Monthly Archives: October 2021

Where In North America To Find A German Housing Thunderbolt? Look To Montréal

A large crowd of protesters on a city street
When it comes to affordable housing, Canada might well have been holding two federal elections last month, not one. Cheerleading for the country's housing and homelessness activists, the consortium known as Vote Housing seemed to be running in an election all of its own, featuring its...

A Formal Approach To Tent Cities, Both For Inhabitants And For City Council

An enormous clutter of tarpoulins and personal objects clutter a city street
The following article doesn't describe the first occurrence, and surely not the last, but there appears in some cities to be a modest trend towards actually tackling homeless encampments in a practical, responsible way. Affordablehousingaction.org is inclined to be redundant, reporting such modestly positive events...

Homeless Plight: Steal Or Die? 29 Cent Theft Makes 7-Yr Jail Sentence

A plate of cookies, one with a single bite out of it
This is one of those life stories which, on the surface, connects a series of unlikely dots to produce an unthinkably absurd consequence. That consequence? A New York City man is heading towards jail for seven years after what seems to be either a...

Public Housing Vertical Forests in North America: Future or Fad?

A high rise towers above the camera, its balconies festooned with trees
As far as North America is concerned, vertical forests are not quite the future or the current fad. It seems none have arrived here yet. In Europe, it's another story. They've arrived and are certainly becoming something of a fad, though they may or may...

The Public Face Of Abject Poverty: Haligonian NIMBYites Call It In

A panhandler sits bundled up on a city street holding up a sign saying "Will accept abuse for spare change"
Haligonian? Noun — a common name for residents of Halifax, Nova Scotia. It's a city like many in North America that has heeded the call of NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) to trample homeless encampments with police boots. Overkill photos are available in...

Is A “Value A Vagrant” Campaign Cosmetic? Or The Foundation Of Housing Solutions?

portrait of a twinkle-eyed white beardedBlack man
There are some among us who are generally perceived as "inferior" human beings. The people who are homeless tend to fall into that category. Should such ideas about people exist at all? Rightly or wrongly, they are learned and experienced by most (nearly all...

Pokie Ban Near Social Housing: Ugly Prejudice Or Blessed Nanny State?

A long row of slot machines glow in a darkened gaming room
Apparently the poor (particularly those living in social housing) cannot control themselves when it comes to pokies, unlike "normal" people, who apparently can. Otherwise the Wyndham, Western Australia council would be banning pokies near any housing at all. So are we facing one of those...

Aging UK: The Chickens Have Come Home To Roost – And The Coop Is Broken

A demented-looking older person tangled by wires to an unlikely collection of small belongings
More than 4.3 million homes in England do not meet basic standards of decency. It is more prevalent in the private sector, and among residents with lower incomes. Although it's not framed this way in official documents, it can be seen as a direct legacy...

Skip The Fiddly Bits And Just Send Cash: A Poverty Fix Proposal

Lines of coins spell out the word "cash"
When a major U.S. news outlet proposes that the best antidote to poverty is "cold, hard, cash" it's worthy of a read. There's a certain irony in the followingAXIOS article, thanks to the freewheeling acceptance of modern methods in the transfer of cash. These are...

New Housing Planned For Vancouver That Aims To Serve Women-Headed Households

Seen through a window, an emblem of the Soroptimist International
The Vancouver chapter of Soroptimist International owns two housing projects. One, a two storey project that was built in 1970, provides 21 units of housing for senior women with low incomes. Recognizing the growing need for housing for women, the chapter decided to redevelop...

From England: Getting To The Roots Of The Mismatch Between Seniors’ Housing Needs And Supply

outdoor deck at private care home in Wiltshire, England
The baby boom. This is not something that millenials or gen x folks want to hear about, because lord-knows they have enough issues of their own to tackle. And this would appear to be the attitude of the national government in England, where housing...

HUD-The-Suddenly-Helpful: Things That Make Your Blood Boil

roaring lion
Well, to be honest, the blood started to boil several months ago and it's been quietly simmering until this latest eruption. The initial cause was the news that U.S. private landlords could help their tenants with housing vouchers to apply for the emergency rental assistance...

New Survey Shines Light On Homelessness And Housing Need In Canada

produce aisle in grocery store
The Women's National Housing & Homelessness Network has just released a new study that documents how housing and homelessness affects women, girls and gender diverse populations in Canada. This study is welcome, both for its large size (500 participants) and because it is national...

Gentrification – What We Know And What We Don’t

new large house admidst others that are older and smaller
AJ Golio, a PhD candidate at Tulane University, has penned a thoughtful article in Shelterforce about gentrificationFor an explanation of gentrification, try: Gentrification: What is it? How Does It Contribute to the Affordable Housing Crisis?. He touches on some of the current methodologies that have...

