highrise managed by a...

Housing Author Talks Political Anger And ‘Triangle Of Resistance’ To Affordability

Ceremony celebrating 50,000 home built after World War II in the Netherlands
The focus of the article linked below is the United Kingdom. But the problems it explores are mirrored in nations experiencing a housing crisis that national and regional governments would often rather not recognize. Liam Halligan, author of Home Truths, a recent book on the...

NZ Study Probes Political Pratfalls At ‘Housing Crisis’ Hurdles

Two midgets in yellow and red chicken suits hold protest signs against mcNuggers in Times Square.
A 'housing crisis' implies that some kind of problem exists. Exactly what is that problem? The answer to this fundamental question shapes how people think about it, how politicians talk about it, and what ultimately is done about it. Consider the crisis that inspired Chicken...

Laws Against Housing Segregation? Not Anymore, If HUD Gets Its Way

A sea of windows on a curve with a department sign in front of it
Some decades ago, The U.S. federal government outlawed overt segregation. The Veteran's Affairs directive that forbade government housing assistance to returning black WWII veterans is one example.For more about this, see: A 'Forgotten History' Of How The U.S. Government Segregated America Instead, the feds busied themselves...

Evidence Public Housing Can Be Done Better, The Next Time Around

With a graveyard in foreground, a high-rise being demolished is half-hidden in a cloud of dust
This post features a 'good news' public housing story. It comes from Germany. We'll admit it right up front, part of the story is a little stale. It's about a project started some while ago. It is celebrating an anniversary. Sure, most readers would...

Preventing Homelessness Takes More Than Imagination

In the article linked below, researchers in Wales report about how strategies to prevent homelessness can be undermined, rendering them imaginary. Iolo Madoc-Jones and colleagues wanted to investigate the effects of new legislation that requires a prevention approach to housing and homelessness programs. They interviewed...

In A City Wilderness, Can A Business Build An Oasis For Its Employees?

southeast corner of Dundas and Bay, site of Ryerson University and Canadian Tire
After studying a problem, most governments attempt an organized response that includes a timetable for implementing different phases of the solution. All very well, but where does that leave a homeless person for whom no housing will be available until phase two of a ten...

A 12-Step Program For Woke Housing-Crisis Nations, Courtesy Of Ireland

12 houses on an estate in Athy, Ireland
Much of the world, if not all, is addicted to housing, even to the point of declaring it a human right. It seems to be part the natural human condition — living in shelter — for nearly all citizens of nearly all nations. One view...

King County, Washington Faces Up To The Real Cost Of Truly Affordable Housing

one billion dollar bill
Two years ago, the consulting firm McKinsey & Company delivered a controversial report to King County, Washington. It called for spending a quarter of a billion dollars a year for ten years to address the region's affordability crisis. In 2020, McKinsey is back in the...

Developer Wit Dream: Save The Planet By Killing Zoning. Good Joke!

A sign saying 'no bully zone'
Zoning laws were developed to prevent anybody, including builders, from building just anything anywhere. Reasonable enough to prevent housing next to health-endangering industry, and to build buildings to basic standards of safety. Today's zoning and other safety regulations are not enough to prevent disasters such...

When NIMBY Battlements Fall, Unseemly Victors Gorge On Plunder

birds eye view of Gowanus, New York
Unseemly? Unseemliness? Unseemliness describes a maniacal gobble-fest between competitors for profits. In this terminology, the behaviour of a flock of seagulls fighting over a spilled bag of chips is . . . unseemly. The world of Public Private Partnerships has become the playing field for profit gobble-fests...

Hong Kong Style Micro Home Living Already Alive and Well in America

a token number of seamen's hammocks swing below decks of U.S.S. Constellation
Imagine a railway sleeper car with its upper and lower bunks set up nightly, complete with privacy curtains and a ladder to the top bunk. If you've had the experience of lying awake in a railway bunk on a summer evening and watching North...

Bad Housing = Bad Health

i, an on line journal based in the England, has just published an opinion piece that takes aim at health issues in the private rental housing sector in the UK. Vicky Spratt, i's housing correspondent, relates individual cases and studies that connect housing affordability,...

Moab Prof Proves It Can Be Done — Energy Efficiency AND Affordability

A stretch of billboard and sign line street looking like anything but a downtown
Climate change is a new reality facing housing. But with heartfelt cries for housing affordability ringing in government ears everywhere, are costly climate-friendly houses forever to be at odds with affordability? In America and elsewhere, the building industry cries uncle at the cost of land,...

Dallas Provides A Megacity View From The ‘Burbs: Past, Present And Future

a huge expanse of highway sweeps towards the nighttime lights of distant downtown dallas
A report from Dallas Texas enumerates some of the pros, cons, and one-day-hopeful pros again in a city that is a giant festival of sprawl. The report focuses on the impact of travel costs on affordability of life in the city, and its less than...

Dallas Highrise Residential Parking: An Affordable Housing Burden?

concrete pillars step across a sea of empty asphault
At we've not been overly impressed by the blanket condemnation of zoning bylaws by the housing industry. NIMBY neighbourhood attitudes, perfectly understandable, have become a convenient 'fall guy' for all the affordable housing that isn't getting built. Local bylaws are put in place to...

