Monthly Archives: September 2021

Prepare For the Silver Tsunami, Coming Soon, Now Arrived

mosaic image of elderly man, composed from photo images
In those sleepy days before the dire threat of a COVID pandemic sharpened everybody's attention, the "silver tusnami" was a coming distraction more than a call to action. Did we believe there would be time to ponder? What would be the fate of North...

Do Those Visibly Homeless Crazies Know Better Than Most Of Us?

two level room filled with people
Visible homelessness is undeniably on the increase. Failing truly practical solutions, municipalities and regions are engaging in futile pop-up plow-down pop-up plow-down harassment of homeless tenters, excusing the necessity for health and safety reasons. (Mentally and physically unhealthy people who are homeless are threats...

Urgently Needed: A Safe Space To Treat Women Who Use Substances And Are Homeless

street scene in Merchants Quay Dublin
A charity in Dublin, Ireland has issued a call for a separate space to offer services to women who experience homelessness in that country. The organization, Merchants Quay Ireland provides services to people who experience homelessness and use substances such as illegal drugs and...

Does Criminal Loathing Lurk Beneath Compassion For The Homeless?

Little is visible of a protestor, his prone body swarmed by kneeling police
Demonstrable compassion for people who are experiencing homelessness and trapped outdoors has in North America lasted only about a year, if that, in many cities and regions. As it happens, well meaning attempts to safeguard the community did not entirely suit the circumstances. Finding indoor...

UK Work Support Can Cut Homeless Costs, Deliver Free Market Housing Security

A person wearing a welding mask is lit from below from the light of the welding torch
A UK charity-based work support program Freedom2Work (F2W) has now been tested for five years. With striking success, it has shown it can lift people who experience homelessness off the streets. The program's goal, now proven to be successful by a De Montfort University study,...

Homeless Solution: One Tiny Home Community At A Time

A bend in the lane between a village of small, boxy, multicoloured tiny homes
Over the last few years, fascination with tiny homes has grown beyond cutesy love-ins for a lifestyle akin to living in a clothes closet. (And along with our own cutesy love-in posts, we've also managed to post stories from those warning others to try...

Upzoning That Suits Housing Affordability: Off The Rack Or Made To Measure?

view of blue sky from courtyard of yellow apartment building.
Upzoning! Brought to you by those developer-folks who once facilitated the American Suburban Dream! Now they want suburbanites to change their living spots, or at least nudge over a little (. . . maybe a lot). In some homebuilder circles there were sighs of celebration...

Yakima Provides A Homeless Solution Worthy Of A Global Eyeroll

A row of homeless tents on grassy median strip, traffic in background
One short letter to the editor plus a single photograph summarize the sad scope of current homelessness solutions everywhere. The photo, which is in the article below, is the "after" photo. The "before" photo above is already familiar to most these days: a tent encampment....

Question: If You’re Food Insecure But Won’t Tell Us, How Can We Help?

a grumpy looking lion holds a knocking ring in its teeth
Answer: Learn how to do a better job of asking. A food equity advocate in Charlottesville, Virginia had been armed with long cherished advice from his mom about how to avoid so-called experts knocking on their public housing apartment door. Then he found himself on...

Newfies In Yo Face Gonna Set The Pace, Throw U A Punch By Buyin’ U Lunch

How far can you take hip-hop? It seems to be a career without illegal limits: drugs, gun possession charges, assaults, maybe even the odd accidentally on purpose murder or two . .  . or even more. Indeed, a 2015 study concluded more half of...

Existing Data Illuminates Indigenous Experiences Of Homelessness

A black and white photo evolving pictures from the nineteenth century features a stern looking indigenous man surrounded by a clutter of his possessions
Indigenous people make up 0.5% of the Canadian population, yet are a much higher proportion of the people who experience homelessness in Canada. New research uses available public data to shed light on the pathways to homelessness for Indigenous people. It also raises sobering...

