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Monthly Archives: October 2020

Prudent Business Operations In Non-Profit Housing?

scaffolding beside apartment tower
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As a company, Joint Ownership Entity NYC (JOE NYC for short) doesn't have a catchy name. You certainly wouldn't guess that it works with non-profit housing providers in New York City. Nor, as an asset management company, does it have a catchy mission. Asset...

A COVID Count Of Zero?

A frozen wasteland on the sea, the foreshore dotted in the distance with little houses
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The BBC has uncovered a remarkable piece of news that has yet to be widely covered in the Canadian media: there have been zero cases of COVID-19 in Canada's far northern territory of Nunavut. This story features an interview with Michael Patterson, the Medical Officer...

Musical Chairs: When The Chairs Are Homes, No Fun When The Music Stops

13 pre-schoolers and 4 Marines play musical chairs (presumably there are 16 chairs in play just now).
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How close is your bum to a seat when the music stops? Musical chairs is all about a lack of choice — shared by all the contestants in the game. Should you hover close to this chair? Point your derrière at that one? Delay...

Transaltlantic Neoliberal Problem With The Poor: They Just Won’t Keep Up!

graph of house prices in the Netherlands, indexed to 1975
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Two articles published on the same day on opposite sides of the Atlantic reflect, when it comes to housing, how badly the poorer classes have let down the ideals of neoliberalism as well as small c-conservatism (if the experts can shine meaningful light on...

New And Deadly Activist Now Calling For Homelessness Action: Winter

A man sits on pavement swaddled in a blanket and only a portion of his face visible
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Worldwide, prompt government pandemic action has swept people experiencing homelessness into shelter. The effectiveness of these actions has been greeted with both praise, but also surprise. After years of hair-tearing inaction amid unaffordable housing and growing homelessness, it wasn't meant to be quite so...

A Study, Not Just Speculation, Links Poverty In Maryland To COVID Infection

Black students are prominently featured among a group of high school graduates in caps and gowns.
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A constant theme of pandemic reporting worldwide has been the greater number of COVID-19 cases in poorer neighbourhoods, compared to those which may be close by, but at least seem to be more effectively surviving the pandemic.Lockdown is just one consequence of this pattern....

Successful Capitalist Welfare State Singapore Plans Tomorrow’s Benefits For All

Apartment building with balconies in multiple colours
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Perhaps you're a go-along-to-get-along free market apologist for the poor treatment that your nation metes out to the elderly, the poor and the unwell. Possibly you've drunk the koolaid about squandering ill-deserved money on the country's underclasses, money earmarked as essential for guiding a national...

Lump Sum Payments Help People Who Are Homeless To Leave The Streets

green maple leaf
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Here is news of a promising study from the University of British Columbia about New Leaf, a program that distributes lump sum cash payments to people who are homeless. The program began in 2018. The study follows 115 people who were experiencing homelessness to evaluate...

Are Housing Costs Eating Away At You?

face of anxious child
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How does spending more than 30% of income on housing affect households with low incomes? How does it feel to borrow money to buy food so that your loved one can celebrate their birthday? What about avoiding the fresh food aisle in the grocery...

Why Taking The Sting Out Of Debt Letters Isn’t Enough

TEXT IN SCREEN READS !!! WARNING !!! IF YOU DO NOT TAKE THE ACTION REQUIRED BY THIS NOTICE BEFORE THE DATE SHOWN THEN THE FURTHER ACTION SET OUT BELOW MAY BE TAKEN AGAINST YOU
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The UK government is revising the rules for debt letters — those nasty surprises that arrive in the mail to inform you that you are behind in your payments for something or other — rent, for example. Currently they tend to be written in...

23 Walls: Different Brutalist Strokes For Different Low Budget Folks

apartment building in brutalist style
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Can flexibility added to brutalism be enough to make concrete walls into cozy homes? When the contest is fictional architecture,See: FICTIONAL ARCHITECTURE a real-life answer is not as important so much as the flamboyant expression of architecture as an art form. Nevertheless, the combination of...

