Monthly Archives: June 2021

Sydney AU Exposes Developers’ “Decayed Public Housing” Lie

Two important lies have been heavily pushed by developers eager for new work over the last decade or two. Lie number one: Public/social housing is a fundamentally flawed social concept, and inevitably doomed to fail. This lie has gained traction over the last few...

Province Ensuring Greater Accessibility In Public Housing

ribbon cutting for new homes in Vancouver
The Canadian Province of British Columbia is evaluating all of BC Housing's homes built since 2019 to determine which units deserve certification as both liveable and accessible. One indication of good faith: the province is not doing the evaluation and certification itself, but farming it...

London Ontario: Looking A City Homeless Gift Horse In The Mouth

As hopes rise in countries where the pandemic may be on the wane, the homeless situation has not disappeared. Indeed, the threat of foreclosure on delinquent mortgages and well as evictions for past-due rent is widely predicted to exacerbate the problem. In the city of...

Los Angeles Tent Encampments Showcase Reasons Why Slums Were Replaced

night shot of tent encampment
Los Angles Fire Department has recently reported an annual tally of fires and deaths in that city's plague of tent encampments. It should come as no surprise when we look closely at a tent encampment and consider its strong links to history's urban housing...

Didn’t Want To Be Evicted? (So Many Do.) Why Didn’t You Submit A Form?

A form sets out ridiculous conditions for a person filling it out
  A "shake of the head" series of posts entitled "who dreams up these crazy rules anyway?" The CDC eviction ban (challenged in the courts) will end July 31, and the die will be cast for many tenants receiving public assistance to rent their homes. And what...

More Aging NZ Homeowners Looking Towards Public Housing. Why?

One in three New Zealand councils are looking to pry elusive rent subsidies dollars from the federal government in order to build social housing. The demand for social (or state) housing is increasing from an unexpected source. Like many other nations, New Zealand has not...

Homeless And Invisible: The Overlooked And Under-Assisted Couch Surfer

a sleeping child on a couch
Why have we written this post? Almost always we attempt to explain why, some of us doing so in a way that is precise and to the point, others a tad longer. But seldom do we have the perfect opportunity to allow others to explain...

What Might The Butterfly Effect Do For U.S. Public Housing?

A giant butterfly appears to purchase upon a complex of brown brick New York Public Housing
This year, 2021, the prestigious international Pritzker prize was awarded to a pair of French architects who specialize in retrofitting old buildings, especially public housing. It has inevitably re-focused interest in approaches to the public housing programs of other nations. Can retrofitting contribute meaningful change...

Public Housing As American Roadkill. Could It Ever Be Nursed Back To Health

A fountain in the pool of a public housing courtyard, appearing more like a luxury hotel
Crippled by racism, mercilessly run down by anti-socialist Cold Warriors, the public housing traffic accident in America is now being pecked to death by roadside scavengers. Even those who wish longer life to public housing seem to offer only plans to drag it out...

Housing With Support – A Source Of Strength To Individuals And Community

a Smiling gang of all sorts of folks hold up pamphlets
In the late 1800's in western countries, if people had problems they might seek help from family, neighbours or the local church. There were also hospitals, asylums, poor houses and prisons, which everyone tried to avoid. Science began to enter these fields, challenging community practitioners...

Cost Benefit To Permanent Supportive Housing? U.S. Research Weighs In

Here are two studies from the U.S. that discuss the merits of permanent supported housing for people who have prolonged experience of homelessnessBoth reports came to our attention via NextCity: Research Shows Permanent Housing Can Help Chronically Homeless People Turn Their Lives Around (Santa...

Impeccably Balanced Communities: Practical Solutions Or Pipe Dreams?

A white cutout in a sunset scene in the shape of a bagpiper
Imagine a community with just the right number of Blacks, the right number of Whites, Hispanics, Asians, LTBQ2S, Transexuals, Low/Moderate/High Incomes, Fully Vaccinated, Unvaccinated, Sports Heroes, Bookworms, Social Media Addicts, Conspiracy Lovers, Home Owners, Home Renters, Saints, Criminals, Vegans, Vegetarians, Meat Lovers, Militarists, Pacifists,...

Leased Social Housing Shell Game: It Takes Years To Sniff Out How It Works

A King Charles Spaniel and a small turtle go nose to nose.
American Great Idea — Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC). Advantage: Guaranteed reasonably priced affordable housing for 30 years at an indirect cost to the government (Taxes never collected). Disadvantage: Government doesn't own the property. When lease is up, the affordable housing either vanishes (reverts...

Applications Rise For Social Housing By Families Fleeing Violence In Toronto

a poster advertising October as domestic violence month
Victoria Gibson, who reports on affordable housing for the Toronto Star, has been watching the numbers of applications for social housing during 2020. The number of new households that applied actually went down in 2020, compared to 2019. As Gibson points out, this doesn't...