Helpful Steps To Dismantle Racism In Services For Homeless People

A mixed race of health care workers in a high tech medical environment
Organizations in the U.S. that provide health care to people who experience homelessness recently issued a report about their work to change their discriminatory practices. You might think that the last place to look for discriminatory practices is these organizations, which deliver services on the...

The “Plus Ça Change” Dilemma When Dealing With Homelessness

police in Iceland guide a homeless man from a bench into the back of a police van
“We just moved 18 people off the side of the road . . . I don’t think we moved anybody into something that’s better.” This recent statement was made by Fifth District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino of the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors after police...

llegitimi Non Carborundum: Advice For A Toronto Homeless Shelter Builder

Blowing snow swirls around two ice fishing huts, one a tent, the other a wooden hut
illegitimi non carborundum is a pretend Latin saying which is famous for meaning, "Don't let the bastards grind you down." It's our advice to a Khaleel Seivwright, Toronto carpenter defying city authorities this past winter by building small wooden shelters to replace tents in the...

Free Market Housing Assistance For Ex-Prisoners Is A Waste Of Money

Anonymous public housing highrises crowd the horizon
Free Market Housing Assistance? Known by a variety of terms around the world (e.g. housing allowance, rent supplement, housing choice, Section 8 vouchers) that bridge the gap between an individual's or family's ability to pay rent, and the actual free marketplace rent itself. A waste?...

Adequate Housing For Indigenous People In Canada – A Way Forward

Sign at sod-turning: A Place of Belonging
One of the responsibilities of Canada's National Housing Council is keeping Canada moving along in its commitment to the human right to adequate housing. The Council has made the housing conditions of Indigenous people a priorityThe Canadian Government has pledged an Indigenous housing strategy...

Scientists Champion Measures To Improve Indoor Air Quality

A soft stubble of grass covers the roof of a modern home, through which ventilation hardware pokes.
Thirty-nine scientists contributed to an article about indoor air quality in the May 2021 issue of Science. Their major concern is that indoor air quality is largely unregulated and the health and economic costs are seriously under-estimated as a result. Take the 'flu virus for...

Green Building Materials: Not 1 But 3 Little Pigs Can Be Winners

Remember the three little pigs and their variously constructed houses, only one of which survived the huffing and puffing of the big bad wolf? Well, modern, eco-aware societies need pigs that have upgraded their housing construction knowledge. Old materials, supposedly not-so-good, are making a strong...

Updated – Signs That COVID Sustains Historic Discrimination

Elijah de la Campa, a senior research associate in Economics and Urban Analytics at the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, has teamed up with others to expand on earlier research about how the pandemic is affecting landlords. The results this time are from a survey...

Squeaky Wheel/Diplomat: What Is Needed For A Public Housing Voice

Exterior shot of Friendship Court showing a/c units and electricity metres
A sprinkling of encouraging notes from several countries might signal a sea change in the treatment of public/social housing tenants. The trend continues for fixing up more of the housing and pulling less of it down (or at least, pulling some public housing down...

US Public Housing Today: Necessity Is The Mother of Indifference

a set of red and cream balconied social housing buildings in Beograd, Serbia
Necessity the mother of indifference? A far cry from the period following World War II, when necessity was very much the mother of amazing invention as countries rebuilt housing following devastating wartime destruction. Much of that truly remarkable innovation occurred in socialist-leaning countries. In the...

Payments To People Who Are Homeless – Cash Well Spent?

closeup on a messy pile of American currency, a 100 dollar bill on the top
More experiments with giving money to people who are experiencing homelessness, this time in CaliforniaTry also: Lump Sum Payments Help People Who Are Homeless To Leave The Streets. The article below speaks mostly about a six month trial by the non-profit Miracle Messages. Participants received...

Updated: New Life For 100 Year Old Buildings?

street level view of Albert Road in Govanhill, Glasgow, showing tenement housing above and commercial uses at street level
In June 2020, affordablehousingaction.org reported about a renovation project at an eight unit tenement in Glasgow. Now, the BBC is providing an update on how it's coming along. The renovations are extensive, but in the end, these homes, which are more than 100 years...