Housing For Poor Built Beside Rich? It’s A Camel Through The Eye Of A Needle

An All-While camel sculpture looks up at a tall needle, the eye above its head
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Ah, yes, California! In a political climate famed (according to right wing sources anyway) for excessive liberalism amounting to self-inflicted commie-kazi, the truth is much more complex. NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) voices are a fact of life in California. The most formidable opposition...

Social Housing Tenants Can Manage Themselves, Despite Govt Seal Of Disapproval

A typical red brick wall of an American public housing building
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As regular as the sun rising in the morning, governments find the management of social housing to be incompetent. CEO of Toronto Community Housing Corporation? It may soon be your turn for the job, because it is a regular revolving door of executives who...

Boston Supports Affordable Housing Access By Supporting Affordable Food

man standing at entrance to corner grocery store, circa 1950s
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The necessities of life come in silos.  A buyer of accommodation cannot expect to find a juicy bargain in the auto parts market. Even the poorest must compete for their necessities by trading in no less than three silos: shelter, water and food. In market...

Cherished Steel Houses?

house clad in metal
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Just when you think you've heard the last word about shipping containers, along comes a new story. Iron panels have worked very well as exterior cladding on houses in Iceland. The panels proved effective in a country with tough weather and where the wood supply...

Vancouver, B.C. Eyes A Cleanup Of Downtown SROs Through Public Ownership

Older residential buildings at the corner of Main Street in Vancouver, B.C.'s downtown east side
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Vancouver, B.C. is cursed with one of the highest costs of living in the world and blessed (a teeny tiny blessing) with a considerable quantity of still-existing affordable rent single room occupancy (SRO) housing stock. SROs and their close relatives, rooming housesDistinguishing between SROs and...

Good Census Sense: Sharing Wealth By Standing Up To Be Counted

map of Cleveland's neigbourhoods
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People have been collecting census data for at least 2000 years. What began as simple head count has become quite sophisticated today. Why should we be counted? What good does it do? Does it do harm? The article featured here, which about a neighbourhood...

COVID-19 Recovery: Reversing Decades Of Labour Discrimination

a lineup of brown manikins stands behind one white one at a door marked 'jpbs'
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Olugbenga Ajilore cautions that the national unemployment rate may not be the best measurement for planning the U.S.'s economic recovery from COVID-19. Ajilore, a senior economist at the Center For American Progress, starts his discussion by comparing unemployment rates for Blacks and Whites during 2020....

COVID + Climate Change: Health Vulnerable At Risk Both Hot And Cold

In a recent post, we considered summer heat maps which coincided with U.S. urban discrimination practices, leaving poorer and more vulnerable people at risk in the record-breaking heat waves of the last few years.Try: Yonkers, NY, Traces Yesterday's Past Black Discrimination That Now Kills...

Ending Homelessness: Vancouver & Philadelphia Explore Different Paths

The bright lights of Vancouver high-rises shine like jewels in the twilight
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Somebody must be making potfuls of money in Vancouver, B.C. Why else is it second only to Hong Kong as the most unaffordable city in the world? Such a shame that a city with a river of gold running beneath its streets is so unable...

Intimate Partner Violence: New Directions For Programming

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Governments looking to ramp up their programming to help people living with intimate partner (aka domestic) violence have a new resource to help with their planning. Anova and Changing Ways are agencies based in London Ontario, that help people living with intimate partner violence. The...

Green Matters: No Single Colour Of Paint Covers AU Tenant Energy Hardship

indistinct in the darkness, a family sits around a blazing campfire
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Energy hardship is a natural outcome of treating rental housing as a commodity, rather than sheltering it under a human rights umbrella. In many modern countries, the owner of a housing commodity can be expected to maximize profits by mitigating energy costs. That translates...