Strengthening Community: Centring On Communication

portrait of indigenous protester with image of a hand on red lipstick over her mouth
This is part of a series about community. Growing and sustaining a community brings benefits to the participants, provides a means of personal development and builds hope and resilience. It can also smooth the path to build more liveable, life-fulfilling housing for people with...

UK Social Landlords: How May I Love Thee? Let Me Discount The Ways

In foreground a play area on grass. Behind it Scottish Social Housing
The UK last year published a white paper that outlined more "tenant-friendly" policies, which badly needed implementation on behalf of those who live in the nation's social housing. The white paper offered hope that after decades of disdain towards tenants, housing authorities would be...

Montréal Threatens: Developers, Mix Your New Build Housing! Or Else!

Developers feast on free market housing. Why not make them fix Montréal's housing crisis while they're at it? That seems to be the thinking of the mayor and city council, who have passed a draconian by-law that puts developers firmly on the spot. Montréal, like...

Hong Kong: How To Reclaim Those Idle Fields of Developer Dreams

A view of tree clad hills
There is almost nothing as powerful as a free-market speculator in a democracy where the laws of the land favour — to the point of worship — the predatory nature of the laws of supply and demand. Almost nothing, except . . . a democratic...

Vote Housing: A Campaign To Change Canada’s Housing System

A collection of soaring shapes topped with glass tower in a snow covered cityscape
The Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness (CAEH) is teaming up with five organizations in a campaign called Vote Housing, which aims to make Canada's housing policy an election issue. Why the focus on housing policy? Canada has witnessed rising levels of homelessness and precarious housing since the...

Government Policies Create Winners & Losers In Housing Markets

pillow inscribed with Home Sweet Home
How did homelessness sprout and then grow and grow? Why are tenants living in substandard housing, or paying unaffordable rents, or both? Why does a commitment to adequate housing as a human right seem like some extraordinary achievement? Two recent articles by Dan Darrah and...

Fulfilling A Promise To The U.K.’s Private Sector Tenants

An eviction notice with a friendly landlord face on it
There's an interesting housing campaign underway in the United Kingdom. A push is on to give tenants in the private rental housing sector more protection. Why is the campaign needed? The national government announced that it would introduce legislation to give tenants renting in the private...

Mi Barrio! How To Exercise The Reverse NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard)

Colourful old buildings in a variety of colours line a wet pavement as umbrella-clad walkers enjoy the surroundings
New home builders are extraordinarily powerful. It is not uncommon to hear the industry described as the engine that drives the city, state, even country. That's certainly the case in affordablehousingaction.org's own city — Toronto. During the pandemic, calls for restarting the economy everywhere have...

Strengthening Community: Supporting Resident Leadership

Tow laughing seated Black women
This is part of a series about community. Growing and sustaining a community brings benefits to the participants, provides a means of personal development and builds hope and resilience. It can also smooth the path to build more liveable, life-fulfilling housing for people with...

Housing Support Payments: Landlords😄, Tenants😄, Taxpayers😖

The headline on this post could go further, reflecting winners and losers in the free- market housing support program game: Developers😄, Speculators😄, and those needy and waiting for support that never comes😖. An Irish think tank has looked at the advantages and disadvantages of housing...

Strengthening Community: Building Individual And Group Capacity

storage cupboard with supplies at a drop-in centre
This is part of a series about community. Growing and sustaining a community brings benefits to the participants, provides a means of personal development and builds hope and resilience. It can also smooth the path to build more liveable, life-fulfilling housing for people with...

Is Institutionalization The Best That Can Be Offered To The Disabled?

While people with disabilitiesWhen speaking about people with disabilities, one wants to give preference to wording used in the disability community. Is it "people with disabilities" or "the disabled?" As one of the articles linked to this post indicates, the thinking about preferred wording...

One Housing Standard For All?

sketch of ladder with list of requirements
One school of thought holds that future social housing ought to be built to a lower standard than housing where a higher price will be charged. This kind of thinking is sometimes connected with the idea that people with very low incomes don't deserve...

Can A Corporate “Person” Treat The Homeless As Kin?

1920's cartoon image of organized big business
This post is part of a series about ways that people provide support to those who experience homelessness. The idea that "we treat everyone as kin" resonates through the posts in this series. Finding more and more ways to treat everyone as kin could...

Toronto Community Housing Workers Bargain For “Them,” Not Just “Us”

A double row of high concrete housing towers with green balconies
Well, we took out hats off to honour striking Chicago teachers who went to the bargaining wall demanding better conditions, including truly affordable housing, for students and their familiesKudos To Chicago’s Striking Teachers. They Broke The Law To Kick Social Ass. We're happy to do...

The Right Chess Moves Took A Young Boy And His Family Out Of Homelessness

a young child struggles to move a giant chess piece on a street chess board
A 10 year old boy in the U.S. isn’t homeless any longer. His remarkable skill at chess has turned his family’s fortunes around and allowed them to leave a homeless shelter and move to permanent housing. It is fantastic that a 10 year chess...