Ahead Of The Curve: French Experience With Building Social Housing

new social housing
In 2000, the national government in France implemented legislation that obliged local governments to build social housing. (Social housing is often referred to in this blog as truly affordable housing, where rents are set according to the incomes of the tenants.) Jonah Freemark writing...

Embedding Police In Poor Neighbourhoods: Allies Or Spies?

abandonned house in a downtown neighbourhood
Once upon a time (it can't be all that many years ago) many cities in North America required police officers to live in the community they policed. That was then, before gentrification and when there was the reasonable expectation that a police officer could...

American-Style Racism: A Universal Human Condition, Without Boundries?

Not to belittle the microscopic investigations that are currently detailing all the tiniest wrinkles of discrimination which is an enduring shame to America — what was once, and may still be, the world's greatest country. But our thoughts momentarily turn to other countries both near...

Evicted In The U.S.? Ways To End This Life Sentence

stone sculpture of blind justice
The Center For American Progress has just published a report which comprehensively discusses the impact of evictions. It also considers legal remedies to limit their cascading effects. The report lays out the deeply troubling and ongoing consequences of eviction for the tenant. A single eviction...

Street Theft: Vancouver City Finders Keepers, Homeless Losers Weepers

Two police officers standing by a person sitting on a sidewalk in Vancouver's downtown east side.
Vancouver, B.C. is providing unexpected moral guidance for thieves. Don't steal once — steal daily. Then it's apparently not theft! Does this sound a little strange? Nevertheless the City of Vancouver is itself adopting just a policy, and the homeless with their pitifully few possessions...

Public Housing Futures: Transitional Or Transformative?

A mural depicting a colourfully dressed black woman sitting in a quilt-like room, a black and white photo of a mother and child on the wall in front of her
Here are two visions of public housing: An attractive, secure, affordable lifelong home for "workers," first promoted in the U.S. at the dawn of American public housing by the depression-challenged Roosevelt administration. Its most impressive modern example can be found in Singapore, where the...

It’s Time to Let Central Park, N.Y. Be Built Over With High Rise Housing

Two giant concert sphinx figures dominate the view of a tiny park
Should such a headline as the one above reflect some radical New York City makeover policy, the outcry would be truly global, given the mythical status in world imagination of both the city itself, as well as Central Park. No such outcry will greet the...

A Year For Celebrating Historic Social Housing Firsts?

street level view of eight houses built as part of the Garden Homes co-operative
There are some perennially familiar annual record breakers: World's most expensive city in which to live: Hong Kong World's most crowded city in which to live: Hong Kong . . . and so on. Those for whom familiarity with upper class life will always be limited to...

Does Paris Have A Method For U.S. Public Housing Madness?

A high rise building in which the floors appear to be stacked in a twisted jumble on top of each other
The United States is gradually waking up to the fact that it has profoundly neglected the upkeep of its public housing. This hasn't mattered under several decades of neoliberal thinking. That mindset sees "small" governments having no responsibility for funding citizen shelter, no matter...

Mobile Unhoused: A Roof Overhead But No Fixed Address

campers parked on city street
Mobile Homes, from bus-sized RVs to the back seat of a car, offer another vision of homelessness, one which can be useful to both the homeless themselves and well as the governments that struggle with the local impact of the affordable housing crisis. But while...

Modern Housing Dentistry: Squeeze, Extrude, Slump, Spit, Rinse

A layer build up of many toothpaste-like extrusions
For the one in a million among you who lies abed before sleeping, mouth tingling from mentholated toothbrushing, and wonders whether the world's housing crisis can be solved by building homes with concrete toothpaste, here is the answer: No. We can thank the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation...

Lived Experience In Politics: A U.S. Man Of The Moment?

photo portrait
"Lived Experience" is experiencing a day in the sunTry: First Voice Advocates Speak Up For Housing. To fully appreciate what lived experience is, it's useful to consider what it isn't. A good example of what it isn't is reflected in the the ubiquitous Master of Business...

A Tour Of Social Housing Revival In North America

The facade has been removed from the concrete box rooms of a public housing high rise. The colors that tenants have painted the rooms are now revealed
The demolitions of Cabrini Green in Chicago and Pruitt-Igoe in St. Louis, two very large public housing projects, reflect decisions made by people who had never lived there. Some architects (also non-residents) joined the pro-demolition side of the argument. That's some architects but by no...

France Plans Targets For Using Natural Materials In Public Buildings

Individual young hemp plants are visible across a wide dirt field
A 15 unit public housing project in Paris's 18th arrondissement is catching the attention of architectural magazines. The building, which is built with hempcrete insulation, rises no higher than its neighbours. Like the surrounding buildings it also has two interior courtyards to bring light...

Affordable Housing Squeaky Wheels: Safety & Results in Numbers?

