Monthly Archives: November 2020

Tenants Call For Green Kitchens In NYCHA Buildings

An electric burner glows green on a stove
Tenants living in housing owned by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) have come up with a great idea to get the ball rolling on a Green New Deal and it starts in the kitchen. Some kitchens in NYCHA kitchens are equipped with gas...

Irish Government Heavy Breathing Into Vacant Housing Owner Ears

the dark windows of a cottage reveal that it sits empty
Small-c government (or neo-liberal government, if you like) is a public entity that is infatuated with private enterprise. That goes particularly for the provision of truly affordable housing, for which there is a desperate need in a great many countries. Among the the myriad of...

Birmingham Private Housing Authorities Abandon Special Needs Tenants

An empty wheelchair sits in shallow seas
The U.K. government has over the past few years created loopholes for housing developers normally restricted by numerous by-laws. This extra freedom was created in order to encourage the development of housing on brownfield sites, where remediation (toxic waste cleanup) expenses discourage investor participation. One...

Can Existing Social Housing Go ‘Green’ One Baby Step At A Time?

Protesters at a Washington D.C. rally hold a sign saying housing justice is climate justice
A local article from a Welsh newspaper paints in one corner of an enormous issue: 'decarbonization' of United Kingdom's social housing. Viewed from America, decarbonization or greening, or energy efficiency, or any of a several of other terms all compete for primacy as a description...

Biden-Harris: Timely Dawn Of A New Day For Public Housing? Unlikely

A Biden Harris election sign sits beside on saying 'Hate Has No Home Here'
For young progressives in America expecting great change from the replacement of a Republican President by a Democratic one, don't hold your breath while counting on the arrival of a new, equitable era for public housing. The caution holds even if the twin Senate...

Reasons To Be Wary Of Home Ownership

Yes, there are people who wonder whether home ownership is all it's cracked up to be. This intriguing point of view diverges substantially from the idea that everyone should aspire to home ownership. What lies behind it? First there is the idea of harm, which...

Tough Times For Landlords: The Shoe Remains Stuck On The Other Foot

banner with phone number and "to rent" sign hanging from a high rise building. To give an idea of scale, each letter is one storey in height
In Ontario, Canada, a landlord can't even book a hearing for a juicy above-guideline rent increase, such is the demanding backlog facing the Landlord Tenant Board as it begins to adjudicate tenant eviction hearings that have been on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic. Still,...

Enhanced Mental Health For Seniors In Public Housing

exterior view of community centre
Patrick Raue is using his research to help seniors to stay connected. It is proving helpful to tenants living in public housing. At any time, it's important to keep connections with friends and family members for the sake of our mental health, especially as we...

Equality In Education Takes a Surprise Turn Towards Internet Access

laptop with green keyboard
COVID-19's focus on home has brought a lot of issues to light. Our homes are one of the reasons some of us are more likely to contract the virus than others. COVID-19 has also exposed gaps in home-based access to broadband internet. Why is this...

Stop OZ Fantasies. Replace Yellow Brick Road With Equitable Housing Infrastructure

wooden trolley bus
The Wizard of Oz musical was short on housing details, but long on vital housing infrastructure. The yellow brick road carried everyone from their dwelling (admittedly not highly featured in the musical) to the City of Oz. In America, real-world roads as well as other means...

Housing Rental Assistance Stalls Out In Hot Markets. Even Warm Ones.

residential street in Galway, Ireland
In countries influenced by neo-liberalism, governments are dedicated to self-shrinking. Rather than constructing and "owning" public/social housing, rental assistance programs have become the order of the day for supporting low- and no- income citizens. The idea is to push the management of this vulnerable...

Montréal: Can A By-Law Hitch An Affordable Cart To The Housing Dragon?

statue with child riding a dragon
Montréal, Québec is like communities everywhere that recognize a need for secure, truly affordable housing for low- and no- income citizens. And like many, many communities, Montréal would far prefer that some other entity — not the municipality itself — should pay for it. Why...

10,000 L.A. Public Housing Units That Didn’t Get Built

view of Dodger stadium with Elysian Park Heights in the background
A recent article in Mother Jones recounts a story from Los Angeles about 10,000 units of public housing that were never built. The article is about Frank Wilkinson, who worked for the L.A. Housing Authority, and was leading the housing development. As the article relates,...