Be Ready For COVID: Useful Advice From A Hard-Struck Indigenous Community

A parade of balloon-festooned floats obscures the view of the small town of La Loche, Saskatchewn
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Roughly 2% of the Canadian population has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus to date. But in La Loche, Saskatchewan, an outbreak attacked more than 7% of the village, together with the nearby First Nations Reserve. Unusual? Yes. Reserve communities have generally suffered only a quarter...

Czech Housing Good Enough For Yesterday’s Commies, Today’s Middle Classes

A long row of 8 or so storied apartments in panels of alternating maroon and concrete colour
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Imagine: worried housing academics, historians, designers and activists agonizing and shaking their heads over the "new chic" — privately purchased and refurbished social housing apartments — unadorned brick towers now become absolutely the urban "in thing" to own and cherish! What drug-fuelled fever-dream of some...

Help! There’s A Socialist In My Government! But Maybe Somebody’s Gotta Do It

a traditional heroic propaganda poster in largely red colors featuring a worker, an astronaut and a 'statue of liberty??'
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For all those concerned with truly affordable housing in free enterprise societies, broad socialist solutions seldom make a meaningful contribution to democratic debate. In an investment-driven, wealth-chasing political framework, which is based on the value of land, what possibly can be acceptable about a super-nanny...

‘True’ Housing Affordability In A Private Enterprise World: Is It Possible?

apartment building with three for rent signs
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Over the last few years, the term "affordability" when applied to housing has deteriorated to a match between seller's asking price and whatever you have in your pocket. And any meaning to the words "true affordability" has migrated away from the needs of those...

How Church Land Can Help To Ease The Need For Social Housing

A modest stone church with a quiet courtyard, tall glass faces of high-rise buildings tower above it
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Public land? Philanthropist donated land? Church land? Tone Wheeler kicks off a discussion about Australian government disinterest in using public land for social housing. A similar attitude from philanthropy paves his way to explore using church land to help build housing for the country's most vulnerable. Along...

An Artist’s Perspective On Community And Housing: Undervalued And Overdue

A pair of women stand beside a shoeshine received by a soldier in a black and white mid 20th century photo
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Artists of many stripes often expect and receive a rough ride when it comes to public understanding and appreciation of their work, let alone in convincing someone or anyone that their work is deserving of some form of funding. Architects (who have been known to...

Canada’s Federal Government Commits To Ending Homelessness

a motel facade without much sign of life
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Canada's most recent Speech From the Throne states, "the Government is now focused on entirely eliminating chronic homelessness in Canada." Governments in many countries acted during the early phases of COVID-19 to provide accommodation for people who were experiencing homelessness, leading to hopes that the...

Building The Bridge To Housing From Homelessness

Furniture and other household necessities on the driveway in a yard sale.
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Interviews with people who are homeless leave no doubt that they would prefer to live in housing. The experience of finding and moving to housing highlights the challenges involved when making the idea a reality. One of the challenges is the items to furnish...

“For Your Own Good” Pandemic Lockdown An “Assault On Human Dignity”

get out of jail free "chance" card from a monopoly game
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In a classless society, presumably all are equal and deserve to be treated that way. Exceptions are presumably allowed when some disadvantaged group needs extra care and attention. This slippery slope was evident during the first "wave" of coronavirus in the UK. Lockdown restrictions...

Until Nov 4, 2020: $6 To Stream Wiseman’s “Public Housing” Documentary

The documentary filmmaker sits slumped in a comfortable chair, feet towards and unseen theatre audience
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Frederick Wiseman, a recognized giant of US documentary film production, has focused his attention on capturing the life of American institutions on film, all of them screened over his career on PBS. One of those institutions has been public housing, and his fascinating documentary Public...

Public Housing in DC . . . After A Decade Of Federal Underfunding

early public housing project in Washington DC
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The headline for this post reflects a quote from the DC Housing Authority's (DCHA's) 2021 plan. Alas, the underfunding goes back much longer than a single decade. From 11,000 on DCHA's public housing waiting list in 1991, the demand has blossomed to 73,000 today. DCHA...

