Monthly Archives: January 2021

The Shift: Committing To Housing As Shelter For All, Not Investment Opportunity

Leilani Farha, the UN's Special Rapporteur on Housing, 2016 to 2020
Leilani Farha may no longer be the UN's Special Rapporteur on Housing,To check out the Special Rapporteur's mandate, see the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights: Special Rapporteur On The Right To Adequate Housing but she's still very committed to ending homelessness...

First Voice Advocates Speak Up For Housing

Portrait of Annie
Many people in Canada have experience of being homeless.It's an experience that is gradually being honoured, rather than vilified. Try: Between A Rock And A Hard Place: Remembering People Who Are Homeless As a recent meeting hosted by the Canadian Lived Experience Leadership Network...

New US Education Secretary With Personal Roots In Public Housing

parked yellow school bus
Let's get right to the good news. Miguel Cardona, President-elect Joe Biden's choice as Education Secretary, is a public housing alumnus! He apparently describes his earlier self as a '“goofy little Puerto Rican kid” born in a public housing complex in Meriden. It's always...

A United America Needs Better Access To Public Housing

welcome banners on building along the inauguration route in Washington
With the arrival of the Biden Democratic presidency in the USA, there are increasing calls for what can be described as "big government" solutions to the nation's problems. This after decades of "small government" politics pursed by both Republicans AND Democrats. Those policies have...

Oakland Carpe Diem: When “Seize The Day” Became “Seize The Empty House”

adults with children on their shoulders at 2020 Martin Luther King march in Oakland
When opts to post about news events, we try to find those that showcase ideas and concepts that can provide encouragement about positive future change. One news event that affordable housing action has followed was what seemed to be a spontaneous occupation of an...

Support For A Struggling Single Person? Don’t Hold Your Breath

Bella DePaulo, writing in Psychology Today, is calling attention to a group of people who are largely excluded from social assistance programs in Canada and the United States: single adults who are under the age of 65. There are an awful lot of people...

Rent Banks: One Solution To Public Housing Circular Firing Squads?

exterior view of court house in Maryland
In order to fix a public housing problem, it seems that we need to identify a culprit. Classically, tenants point the finger of blame at management. Management returns the favour by blaming the tenants. Here's a classic example in which tenant eviction is the weaponized...

New Supportive Housing Project In Seattle For Native Americans

outdoor booth at 2009 powwow
Construction is underway in Seattle on an 80-unit housing project planned to help people leave homelessness. It is designed specifically for Native Americans and Alaska Natives. They are over-represented in the population of people who are homeless in that city. The building will include space...

Youth Homelessness Part 3: Switching Gears

individual seated at edge of a cliff over the ocean
This post is the final one in a three part series of resources to plan for a COVID recovery that includes ending homelessness for young people and preventing it from happening in the first place.For the earlier posts in this series, see Youth Homelessness...

Youth Homelessness Part 2: Ask The Experts

young person with squeegee
This post is the second of a three part series of resources to plan for a COVID recovery that includes ending homelessness for young people.For the first article in this series, see Youth Homelessness Part 1: Where Are They? The third post, Youth Homelessness...

Youth Homelessness Part 1: Where Are They?

building beside gravel road in South Dakota
This is the first of three posts about young people are who are experiencing homelessness. Each one highlights resources for planners and front line workers to use. The second part (Youth Homelessness Part 2: Ask The Experts) will report advice from experts— young people...

Updated – Domestic Abuse: Can/Should Social Landlords Handle It Better?

a photomontage artwork in which a black and white struggling couple are superimposed on a full colour apartment scene
In the early days of COVID-19 we described temporary measures in Scotland to assist people experiencing domestic violence. Two groups led the design and the implementation of the temporary measures: Scottish Women's Aid and the Scottish Housing Regulator. Then the two groups worked to...

Is There Room In Your Country For “Ella’s Law?”

monitor ofr Nitrogen dioxide used in London, England
In the United Kingdom, a court finds that a child's death has been caused by air pollution. In Nunavut, easternmost of Canada's arctic territories, dangerous public housing is on its way to a becoming a coronavirus tragedy. In Scotland, a "clean air" company warns of the...

Minimum Wage . . . Living Wage. Will Ever The Twain Meet?

diagram describing inputs to a living wage, including cost of living, family size, number of workers and statutory payments
"Minimum wage" is a common name governments use in their quest for wage "fairness." It is the lowest wage legally permissible to pay a regular employee.Some categories of employment are not required to comply the minimum wage. Examples are agricultural workers and people working...

Top-Down Promoted “Affordability” Definitions Run Aground in P.E.I.

A red house in a green yard that appears to be perfectly upside down
When it comes to housing, what to make of the term "affordable" these days? Aided and abetted by the housing industry in search of funding, as well as national and regional governments that want voter support,Since the middle classes turn out to vote in...

Updated – From Tents Without Rents To Sheds With Beds: “No Thanks” Either Way, Say Neighbours

Tiny house at sunset
Just over two years ago, we reported on tiny home communities that were being built in Seattle and other cities across the United States. Today, we're checking in again, this time about how these tiny home communities are faring during COVID-19. There was no...

