Monthly Archives: August 2020

Can Micro Income, Micro Houses And Micro Businesses Add Up To Micro Communities?

interior of greenhouse with plants and attendant
The success of human communities over the eons have been centred around many different physical and social needs, from water or food sources to protection from enemy attack. Why not income size? There are far too many existing examples of how badly such communities present themselves....

Students Pitch In To Build Housing For People Who Are Homeless

cyclist riding on university campus
The foremost affordable housing charity in the world proved the method: unskilled volunteers can be enticed to pay to travel to another continent, make a cash donation, then contribute sweat equity (physical labour) to construct a truly affordable home for a needy family. A few...

Beating Affordable Housing Out Of Cities. After the Carrot Comes The Stick.

View over rooftops of seaside city of Barcelona
With the coronavirus pandemic has come a remarkable downturn in tourism. This has crimped the style of high-flying Short Term Rental (SRT) landlords, who have over the last few years been stripping rental stock away from city workers in favour of fly-by-night tourist accommodation. Some...

Homeless To Housing: Housing First. And Second? There’s A Big Time Second!

a pair of clasped hands in foreground. Out of focus in background, a listener
'Housing First' is a world-respected program designed to rescue individuals from homelessness. It has been very successful. Indeed, its success has been communicated to city councils everywhere to the point that such governing bodies, without necessarily understanding the full scope of the program, often...

Health Services In US Supported To Use Housing First Treatment

written message explaining housing first accompanied by an image of a large 1st
The evidence supporting Housing First continues to pile up. The Community Preventive Services Task Force in the U.S. compared results from studies of Housing First and Treatment First and have concluded that health practitioners should recommend Housing First to patients who are homeless, using drugs...

TOPA Power: Allowing Distressed Tenants To Buy Out Landlords

A evicted tenant squats on a couch beside his microwave
The headline above seems to suggest an absurd impossibility. The idea that a battered tenant on the brink of rent default and eviction might somehow rise from the floor of the fight cage to deliver that decisive knockout blow to the perennial bad guy...

Can Partnerships, Not Legalities, Solve Kamloops’ Social Discord Problems?

birds' eye view of downtown Kamloops in shadow with sun lighting the mountains in the background
Social discord between businesses, neighbours, social service agencies and their customers seems to be an inevitable feature of modern urban life. Chronic nuisance, perceived or actual, is often the target of hopeful legal remedies like panhandling fines or littering regulations. These legal remedies may discourage....

Update — Is Segregation Actually A ‘Progressive’ Political Tool For Retaining Power

Ruby Bridges with US Marshall escort in 1960
An article linked below by a housing advocate from the US calls out progressives who suggest they are the political force most suitable for ending the race discrimination that has persisted since the end of the civil war. Based on past history, the Democratic Party...

UK Housing Associations Are Teaming Up To Reduce Repair And Building Costs

apartment building undergoing extensive repair
Social housing providers have been teaming up to reduce costs by making bulk purchases for years. It's a tested method to reduce insurance, utility and financing costs for individual housing providers.The Housing Services Corporation is a Canadian example. Here's an initiative from England to...

What Is The Faircloth Amendment? How Is It Crippling Social Housing In America?

classic orange brick high rise public housing towers beside the East River in NYC.
The Faircloth Amendment, passed in 1999, attempts to freeze American social housing in time. Now and in the future, cities may destroy public housing. Cities may neglect public housing until it falls down. But, borne on the wings of a visceral hatred of social...

Updated – Indigenous And Homeless? 12 Reasons Why Affordable Housing Alone Is Not Enough

Jesse Thistle describes the evolution of the Indigenous definition of homelessness and shares some of his own experience in this video conversation with Jayne Malenfant and Stephen Gaetz. Jayne has lived experience of homelessness and is a PhD candidate at McGill. Stephen is the...

Can A Public Trust Help Solve NYCHA’s Multi-Billion Dollar Repair Woes?

New York City Housing Authority: Stapleton Project
With years and years and billions and billions of dollars worth of government neglect lying heavily on its shoulders, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) is understandably grasping at any and all straws that might preserve its invaluable truly affordable housing. City and state...

COVID 19 Recovery — Financing Prospects For New Social Housing

A word salad of ideas associated with Real Estate Investment Trusts
There is no question that the COVID-19 response has messed with the economy. Recovery planners are eyeing social housing as a potential win-win for the construction industry and households with very low or no incomes. COVID-19 has underlined the importance of housing, especially for...