OECD: Homelessness In Australia Ranks 3rd Worldwide

person experiencing homelessness in Sydney, Australia
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Australians have the highest median wealth in the world, yet they rank 3rd in the proportion of the population that is homeless. At $264,903 per adult, Australia's wealth is six times that of Finland, where homelessness is going down. And, in Australia, the numbers...

Yonkers, NY, Traces Yesterday’s Past Black Discrimination That Now Kills Today

historic image of Moquette row, with pavement from house front to house front and no greenery at all
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Recent protests in the US have focused on current discrimination against Blacks, as well its deep roots in American culture and society since Emancipation. The unrest has triggered calls for reparations for historic injustice, and some states have already begun to consider the issue. We...

COVID-SARS-2 Prohibits ‘Business As Usual’. Posties Know Why

three letter carriers delivering mail on icy streets
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Coronavirus Futures: COVID-SARS-2 virus, first wave...second wave...third wave...nth wave. Will we still call the pandemic COVID-19, years after its year of appearance? Or will we declare successive waves as COVID-20, COVID-21, COVID-22 and so on? In spite of misguided rallying cries — 'all pull...

Housing Authorities See Benefit In The Education/Training Biz

four adults in discussion seated around a table. one is taking notes
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Crises of affordable housing in many countries are bringing a new appreciation of the importance of government-financed social housing for low and no-income citizens. Where countries such as the United States, Canada, The United Kingdom and Australia have allowed much of their social housing stock...

It’s A Bird . . . No, A Plane . . . No, A Bristol, UK Super Tenant!

Briston fire-rescue vehicles
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In the United Kingdom, social housing has been loved and lost. Let us consider the national government over the last few decades as the lover, and the UK society as the loser. This sad state of affairs comes about because the UK needs a...

What Is A “Socially Focused Mixed-Use Scheme?” Does It Have Legs?

a google street view image of an old yellow building and a baby blue education centre add-on
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What is socially focused mix-use housing? Let's look briefly at the opposite, which often characterizes today's social housing: towers, which provide little more than basic shelter. homes situated in "food deserts" — neighbourhoods without greengrocers or supermarkets. Healthy food options are often only available via a...

Reforming City Management To Meet The Needs Of All Residents

hillside favela in Rio de Janiero
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This post is a portal to two series of articles. Both call for resident-centric planning in cities. Decent housing and thriving communities are at the core of both. Both support bottom up approaches to planning, which engage residents in planning and development of the...

Internet Provider Grabs Headlines Helping Students To Get On Line

A young woman bends over a laptop on a kitchen counter
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An internet provider in California and the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) have reached an agreement to provide free internet access until the end of December 2020. The free access will be delivered by Starry Inc. to tenants living at one...

The ‘Practical’ Tiny Home Soldiers On As The ‘Romantic’ Tiny Home Falters

Small groups of curious people mill around two tiny houses.
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Let us generally discard mobile tow-trailers and motorized caravans as 'camping adventures' and focus instead on the idea of a true home, but a 'tiny' one. Over the last few years, they've earned attention from three distinct directions. The first is the present day stepchild...

Do Tourists⬇ + COVID Homeless Shelters⬆ = Longer Term Opportunities?

A sign saying "no Tourists allowed beyond this point."
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Will the tourist industry rebound? Sooner or later, COVID-19 will degenerate into one more everyday menace to be avoided (e.g. everything from catching the flu to falling overboard from a cruise ship). But can tourist industry businesses survive if recovery happens later rather than sooner? Short...

Black Reparations? Housing Opportunities As A Suitable Direction For Action

emancipation memorial fountain in the elaborate style
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California's 'woke' politics help it to be one of the first out of the gate with at least a lukewarm endorsement of long overdue Black reparations. It's a refreshing change, since American governments at all levels have long been complicit in the centuries of...
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