Monthly Archives: February 2021

Elderly Need Care? Home Support is Better. Are Private Nursing Homes A Rip-Off?

sepia tone portrait of older man
The harsh realities of COVID-19 have besmirched a number of nations that have followed "small-government" policies to either starve essential social programs to death, or to pass them off to free enterprise to do the dirty work. The most shocking of these social failures...

Columbia, South America: Learning From Social Challenges In New Public Housing

roofscapes in Granada, Colombia, South America
The article linked below offers a view into public housing built in Colombia, South America. It is a part of the world that receives little coverage in the media about public housing and all the more interesting for that reason alone. The article is written...

Will The Dutch Point A Fire Hose At The Capitalist Flame They Ignited?

graphic representing an zone of operations that meets social goals within global environmental limits
Who started capitalism? We'll bet you think its Adam Smith, the Grand Poohbah of the Law of Supply and Demand. The Dutch claim it was one of their merchants who created the first stock exchange. Whoever it was, there is currently considerable sympathy in Holland...

A Thousand Tiny Points Of Sawdust Help Home Schooling In Decatur Public Housing

dots of coloured light against dark background
There is nothing new about the need to support education for lowest income families. Schooling is seen everywhere as the ticket out of poverty. Alas, in the US three out of four families or individuals who need housing cannot receive desperately needed support from...

The OECD Recommends More Social Housing. It’s A Global Need

graph comparing median house price with income from 1955 in the US
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has just issued a policy brief about affordable housing. It begins with an 20 year overview of trends in housing affordability. It moves on to a survey of government responses to help households hang on to...

Affordablility: 3D House Printing Vs Modular Construction. The Winner Is?

examples of load bearing modules for modular home construction
Can high-tech imagination-tickling 3-D house-printing out-wrestle factory-based cookie-cutter modular homes and solve international housing affordable housing crises? Straight from the 3-D horse's mouth (a 3-D printing mag), the answer is no! But then it cannot award a win to modular homes either, because the world's...

Hong Kong COVID Crime & Punishment — Life Played Out In A Coffin Home

view up from street in Hong Kong, with tall builidngs on all sides
Homewise, how small is too small? This is a societal issue that must ultimately be faced. We already have one kind purely practical answer: when it comes to basic shelter in the face of necessity, a sleeping bag is not too small to call home....

Good News For New York City’s Public Housing – A Long Time In The Making

1930's poster promoting planned public housing to replace slums
The New York City Housing Authority, including its arms-length owner, New York City, have been caught between a rock and a hard place for many years now. The rock: an estimated $40 billion plus repair bill for decades of neglect by its funders and managers. The hard...

Protecting Tenants From Evictions: A Human Rights Issue

three people walking down an empty street with suitcases
A report has just been issued that calls on the Canadian government to assist tenants who are behind on their rents. A Rights-Based Proposal To Address The Arrears And Evictions Crisis In Canada argues that renters have been hit in the pocketbook by COVID-19...

Housing Conditions In Canada’s Far North: Bad Enough To Make You Sick

houses in Baker Lake, Nunavut
When compared with Canada as a whole, people in the Territory of Nunavut are four times more likely to live in a home in need of major repairs. Homes in Nunavut are also six times more likely to be overcrowded. What does that look...

Housing Financialization And Homelessness Taints The Far Side Of The World

An attractive clapboard bungalow with an amazingly large yard
New Zealand's housing crisis received some mixed attention a couple of years ago, with the announcement of a national scheme to address the issue with the catchy title of Kiwibuild. It was certainly ambitious, so ambitious in fact that critics soon pointed out that...

Do NIMBY, Bylaws, Stand In Way Of American Social Housing?

A collection of weird and wonderful towers marks the location of and oil refinery
The American public is generally far more receptive to the idea of new public housing than either the politicians they elect, or the lumbering behemoth that is the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). That august institution has continued to follow the directions...

A Grand Canyon University Viewpoint On The Special Ed Needs of Poor Children

A long panelled building panelled in shades of grey and rust and yellow
For American's students with physical and/or mental handicaps, their need, as well as their right, to forms of special educational support have been long established. Not so, unfortunately, for students with economic handicaps. The age of the pandemic has revealed the particular educational vulnerabilities...