Silver Tsunami Greets Affordable Senior’s Housing That Isn’t There

In shorts, T-shirt with a racing number on her chest, an older woman races ahead of some younger ones.
Do you know that the writer of this article is a senior? You may not, but Google does. I read articles from around the world daily in publications from hometown Toronto to Bangkok, Thailand with many stops before and after. Courtesy of Google and...

COVID-19 & The Full Granular Horror of Public Private Housing Partnerships

A multicoloured tent pitched on snow-covered ground
Years of public housing destruction in the U.S. have been justified by a faith-based principle: that private enterprise can spend public money more efficiently and effectively than governments to provide a fundamental need, if not a right, for the country's low- and no- income...

A Treasure Trove Of Local Ideas For Building More Affordable Housing

interior of Milwaukee council chamber
Local Housing Solutions is a web site designed to help people who want to take action to help make housing more affordable to people with very low incomes. It is designed to support changes in the United States at the local level. It has...

Transforming Canada’s 10 Year Housing Plan

M'Akola Housing society homes in Victoria, BC
Indigenous people in Canada are over-represented in the population of people experiencing homelessness. A lack of adequate housing contributes to this situation. The Indigenous Housing Caucus of the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association has prepared a plan to add more. The Indigenous Caucus is well...

Flicking A Broken Switch to Turn Off US Public Housing? Doesn’t Work

The side of a classic American red brick public housing tower
Much of what publishes about social/public/council housing could in the US be considered palliative care for a dying industry and its long-suffering tenants. American public housing has been nationally diagnosed as a hopeless case, and all that would seem to remain is to...

UK Pandemic Home Buyers Compete With Councils For Housing Deals

birds-eye view of houses rising on a ridge with trees behind
It is difficult to avoid shaking the head in disbelief. Some reports peg housing demand and housing prices as either stable or rising in the face of COVID-19.Here's a U.S. example from the ever-optimistic housing market press: U.S. house prices continue to rise, albeit...

Internet Connections Broaden The Definition of Housing Infrastructure

person using laptop sitting on pavement
New housing salesperson to prospective buyer, "Wait a minute! Now you say you want electricity brought right into your home! That will be special order, and cost extra." Not a statement to be heard much in this day and age. Electricity has long been considered an...

Rough Sleepers Just The Tip of Australia’s Homelessness Problem

Empty park, empty paths, empty park bench
A recent report for the Australian Homeless Monitor attempts to find a prescription for future action by making sense of Australia's homelessness problem as it has evolved over the last several years. The report acknowledges the counter-intuitive benefits of the pandemic to the some of...

Who Might Jesus Look Like In A Modern Canadian Winter?

silhouette of labourers carrying a ladder, two of them clearly carpenters
The face of a Second Coming in today's modern world might be that of a man more effectively able to preach by what he practices, rather then practice his preaching. Why? Because today, thanks to the internet, everybody practices preaching. A cacophony of advice spills...

Advocates Recommend Toronto Addresses For New Social Housing

Before COVID-19, the City of Toronto was in the midst of an effort to add to the supply of housing that would help people to leave homelessness. Since COVID-19 arrived, the City has approved new plans to add additional housing units for people experiencing...

Ireland: Teeny Tiny Homes Are Not Dead, Just Smushed Into High Rise Towers

picture of two adults and five children, circa 1901
The pro's and con's of co-livingFor a discussion of co-living and the potential benefits, see: Co-living: What Is It? Who Does It? Why Bother? have been receiving considerable coverage in Ireland lately. The debate has been spurred by a proposal for a soaring co-living...

Administrative Challenge To Black Housing Reparations In The US

HUD headquarters rises behind row houses in Washington DC
By now, most people concerned about institutional discrimination in the United States have know about redliningSee more on the history of redlining here: Redlining: What Was It? And Should We Be Asking ‘What Is It?’ Because It’s Still With Us, And It’s Bad —...

Calls For Public Housing: Part Of A UK Economic Recovery Plan

black and white woman
In the early days of COVID-19, Guardian reporter Laura Spinney asked if COVID was a consequence of the economy, and not the other way round.Try: COVID-19: Brought To You By Bats & Pangolins . . . Or. . . Inequality? Regardless of which came...

New York Mayor Swallows Unexpected Lead Paint At News Conference

Poster with picture of child, warning of the dangers of lead paint
At a recent news conference, New York's Mayor learned that 9,000 NYCHA (New York City Housing Authority) housing units need lead paint remediation. Earlier counts put the number at 3,000 units. Removing lead paint should be a priority in the homes of young children, who...