Millions of Europeans Suffering Common Affordable Housing Crises

pre 1914 image of two children sleeping outdoors beside steps
The following article provides readers with an insight into the current state of national housing crises across Europe. For largely unilingual North Americans, the article is a window into a lot of other nations' housing problems. The universality of the conditions discussed in the article tends...

Watch Out, Politicians! The Housing Crisis Is Coming To Bite Your Ass!

graph of housing price index in Ireland. Housing prices are again climbing to 2008 levels.
During the 2016 American Federal Elections, we called Affordable Housing the 'Elephant in the Room'.See: The Elephant In The US Election Room: Affordable Housing For all that it was clearly a growing crisis, the political class — both parties — simply weren't talking about...

Looking For Affordability? Try Success. Go North, Young Dreamer

A pair of Canadians holding a Canadian flag above a snow swept field
Affordable can homes be realized from lower prices, but also higher income. Advice to young Americans once counselled to 'Go West" to make their fortune? These days, you might be better off going north.

Affordable Canada? Do Your Homework. Beware of ‘Some Measures’

An arial view of a snowy Fort McMurray in winter
Who'da thunk it? Canada, according to 'some measures,' is home to the most affordable city in the world. Aha! thinks this writer, as usual far too impatient to read the fine print. We've been dreaming of making a move to get more bang for the...

Health Care Organizations Up Their Game In The Housing Business

Here's a resource for people who want to extend the impact of health care services. It's a booklet that outlines best practices that have combined goals of providing housing and improving health outcomes. It also includes case studies from six different organizatinos in the...

Rent Controls — Panacea Or Pariah?

high rise apartment building
Some governments are introducing rent controls as a response to the housing crisis. This is a hotly contested measure. Landlords and developers say rent controls discourage adding stock to the rental market. Tenants and people who are homeless generally favour them as they want...

Affordable Housing Insanity: In Jersey City, You Can Be Too Poor To Be Poor

skyline of Jersey City, New Jersey
Too rich to be poor? Now that's a concept that's easy to understand. Too poor to be poor? In all the world, it's apparently only possible in Jersey City, New Jersey, where it exists in violation of America's national 'redlining' act, which prohibits discrimination based...

Looking To Rent With Rental CV Handy? No? Everybody Else Has One!

derelict house in Wellington, New Zealand
With renting a home becoming the flavour of reality (if not desirability) everywhere, it's tough to stand out when would be renters flock and squawk around scarce opportunities, like seagulls around a lone potato chip. In New Zealand, one hopeful couple hit upon the idea...

A View Of Social Housing in Countries Where ‘Social’ Is Not Repugnant

architectural sketch of social housing in Amsterdam
These days, not everyone in the world except Americans (the odd progressive aside), believe that social housing deserves to go belly up in a hand basket, or be otherwise eradicated in some other hellish prescription of permanent doom. For an extensive and intriguing view of...

Women Set Up Tent Community For Evicted Neighbours

A recent article reports on the actions of one woman in Oakland California who decided she had a moral duty to both her community and her neighbours who had been evicted. She cleared up a vacant lot in the neighbourhood and started a tent...

A Clean And Green Future For The 1% After The 99% Are Gone?

pond with ducks, swans and a fountain in Copenhagen
It has been said quite recently that only the wealthy can afford to invest in climate change. The rest of the world is too busy trying stay alive. Or, in terms of affordable housing, too busy trying to find and/or keep a roof overhead. So...

Myth-Busting: What Makes You Think Tiny Homes Will Be Affordable?

Homes in Salmon Creek, California
North America is a land of large housing lots. Not surprising therefore that their potential for doubling density causes affordable housing activists to pump their fists in the air for granny-flat power. More and more administrations are allowing accessory dwelling units (ADUs, as well as...

Bureaucracy Loves The Pros Though They Won’t Fix Housing Affordability

slide rule
Bureaucrats must sigh with relief when one of the half-dozen or so major homebuilders the United Kingdom walk through the door with a project proposal. The same sentiment is undoubtedly expressed in America, or Ireland. The pros have arrived! With their years of knowledge and expertise,...

Habitat for Humanity Middle Class Follies: None Too Impressive?

Waterfront picture of Wilmington North Carolina
Housing For Humanity: a world-beating affordable housing charity now approaching middle age, which is no longer able capable of keeping up with the changing times? We certainly hope not. But there are worrisome signs. During a discourse on gentrification in Wilmington, North Carolina, Steven Spain, executive...

Landlords Vs. Climate Change: How Will Renters Weather The Clash?

water in abird bath reflects a bush fire in Victoria, Australia
Australia already appears to be suffering from the dramatic and devastating effects of climate change while being led, like America, by a government that refuses to see any sign of climate change. Some people in Australia, however, are feeling it as well as seeing it,...

Could Reviled Public Housing Beat Current National Affordability Programs?

black and white image of three wooden doors, each with a lock
Useful articles on the subject of public housing have been a rarity in mainstream American publications. "Not in our lifetime," has been a characterization of a date when the benefits of social a.k.a. public housing might one day be reconsidered. And yet, as decades pass,...

America’s Governments: Social Housing Needs You!

The classic image of uncle sam with two cartoon hands pointing at his head from left and right
American government: point that urgent finger at yourselves. Your citizens need YOU to recreate a public housing program! Articles like the one linked below have been scarce to nonexistent in the American media over the last few decades. It is an intelligent presentation in a prominent...
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