New HUD Secretary’s Housing Experience Is A Mixed Message For Change

Marcia Fudge, a middle-aged Black woman, sits writing at a desk
A recent article in City Journal attempts to put a hopeful twist on President Biden's choice for Secretary of the US Department Of Housing And Urban Developement (HUD). His pick is Marcia Fudge, a woman of undeniable determination and talent, and limited experience of...

COVID Housing Recovery in NYC: Non-Profits & Co-ops To The Rescue?

A sea of cheerful faces on those seating around a big table in an activity space listen to a teacher out of picture
Post-pandemic turmoil in the housing market of America's largest city? Laissez-faire. Leave it be. Let the private sector, master of all housing matters, perform any needed recovery. . . . or, maybe . . .  look at another approach by some entity or entities that...

Unexpected COVID “Gap” Year Threatens Employment Future For Aussie Youth

From behind, a backpacker with his pack beside him stares out to sea
In the uncertain future of every youth, the only true constant appears to be the increasing cost of housing. It suggests that tomorrow's adults will be shivering little match people, peering through rain soaked windows into cozy (though empty) rooms owned by housing speculators,...

Niagara Region Libraries Bring A Piece Of The Internet Into Low Income Homes

rows of green grape vines in a vineyard, the blue of Lake Ontario in the far distance
Kindness to strangers has given birth to a means of sharing library internet services for those with low and no incomes in Ontario's Regional Municipality of Niagara. Familiar to most, if not all: libraries everywhere have over the last couple of decades adapted their services...

Line Up Here – Giving Preference To Access Supportive Housing

A queue of elderly white women array across a street, directed by a younger woman
Lineups to get into stores have become a fact of life with COVID restrictions. Our local grocery store gives preference to front line workers. All they need to do is show ID from where they work and they can go to the front of...

EU Moves Towards Tackling Affordable Housing Crisis For All Its Member States

European Parliament interior
"Rather than a fundamental right to be guaranteed for all, housing has increasingly been considered a market to make profits through speculative acquisitions and the so-called financialization of the housing market, especially in cities . . . . This has a dramatic effect on...

Ending Homelessness: Learning By Doing

Rosanne Haggerty first came on my radar in 1991, when the Times Square Hotel re-opened in New York City. Haggerty, who founded the non-profit Common Ground, knitted together sufficient funding to restore and renovate this building, which was on the country's register of historic...

Community Change: Will The Internet Steal The Voice of The Most Vulnerable?

symbol for sound turned off
For better and/or worse, the internet is dramatically changing the way we relate to each other. While many tear their hair at the rise of dangerous attitudes and misinformation or social media, some of the internet's influence can be considered positive. For example, continuing to...

People Bins: The Heartbreaking Betrayal In A Helping Hand For The Homeless

tiny yellow house surrounded by planters
What's to be said about "temporarily permanent" measures such as the "people bins" being deployed in the German city of Ulm? Unlike trash, the bin occupants will be able to climb out again. Indeed, they must climb out, because the bins will be locked...

What If New Public Housing In America Could Be Owned, Not Rented?

placard bearing text Save the American Dream
Shelterforce is an American publication promoting community activism in a number of areas, particularly housing. In a recent article, it poses the "what if" question framed in the headline of this post. The "what if" reflects the constraints of a government controlled housing form that...

My Venerable Couch Is Worth Nothing. But Not To Someone With An Empty Home

empty interior
This writer, planning a move from a long-held apartment, is in a flop sweat. Too much stuff! Well, lucky me. At least compared to those on housing waiting lists, owning next to nothing beyond what they are carrying, who finally top the list and score...

Can You Have A Million Dollar Public Housing Cake And Eat it Too? Singapore Wonders

white low rise apartments with external circular stairways painted in rainbow colours
European nations such as Denmark and Austria have done very well by housing large portions of their population in social housing. Nowhere, however, has the public housing been such a celebrated success as the city-state of Singapore. There, public housing began as a national...

How Singapore Got Public Housing Right

public housing towers in Singapore
So how come public housing is such a perennial loser, reviled and disparaged by political parties of all stripes in some of the world's more advanced nations? Its demise has been eulogized by world class think tanks that woefully explain why public housing is...

Still Standing? A Lick Of Paint And Bob’s Your Uncle: Good As New Public Housing!

thatched roof house with yellow framing on windows
Refurbish decrepit empty housing, including dead-but-hasn't-fallen down public/social housing? Maybe it's a good idea. A growing number of nations worldwide, from those who think public housing is or was a near total disaster such as the USA, to those where it has had a long,...