Sure, Farm Workers Can Social Distance Between Rows Of Tomatoes, But . . .

farm workers pick unknown product from between rows of green
This summer, Ontario approached a limited control of the spread of COVID-19 and began to consider phased modification of its largely voluntary lockdown. But part of the population of that province was for a time inconvenienced by migrant farm workers. These non-citizens were apparently incapable...

COVID-19 Adds To The Impact Of Historic Discrimination

A sickly orange smoke pours from a smokestack
America's widest circulation newspaper, USA Today, has used its resources to find out who is being hit hardest by COVID-19 in the US. Picking six areas where there was a high proportion of illness and a high proportion of deaths, they dug deeper to...

Grappling With A Rural Housing Shortage

red tourist train passing homes in Gwynedd, Wales
Residents of Gwynedd, Wales are looking for ways to overcome a housing shortage. It is tucked up next to Snowdonia National Park, which is popular with tourists. It's also a five hour drive from London and so relatively remote. People with money are buying up...

Touting A New Chinese Export: A Housing Label — “Sandwich Class”

modern high-rises back a single person posing for a photo
"Affordable," "Missing Middle," "Workforce". . . are you up to date on your housing labels? Knowing how housing is described can help navigate the fog of manufactured confusion that the free enterprise housing industry likes to create. Why does the industry bother? Simple. It pays...

Mixed Use, Mixed Income Housing By Accident

In a black and white photo a bomb-blasted London bus leans up against shattered houses
In the decades following World War II, many governments invested in civic infrastructure to keep their economies growing and wipe away the bombed neighbourhoods, which were visible vestiges of war. Infrastructure also included massive urban renewal schemes which replaced whole neighbourhoods in the central...

Long View Reasons To Build Public Housing Now

a set of abandoned two story public houses
A new book, "Housing Policy In Australia" calls for a national housing program and building more social housing. This is a direction the current government has stubbornly resisted. The authors support their argument partly by taking a long view. They note the high numbers of...

Call A Public Housing Tenant Criminal Without Evidence? New Jersey Will Sue.

A series of row houses, one fenced off and the windows boarded, two more still occupied
ThatcheriteA term named for United Kingdom Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, much admired in conservative circles for introducing drastic curbs on government social welfare spending. governments have for several decades now made a virtue of removing as much government as they can from people's lives....

Aussie Power Project Turns Social Housing Tenants Into Sun Worshipers

a solar panel strapped onto a terra cotta tile roof
Dismissing a useful future for social housing these days works most dramatically when raising the spectre of high rise projects. President Trump, as part of his 2020 campaign, has most notably done just that, claiming credit for regulations that spare suburban housewives from the...

Working Together To End Homelessness

six stacked hands
In Ontario, many agencies, governments and funders work to help people leave homelessness. They need to be able to work closely together to provide an effective and seamless service. In 2019, people working in the Toronto area took time away from delivering, managing and...

The Human Right to Adequate Housing: A Changing Definition Of “Adequate”

man sitting beside a computer device on very long bamboo poll, with wire trailing to the ground
Adequate housing as a basic human right? Many countries have formally accepted this United Nations-promoted vision.Here's a discussion of adequate housing in UN Terms: Fact Sheet No.21, The Human Right to Adequate Housing Others, such as America, have large populations that aspire to the...

Whatever Happened To Eel Grass Insulation? The Story So Far

A man in t-shirt and jeans stands on a cobblestone beach raking up seaweed
How does removing an existing and undeniably 'green' insulating product fit with a commitment to climate-friendly solutions? A recent article about climate-change-sensitive refurbishment of public housing in Nova Scotia contained a small quirk, hardly noticeable in passing. That province is looking to spend a long-overdue...

San Francisco Considers Paying The Price For New Public Housing

A modern medium rise building on a busy street, its ground floor a string of shops
“The vision is that you can be a working class person who lives in San Francisco and pays a reasonable percentage of your income to rent.” It's déjà vu all over again as San Francisco discovers facts known 90 years ago about the benefits of...

A World of Affordable Housing Crises Before the Pandemic: What Next?

Entrance gate and buildings
Over the last few months, the impact of COVID-19 has driven many events surrounding the universal human need for housing. Not surprisingly, crises associated with this fundamental need (and indeed a fundamental right in many countries) has focused upon those least able to help...
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