Mapping Inequity In The United States

coloured map in atlas of Brooklyn
People looking for evidence of racial inequity in the United Sates need look no further than the National Equity Atlas. Data is organized using 31 indicators, of which three focus on housing and affordability issues. The site also shares examples of strategies that are...

The Consequences Of Stepping Off The Road To Health Equity

three paths diverging from one
Sir Michael Marmot doesn't mince words. As head of the Institute of Health Equity, he is critical of the United Kingdom government's COVID 19 response. His objections are based on a detailed analysis of pandemic measures that have widened inequalities in income and regional...

Truly Affordable Housing? Public Sector Can Do it Better . . . Or Maybe Not.

Who can best build truly affordable housing for low- and no- income citizens? The private sector? That's been a popular government assumption, tried and tested in Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) where Public puts up the bucks and Private demonstrates how they can do it...

Employing Public Housing Tenants – Another Myth Bites The Dust

Here is groundbreaking research about tenants who live in social housing that deserves more attention. It challenges the notion that people who live in social housing are less motivated to seek work and more likely to be unemployed than people who live in the...

Affordable For All: The Challenge For New U.S. Housing Secretary

a small section of a public housing building in Singapore is a study in white contrasted with bright yellow
Recently, we posted a storyTry: Biden-Harris: Timely Dawn Of A New Day For Public Housing? Unlikely that assessed the chances that Public Housing would see a revival in America under a Biden administration. An article from Cleveland further supports our assessment that it won't happen...

Featuring a Bizarre Welsh “Good News” Public Housing Story

A view from a mountain of a village far below on the North Wales coastal plain , with the sea in picture to the left
Bizarre? Why, anything about public housing is bizarre if it departs from the circular firing squads that define interaction between government, public housing management and their tenants on both sides of the Atlantic. Who's blaming who now? Certainly, all public housing's myriad problems are never...

Canada’s Ugly Duckling Co-ops Still Swanning About In Pandemic

Beach Hall housing co-op taken in Autumn
The desperate financial pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic have amplified a loud and growing chorus for social and public housing solutions to deal with unaffordable housing. For going on half a century in many countries, the role of providing most new truly affordable housing has...

Rep By Pop, or Rep by Wealth (Or Lack Of It)? Lived Experience For Pols

Marcus Rashford in uniform
Of all the formulae we hear about parliamentary (or congressional) representation, one of the least mentioned is a test based on the wealth of the candidates. Normally, Rep by Pop depends entirely on the whims of a voting age population existing within a traditional political...

U.S. Eviction-Prone Tenants! Know Your Landlords . . . Except, Like, How?

Jar filled with candy
Beginning drivers face restrictions. Beginning landlords, not so much. For a moment, let's briefly honour landlords for their historic role as some of society's first good Samaritans. When fearful citizens were pouring hot oil from the battlements onto strangers at the city gates, landlords were...

Tiny Transitional Homes. Some Assembly Requir— What? Done Already?

Beyond a field of long grass, a row of colourful tiny houses break the skyline
How to explain what seems to be a middle class romance with the idea of getting away from it all by hiding in your own closet — one transported to the countryside with killer views? It tickles this writer's fancy, though as a card-carrying middle...

A Public Housing Gym? With A Walking Track For Seniors?

An older man bounces a green ball on a gym floor
When youth living at Gordonridge, were asked for their input on a gym complex being planned for the site, they asked, "Can we add a walking track for seniors?" This story, which has been largely passed over in the media, came to our attention for...

Updated – A Different Way To Fight Housing Discrimination

statue of justice
A recent investigation by the BBC in England shows that landlords are continuing discriminatory practices against people who receive social assistance. A court decision on July 1, 2020 (reported below) confirmed that the practice of refusing to rent to people on social assistance is...

A Handbook On Housing First From Finland

white text on orange handbook cover saying 'a home of your own'
Finland is the only country where the number of people who are homeless is going down. The success has drawn a lot of international attention. Y-Foundation, a housing provider, has compiled a handbook about homelessness programs in Finland. The handbook provides a history of homelessness...

How To Cut Financially Struggling People Off At The Knees: Let Me Count The Ways.

In a room that stretches on forever, garment workers toil at their machines.
There is a significant range of views about social assistance, which provides emergency financial support. For some, the assistance is considered to act as a deterrent to getting a job. This view has persuaded policy makers and decision makers to design social assistance programs...

Be Best: Montréal Goes Toe To Toe With Housing Speculator Bullies

In an era of declining work security (never mind the pandemic!) it's not surprising that those worried about their late life income might consider "mom and pop shop" investment in the age-old and reasonably honourable profession of landlording. That might explain some of the stampede...

When The Little Engine That Could . . . Couldn’t. Public Housing in Singapore

cemetery and workers' housing in Singapore
Viewed by outsiders, Singapore has been remarkably successful in harnessing a social housing engine to pull its citizens to become world #1 in home ownership. Success has come about by a mix of socialist/communist style central-planning kinds of policies enacted by an otherwise aggressively...

Multiple USA Crises: Could A New Public Housing Dawn Fix Them?

an orange/yellow dawn breaks over high rises of a public housing project
In the midst of a pandemic, Joe Biden has stepped to the plate. Could one powerful swing towards public housing renewal knock a series of national problems out of the park? That's the position taken in a recent report by The Justice Collaborative Institute (JCI). It's...
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