One Size Fits All Social Housing? Nope. Doesn’t Fit Seniors

afforable apartments
Is the idea of mixed age social housing a clever attempt to build more complete (and therefore presumably healthier) housing communities? Or is it just a government slapdash cost-cutting convenience? The decision in British Columbia to mix younger adults into buildings that had been built...

Pardon Our Enthusiasm: The UK Momentary End To Homelessness That Wasn’t

The grizzled face of a chronic homelessness victim
So where did it come from — all the COVID-19 homelessness good news that actually wasn't? thought that Everyone In, which directed local councils to provide housing for everyone who was homeless, was a remarkable achievement. What a wonderful example of all that a national government...

A New Building Solely For Social Housing Tenants?

restored transit bus at transit centre
A Vancouver based developer is proposing to consolidate social housing units in a single building, rather than spreading them across multiple buildings. What should we make of this? These days, public-private partnerships predominate the delivery of affordable housing. By necessity, the units are part of a...

Good Housing You Deserve? Not Possible By Capitalist Speculation

photo portrait of Catherine Bauer
The ultimate degradation of the term 'affordable housing' has been reached by returning it to a strictly individual expression. Pat YOUR pockets. Is it affordable to YOU? How much do YOU have to spend? Speculators embedded in the capitalist economic system, according to Catherine Bauer,...

UK Housing Development Deregulation: A Willful Celebration of Past Ignorance

slum housing victorian England
The United Kingdom is in a unique position. It actually knows the truth about what happens when housing developers are handed their Holy Grail — the unrestricted right to build what they want where they want in the way they want. Rules, regulations, by-laws...

A Call For Change As Promises To Build Social Housing Fail To Deliver

new townhomes in Western Australia
The government of Western Australia recently announced plans to build 15,000 units of green social housing units as part of its COVID-19 recovery strategy.Try: WA COVID-19 Recovery Plans Include Green Social Housing From this side of the world, this seemed nothing short of...

Wonder Why Rehousing The Homeless Needs Support? A Dog Explains It

If you think about people who experience homelessness at all, do you wonder why it seems so difficult to simply insert a certain number of street people into the same number of rooms in flats or houses? The story of Leon and Marley, his beagle-cross...

A Missing Chapter: Housing Development In The Global South

described in caption
If you’ve been reading for a while, you might wonder why there are so few stories about housing in the global south. There hasn't always been much to report as the field is often characterized by stories of shantytowns and favelas, sometimes contrasted...

Green Social Housing – New Source Of Pride For Local Councils

street level view of green social housing project in England
The Royal Borough of Greenwich recently showcased a pilot project of four new homes. The homes are built to meet exacting emission standards and will rent to people with very low incomes. The homes were built using modular construction methods. Taken to scale, this project...

Poverty + Overcrowding = COVID-19 Infection? Not In Vancouver, B.C.

construction site in Vancouver's downtown east side.
Infectious disease specialists know that poverty and overcrowding as well as chronic health conditions are likely to produce increased numbers of infections in a epidemic or pandemic. In the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, events have unfolded as expected. These relationships have proved to be...

Will Aussie ‘Vertical Cruise Ships’ Founder Upon A ‘Generational Catastrophe’

cruise ship in front of high rise buildings
A recent pandemic-centred article from Australia paints a lurid vision of a not-so-brave new world in which downtown high-rise tenants and owners retreat to the suburbs where they 'feel safer.' Will a new generation of social housing become available in the empty husks of...

Social Housing Policy And The Art Of Do-Nothing Apologetics

photograph of a furry howler monkey in mid-howl
In a 1946 essay, George Orwell proposed that “In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible.” Surely the lack of truly affordable housing for citizens with low and no incomes, as well as its most horrific result homelesness, is...

Vancouver BC Decline And Fall Of The Million Dollar Social Housing Unit

one million in gold text
In business-oriented Vancouver, BC, all roads would seem to lead towards profit. For a city regularly rated #2 in the lists of world's most expensive cities to live, it hardly comes as a surprise that its attempts to build truly affordable housing are often...

Baltimore:  Healthy COVID Cynicism Creates a Care Home That Really Cares

lounge with comfy chairs, graceful curtains and snacks
February 28, 2020 was a memorable day for the staff and residents of the Maryland Baptist Aged Home. It was the day President Trump said that COVID-19 was a "hoax". By now, we know the markers for a COVID-19 outbreak in a senior's home: residents...

What If FDR Had Beaten The Great Depression By Handing Out Toolkits?

tool chest - drawers are open and empty
America's greatest housing and employment crisis occurred after the 1929 stock market crash. We're facing another, perhaps even greater one today with the still uncontrolled COVID-19 pandemic. During the 1930's, the United States government responded by funding massive recovery programs. Social housing moved from isolated experiments...