Arizona Constables Reduce Evictions By Making Courtesy Calls

A modern multi-story concrete building with blue vertical siding on its upper stories
Pima County, Arizona elects its constables. Constables have different responsibilities in different American states. In Arizona, they are officers of the county justice courts. One of the jobs of constables and their deputies is enforcing eviction orders. During COVID, the a few of Pima County's...

How Much Can A Street Corner Market Stall Skew A City’s Future?

A street intersection cluttered with market stalls and shoppers, with old buildings forming a backdrop
If you live in a large city anywhere, it's not hard to put eyes on the dominating concept for the municipal change: "top down" city development. Just gaze on the horizon for signs of construction cranes and the big shiny high rise buildings complexes...

Cold Facts: While The Govts Snooze, The REITs Abuse And The Tenants Lose

downtown Yellowknife, North-West Territories
Any governments with housing responsibilities or any national housing activists with housing concerns should give a look to a CBC News four-part series on housing in the Canadian North. It is informative to those government agencies looking to off-load housing responsibilities to private enterprise,...

The Biden Administration ❤️ Section 8 Vouchers. Does Anybody Else?

a sign saying "For Rent" with a diagonal banner across it, saying "Sorry Rented!"
Shelterforce is taking a crack at reimagining a functional Section 8 voucher program in the United States. The central premise is "universality:" the idea that such financial support to pay rent (common to a number of countries) can be provided to absolutely everyone who qualifies. That's...

Internationals Scammed By Thatcherism? Go Local For Details

Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan laugh together at an outdoor gathering
Ireland, The United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and more: international victims of a Whiz-bang Goddess of Conservatism — Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990. "Thatcherism" offered music to ears tilted towards the right side of political hearing. A...

There’s Really No Room For Mr. Pea In This Housing Shell Game

A series of conjoined row houses under construction is a cheery picture of green, as the bright coloured insulation waits to be covered up with more substantial red brick.
Featured below, a no-doubt well-meaning article about the American housing, long and earnest, explains why that country can only manage its affordable housing crisis by building so-called "luxury" market rate housing as a stop-gap. Such a sacrifice is necessary until Rip Van Social awakes from...

Is HUD Pimping Out Unoccupied Housing To The Private Sector?

U.S. Court House and Post Office in Philadelphi
It's a strange lawsuit on the face of it, Philadelphia low income housing activists taking on Marcia Fudge, the U.S. Secretary of Housing and her HUDThe U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development army. HUD is, after all, a major fountain of funds for...

National Housing Crises Everywhere? Fix Them By Killing Neoliberalism

A phot of Reagan and other White House officials laugh in a picture entitled "Reaganomics", "we told them the wealth would trickle down"
Fine to suggest killing it, but both left-wing leaning and right-wing leaning political parties in westernized nations have been enamoured with neoliberalism for the past thirty or forty years. Is "neoliberalism" a political philosophy? Or a social disease? Many now believe it is both. So what...

Affordable Housing Details You Might Not Have Considered: Fuel

A tower of black smoke and orange flame rises above the complex interconnected piping and towers of an oil refinery
Affordable housing is not just a collection of construction material and land costs. It’s a purse that must stretch to cover a rental or purchase . . . after any and all other essential costs have been plucked out. Food and utility costs are...

Affordable Housing Details You Might Not Have Considered: Thieving

A movie poster advertises "The Splendid Crime
Affordable housing is not just a collection of construction material and land costs. It’s a purse that must stretch to cover a rental or purchase . . . after any and all other essential costs have been plucked out. Food and utility costs are...

Getting To The Roots Of The COVID-Poverty “Link”

Tall cream-coloured high rise apartment tower above the camera
Eight months ago, The Neighborhood Developers (TND), a non-profit housing provider in the city of Chelsea, Massachusetts, shared news about the COVID infection rates at their properties. Chelsea residents have the lowest incomes in the state. The city also had the highest rate of COVID...