Lost In Translation: Warm & Comfortable Tenants After Green Energy Retrofit

people gathered on staircase with radiator
Imagine! Spring, in all its greenest finery! Giddy goats gamble on grassy hillsides, the fresh scent of new-mown hay wafts in through the kitchen window between billowing curtains. All the fantasy glories of a green energy future come alive and permeate every home. There is something...

Irish Cost-Rental Housing: What Is It? Is It Affordable?

number 30 painted beside a doorway
"Cost-Rental Housing" as coined by the Irish Government, describes a new project funding scheme, based in part upon the way the City of Vienna funds its extremely successful social housing. Cost-rental housing involves a government commitment to partially fund the project with long-term low-interest loans...

Public Housing Tenants Could Become Fodder To Feed Brave New City CBDs

Office Towers in Melbourne, Australia
Everywhere, one of the biggest non-human victims of the pandemic — second only to national health care systems — has been the central business district (CBD), together with transit systems that deliver people to and from it. The non-industrial and non-manufacturing business of the CBD...

COVID-19: Improving Housing Conditions To Fight COVID Infection

White circles on a green field shown from above are early occupied by the tents of a homeless encampment
An international group of researchers has pulled together a list of the actions that have been taken to help protect people from being infected by COVID-19. All of the actions are about people's living arrangements. They have been gathered from 17 countries plus the...

The Many Colours of NIMBY: Parking-Mad Office Workers

cars parked in front of a mural in Belfast
NIMBY: Not in My Back Yard. Part of an ongoing collection of articles exploring some of the many ways that a worldwide affordable housing crisis is opposed. Once upon a time, not all that long ago, when those of us at affordablehousingaction.org believed the term...

One Step To Open Up More Housing For Homeless Families

An old green clapboard house is festooned with stuffed animals
Speculation in housing places temptation in the path of investors in England. You have a three bedroom house. You could rent it to a mum with three kids. They are homeless and need something bigger than the emergency housing that is about the size...

Truly Affordable Housing Infrastructure: A Tale Of Two Internets

Bridge crossing the Ohio River
Infrastructure? Two Internets? This post is premised on the idea that the events of the current pandemic have decisively demonstrated the internet as basic infrastructure for housing, as defined in the UN Right to Adequate Housing.Here is the UN's Fact Sheet on the Right to...

WA State Exasperated By City Council Compassion For Homeless Encampment

Homeless encampment in Pioneer Park in Fremantle Australia
WA? That would NOT be Washington State (USA), but Western Australia State (nation name redundant). That august body was recently in the news for its tone-deaf response to people who were homeless and went walkabout from the supposed health and safety of motel rooms...

UK COVID Homeless Miscount. A Convenient Funding Dodge?

A single figure, slumped asleep on a curtsied couch
During the fall of 2019, people across England hit the streets to count the number of people who were homeless. The results were announced in November: 4,266 people. At the time there were questions about whether it was accurate and whether the number provided...

An American Monument Calls For Public Housing To Go Mainstream

A Huge Black Sign across the front of a silver building announces the New York Times
No, the call isn't coming from some little half-baked lefty publication like ours. Not even from a fully baked one. It's coming from a really large, really important centre-left U.S. publication, often considered the most prestigious newspaper in America, if not the world. That alone...

New Public Housing? Here Are Some Reasons Why Not.

building housing the brookings foundation
The Brookings Institute is a respected centre-left think tank, so when it pipes up with an opinion that squelches America's faint but slowly growing calls for public housing, lefty affordablehousingaction.org is bound to take notice. Being in favour generally of the benefits of public housing,...

Updated – Private Hospitals Invest In The Health Benefits Of Housing

Hospitals in the United States were partners in housing developments before the pandemic. As we reported in a post in 2017, Dignity Health in Sacramento, California found that investing in housing reduced the length of stays in hospital. This ought have even more resonance...

What’s Hot And What’s Not In Seniors’ Housing? Ask The Public Housing World Pros

pedestrian access ramp from sidewalk
Just imagine you lived in a nation where public housing worked wonderfully for people with no income, low income, moderate income — in fact just about everybody. We're not talking fantasyland here. Such nations exist. Would such successful nations be a useful source for...
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