COVID-19: Public Support To A Special Group Of University Students

empty university campus
Young people who are wards of the state achieve instant adulthood when they reach the age of majority and "age out of care".Here's a US based post on this issue: Many Youth Who Leave Foster Care Become Homeless. What To Do? They are at...

Lisbon’s Answer To High Rents For Essential Workers

exterior view of apartment building in Lisbon
Lisbon is inviting short term rental landlords to get into the long term rental business. Concerned that there is no housing in the city that is affordable for essential workers, Lisbon is offering to top up tenant rents to cover the gap between 30% of...

What Is Social Infrastructure And Why Has COVID Made It More Important?

volunteer collecting donations for charity
Traditional definitions of social infrastructure focus on a building and its facilities: a library, a hospital, a recreation centre. From Australia, however, a much broader definition has come into focus as the absence of social necessities impacts negatively upon those struggling to stay housed and...

Empty? British Columbia Translates Housing Speculation Into Social Housing

empty house
Vancouver, B.C. has been home to some fairly insane social housing practices that, rather than supporting residents with low and no income, seem far better designed to leech government subsidies for industry profit.Try: Vancouver BC Decline And Fall Of The Million Dollar Social Housing...

Can Floods Of Lawsuits Prevent Homeless Camp Bulldozing?

Moss Park, empty
Casual notice of commentary on legal matters leads most Canadians to believe that the slightest American disagreements inevitably result in lawsuits, compared to our more occasional, sober and civilized(?) visits to the courts. People experiencing homelessness in Toronto, however, would seem to be taking a...

Social Housing — Who Says It’s Affordable?

view of london and greenwhich from the Greenwich observatory
Thanks to COVID-19, your hours of work have been reduced and you've had to apply for emergency financial assistance to help make ends meet. You've been on a waiting list for social housing for years and your name has finally come up. Doesn't this...

Hotels For Houses

hotel tower in Los Angeles with 1001 rooms
Vacant hotel rooms have been identified as a potential source of new housing on a large scale. These particular rooms are in the Los Angeles area, where as many as 100,000 more people could become homeless when the COVID-19 eviction ban is lifted. Just...

100 Year Old Experiment in Social Housing — Ignored — Can Inform Us Today

corner lot with homes in Cité Frugès
In 1920, one of the world's best known architects, Le Corbusier was funded by a French altruist to create a social housing complex for industrial workers in Pessac, France. It was frankly experimental, exploring and encountering such issues as location, integration with the environment, generational...

Is Segregation Actually A ‘Progressive’ Political Tool For Retaining Power

Ruby Bridges with US Marshall escort in 1960
This following article by a housing advocate from the US calls out progressives who suggest they are the political force most suitable for ending the race discrimination that has persisted since the end of the civil war. Based on past history, the Democratic Party has...

Protocol Breach Undermines Support To Families Experiencing Homelessness

red phone with dark monitor
Imagine leaving all your local contacts behind and not having any idea of how to find help in your new community. In England, local councils have a duty to assist families with children who are experiencing homelessness. With the long waiting lists for social housing,...

How “Minor” Bureaucratic Delays Magnify Into An Eviction Life Crisis

b & w pic of regent's canal with houseboat and flats along both shores
COVID-19 has meant less work or no work at all for too many people. National governments have stepped in with emergency financial assistance. In England, two million people had applied for the emergency financial assistance program (Universal Credit) by the beginning of May. Even...

Social Housing Typology: What Works. What Doesn’t. A Personal View.

syndey skyline with double rainbow
Australia, with its eyes locally focused but with a continuing awareness of developments around the world, has tackled social housing in a variety of ways. However well-meaning, some have been successful, others far less so. With a photographs and commentary on a variety of social...

Irish Government Re-Starts Evictions Midst Happy-Clappy Rental Smokescreen

police and other officials at the scene of a rural eviction circa 1890.
COVID-19 got you penniless and unemployed? The Irish Government has legislation planned to get you dancing for joy. Soon, folks in arrears on the their rent payments will legally have twice as long before they're evicted. Good news indeed! And well, of course, the eviction...

Praying To Protect Renters In Britain

protrait of Baroness Olly Grender
Two members of the House of Lords in the United Kingdom have resorted to prayer to protect tenants who are at risk of being evicted. Skeptical about the power of prayer? Read on. The protections for tenants during COVID-19 have never been as robust as...
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