Protesters hold signs with the most prominent saying "safe homes for all"
How many public housing tenants does it take to screw in a lightbulb? In the wrong light, this question might be viewed as a joke. To make it more serious, let's modify the question slightly: how many public housing tenants does it take to cause...

Marin California’s Largest Public Housing Project At Risk

A collection of charming little houses rest on floating docks by still water
Imagine living in a public housing project that is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places! Since public housing is generally vilified in the public press, this seems highly unlikely, but Golden Gate Village is an exception. Does this mean that the buildings are...

Singapore’s Public Housing. . . ❤️ ! But Also Some . . .☹️

aerial view of public housing buildings in Singapore
Okay, we have occasionally gushed about the "amazingness" that 80% of Singapore's population live in social housing and actually own it as well. That gushing has stretched even to numbers of other superlatives, down to the prevalence of sturdy but charming and user-friendly tables built into public...

Working For “The Man” Can Be A Heavy Burden, Unless “The Man” Is You

people at outdoor both with sign reading Madison Worker Cooperatives
For those of us who are on the lower end of the income scale, it's critical that we extract the best value for the money we spend. This principle underlies a recent series of articles by Shelterforce directly related to getting more bang from your...

Public Housing Authority Powered By Profit: Recipe For Train Wreck?

model houses beside a watercourse
Traditionally, the U.S. as well as other countries have depended upon non-profit organizational status to protect arm's length government housing agencies that oversee and maintain public housing for low and no income clients. In the past, non-profits have often been hampered by a requirement to...

A Tug Of War Between The Affordable Housing Crisis And The Climate Crisis

A man walks down a quiet street of yellow brick low rise buildings
The demolition of Cabrini Green — public housing units in that were home to 15,000 people in Chicago — is the starting point of this article in Salon about climate change. The article goes on to introduce a new report from the United Nations Intergovernmental...

Updated – Faults In Canada’s Housing System: Renovictions

The interior of a room stripped to its wooden studs and ceiling beams
Researchers at the University of Winnipeg in Manitoba undertook a comprehensive review of evictions in Canada. The final report was published in 2020, but the news it has to share deserves more attention. The research is the first thorough examination of trends in evictions and...

American Horror Story: Public Housing As Black Suffering And Pain

Candyman 1 and 2 are horror movies that fit into university curriculum on the subjects of . . . American racism The history of national hatred targeting Public Housing The evolution of exclusionary zoning in major American cities The consequences of poor architectural design Bedrock of...

California Challenge: Quickly Build Massive Numbers Of Affordable Homes.

Behind a car parking lot, a vertically grooved concert wall is the side of the San Diego Sports Arena
These days, elections in many countries feature political party commitments to build crisis-ending quantities of affordable housing. Somehow, once the dust settles, the promises fade away, or the "affordability" relates only to home-buyers, not the people most precariously housed or homeless. Complicating housing rescue missions...

How Local Housing Markets Fuel The World Housing Crisis

semi-detached homes in Toronto
Dan Darrah, writing in Jacobin, took the recent Canadian election as an opportunity to discuss the growing housing crisis for people with very low and no incomes. Even though the election is over, the piece it still worth reading. Darrah's analysis centres on public policy...

Apologies: We Celebrated A Venerable Public Housing Birthday A Year Early

A quaint courtyard of red-roofed two story row housing
Those of us who are aging surrounded by aging family and friends often need forgiveness for getting birthday dates slightly wrong. So we're hoping we'll be forgiven by joyously celebrating a birthday in 2020, that the rest of the world seems to believe was...

Pandemic Virtual Student Schooling Disrupts Homeless Shelters

aerial shot of student residences on campus of Harvard University
This post reports on an unexpected consequence of students forced to work from home — a youth homeless shelter forced to curtail activities due to lack of staff. A little bit of research, however, reveals this morsel of bad news to be a window into...

How Victim-Bashing Has Become A US Housing Solution For The Poor

sign for complaint department - press button for service. The button is on the trigger pad of a mouse trap.
Governments in the United States (and likely pretty much everywhere else) depend on a docile underclass of unhoused and precariously housed citizens. In big cities, those applying for limited public housing are expected to wait patiently and quietly for years on waiting lists that may...

Climate Change And The Pandemic Drive Interest In Land Trusts and Co-operatives

homes on the edge of a waterway in Bangkok
News from Reuters appeared recently about low cost housing co-operatives in Thailand, which have been supported by the Thai government since 2003. As a consequence of climate change, more and more serious floods are occurring during monsoon seasons. In the government-supported program, the residents are assisted...

Landlords Beware! Berlin’s Revenge Of The Renters Gets Green Light

The unremitting bumpiness of a worldwide affordable housing crisis hit a smooth patch momentarily with referendum news from Berlin that puts corporate landlords on notice that real change might be forced upon them. Such an unlikely, but now possible, event in that city/state is...
Howdy,
Search exact
Search sentence

Recent Comments

    Meta