Many Homeless Youth Are Not Just Adventuring. Give Them Shelter

A young girl sits against a lamp post, a sign across her knees which begins "I have no excuse, I just need some help now. . ."
Yup. Some youth are happily homeless, backpacking towards adulthood, one friendly host-with-a-couch at a time. For a great many, however, homelessness is an uninvited nightmare. The young person may have aged out of care: foster parents no longer paid to support them. Their own parents...

Shelter “Option” For Tenters Pressures An Emergency Shelter System That Is Already Full

house nestled in metre high snow banks
How many homeless can dance on the head of a pin? This philosophical question about angels suits current homelessness practices in many cities. Bogus public relations spin-the-bottle exercises point over and over again at the same shelters as a solution to this or that...

Is Coordinated Entry To Homelessness Services Possible?

an abstract image of people standing in a queue is superimposed with a ascending number order 1,2,3,4,5 etc.
Mary Kate Bacalao is the Director of External Affairs and Policy at Compass Family Services, an agency that supports families experiencing homelessness. In Shelterforce, she speaks about difficulties in the U.S. with "coordinated entry". Because it is the access point to homelessness services, it's...

Paying Rent Leaves No Money For Food? U.K. Veteran Can Help

In 1989, U.S. President George H.W. Bush memorably described a thousand points of light as  "...all the community organizations that are spread like stars throughout the nation, doing good." For those who politically lean "progressive," this sentiment, worthy as it might be, can cause a...

2008 Housing Meltdown: Lessons for The Land-Grabbing Little Guy

A complex graphic work of art featuring barefoot man with his belongings all bundled upon his bent back.
Since the world is largely full of losers, with mere handfuls of winners (think Olympics) chances are as you read this that, although you do not carry a card to attest to your incompetence, you too are a loser. That, at the very least, should...

Where Does A Hospital Discharge You To When You’re Homeless?

The international gospel for ending homelessness is a program known as Housing First. It has demonstrated itself to be so successful that many jurisdictions have tied their funding grants to agencies which promise to use the Housing First model. In some respects however, Housing First...

In An Eviction Swamp, Right To Counsel An Elusive Life Saver For US Poor

A silent-movie era frame of a lawyer with hands and lap full of money.
Facing a criminal charge? Theft perhaps? In the U.S., the Constitution protects your right to counsel. Completely broke and can't afford a lawyer? The court appoints one for free. That lawyer will help you minimize the impact on your life, even if you are...

Should America’s RAD Be Renamed SLIT — Slum Lords In Training?

A book illustration in which a standing policeman arrests a sitting landlady as a child watches
America's latest supposed solution to their embarrassing public housing problemEmbarassing public housing problem? Indeed, how did a program with its roots in the eradication of city slums in 19th century American cities come full circle to become the nation's embodiment of the slums it...

Evaluating HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration

A brick high rise glowing orange in the sunlight above the roofs of lower housing.
This post is about an evaluation of the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, which was commissioned by HUD (the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development). It was released in 2019, but merits a closer look, as it is being wound in to discussions...

Public Housing: “Lean And Mean” Clashes With “Green”

a kettle steams as it sits on a red hot stove element
American public housing over the last few decades has been an underfunded study in ignoring basic tenant health and safety. But with a growing outcry about everything from lead pipe poisoning to broken high rise elevators, mould and malfunctioning appliances, another funding imperative has simultaneously...

Fiercely Dependent! Reporting The News The Way YOU See It

A tent city in early morning. A group gather for breakfast in the background, between the tents
Fiercely Dependent? Well, it certainly makes a change from the more usual journalistic pronouncement: "Fiercely Independent: Reporting the news the way WE see it." The Halifax Examiner is looking for a little dependency as it considers how to best to report upon the growing housing crisis in...
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