Mixed Income Social Housing A Success in Denmark For Many Decades

A four story apartment building seen at twilight
There are those who can imagine the benefits of truly affordable housing in a post-Thatcherite"Thatcherism," "small government," and "neoliberal" all refer to political thought that seeks to minimize the effect of government interference in society. It particularly infected advanced nations with British roots, such...

After 11 Years Of UK Tory Rule, Where Goes Public Housing?

A colourful child's toy engine sits on the tracks of a pavement drain
The recent record of the Conservative Party in the UK has seen rejuvenation of public housing policies inherited decades earlier from Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. (To be fair, a fair quantity of these have been supported by intervening Labour governments.) A number of other "westernized"...

Using Data And Partnerships To Add Housing And Improve Health

From the United States comes an announcement about using data to drive health care planning at a local level. The data holder, UnitedHealthcare, will work with housing authorities and federally qualified health centres to develop and implement plans at a community level. This represents...

Building Kinship to End Homelessness: Connecting Through Shared Joy

By the waterside, a mother proudly photographs a tiny toddler of a fish held aloft by a five-year-old-ish fisherman
This post is part of a series about ways that people provide support to those who experience homelessness. The idea that "we treat everyone as kin" resonates through the posts in this series. Finding more and more ways to treat everyone as kin could...

NYC Grapples With Low-Income Internet: A Community Necessity?

people of all ages sit around a library internet access computer table
Do you live in a community or region short-changed on broadband internet accessThe terms "high-speed" and "broadband" are pretty much interchangeable. Use the term "high-speed" if you'd like to be known as a country hick with a passion for burning rubber. "broadband" qualifies you...

Los Angeles Looks For Middle Between NIMBY And YIMBY

from the air large suburban homes line streets in crescent patterns
NIMBY — Not In My Back Yard. Keep current by-laws. The neighbourhood is perfect just as it is. No more housing development, even though the city needs houses. YIMBY — Yes In My (in reality, YOUR) Back Yard. Remove all by-laws (well, okay, no commercial/industrial development,...

Berlin: If Housing is “Essential,” Expropriating It Could Regulate Rents

A massive, empty superhighway curves off into the distance
Expropriation of private property is legal in many countries. If the needs of a community are considered paramount, they trump the rights of individuals and corporations. In many western countries, the entire transportation infrastructure has been founded upon this principle, called by terms such...

Strengthening Community: A Tenant’s Story

A police officer, a raincoat person wearing a large dog head, a mother and child all gather in front of a community day stalll
This is part of a series about community. Growing and sustaining a community brings benefits to the participants, provides a means of personal development and builds hope and resilience. It can also smooth the path to build more liveable, life-fulfilling housing for people with...

Is It Possible? Middle Class Envy of Public Housing Quality? Yes

outdoor fitness equipment for chin ups and other exercises
Affordablehousingaction.org operates out of an older mid-rise Toronto apartment building with large rooms and views over a park and lake. For all their desirable features, the apartments wrap around a beaten-earth central courtyard, convenient to the resident dogs and their owners (many) where they...

Cork, Ireland Activists Skewer Council For Passing Empty-Home Buck

A plaster sided home paint in faded and chipped red beside a road
A story follows, which is dear to affordablehousingaction.org hearts, because we made a wrong call on a similar problem that played out in Oakland, California. That was a year and a half ago when a group of four mothers and their activist supporters occupied...

A New Facade For Grim North American Public Housing?

An array of dark red brick single family houses which look rather grim
America's public housing, born in the 1930's, looks refreshing to the eye even today. . . What's wrong with the above sentence? By and large, the average eye sees and remembers massive tower blocks that appear old and depressing rather than refeshing. This is particularly true...

Cuckoo Funds: Why YOU May Be Making Housing Unaffordable

There's a new term on the block, folks: Cuckoo Funds. Let's begin to describe it using a more mature and widely known "ugliness" — Vulture Capitalism. Vulture Capitalists are those folks who swoop in any pick up any investment bargain that looks to make...

Housing Stands Empty? Desperate Homeless May Change That

Abandoned mid-20th century 2-story dark red brick school with some borded up windows
Moms 4 Housing invaded a vacant Oakland, California home a year and a half ago, targeting the "housing bankers"Land banking is a fairly old term to describe housing industry speculator action to buy up empty or disused land within and around communities for use...

At Sea In A Pandemic, Poorer Oakland Students Thrown A Rescue Line

women cleaning bricks from demolished buildings and passing them hand to hand for construction in new buildings
Not all that long ago, a school teacher could assign research projects to students based only upon books and resources available in the school library. Those days vanished in an explosion of data published and available on the internet. Available to the majority, not to...

Can Biden Resurrect the Undead Section 8 Housing Voucher?

On the face of it, President Biden's new plans to help low and no income citizens in America seems reasonable: more Housing Choice (Section 8) housing vouchers. Unfortunately, housing vouchers are a paper response to a bricks and mortar problem. Can these vouchers reliably be...
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