Monthly Archives: November 2021

Realizing Housing Rights In Canada – Embarking On A New Journey

A well bundled crowd between leafless trees gathers at a war memorial in Bridgewater, Nova Soctia
Bruce Porter, Executive Director of the Social Rights Advocacy Centre, works to improve the housing situation of people in Canada who live in poor conditions. Some of his work has focussed on housing rights and international law. This makes him an important resource in...

What Moves People to Help The Homeless? A Small Sampler

A homeless man sitting on the street plays tug of war with his dog
What moves people to help people who become homeless? Some are moved by hands-on helping, however unusual it may be. Try, for example: London, Ontario: People Worth Crocheting For Homeless will be solved, nation by nation, as their populations are moved enough by this pernicious...

London, Ontario: People Worth Crocheting For

two sleeping teenagers intertwined against a colourful crocheted blanket
Here's an unusual "Waste Not, Shiver Not" way to support people who experience homelessness. It's nothing that will solve the the homelessness crisis that is plaguing communities around the world, unfortunately. It's just an ingenious opportunity dreamed up by one person looking to help...

Holding Developer Feet To A Climate-Green Fire: Can It Be Done?

A collection of shut-offs and adapters extends from a house
A recent article linked below describes how a Colorado "Green" neighbourhood under construction has had its promising objectives sabotaged by a new developer. Governments everywhere will inevitably be providing funding support for climate change. This will be particularly true for affordable housing and public...

Israel Fiddles While Housing Tenants/Owners Get Burnt

boxy, flat roofed middle eastern housing architecture crowds its way up a hill
Israel is suffering from the same rampant financialization of housing afflicting capitalist societies around the world. And, like other suffering nations, it has taken what seems to be the universal response to the problem. That is . . . fiddling. Or, if you prefer, tinkering...

Teens Hanging Out: Does This have ANYTHING To Do With A Housing Crisis?

a multi-cultural collection of teens chatting as they sit and sprawl on the floor of a room
At Affordablehousingaction.org, we are often given to pauses and head scratching about stories we'd like to present, often because we're uncertain as to whether they really have anything to do with our focus on housing. You'd think we could recognize our own mandate, but it's...

Whoa! English Pensioners Face Impossibility Of Having Housing Cake And Eating It

Three older people one with a. carry cart, another with a walker/Zimmer frame painted on public wall
Mortgage calculators abound for computing the cost of that so-called "National Dream": home ownership. For example, choose a 3% mortgage rate. Inherit, beg, borrow, steal, or work at a good job (or several that don't pay so well) to accumulate £27,000 for a 10%...

How Mom’s Homeless Apple Pie Became California’s “Magic Recipe”

exterior view of two story motel
OK, we're running the risk of damning with faint praise California's "everyone in"Everyone In" was the name given to the United Kingdom's national directive to provide shelter for people who were sleeping rough." solution in 2020 to protect people who had no homes from...

Building A Comprehensive Picture Of Evictions In Canada

An entire household of furniture stands partly on the road, partly on the curb of a city street
Here is a new report that adds another piece to an understanding of evictions in Canada. The data for this study comes from a national survey, which is carried out by Statistics Canada, the government department responsible for data collection. This means a large sample...

An Intriguing Shelter-Almost-In-Place Response to Weather Disasters

Whether a product of climate change or not, some weather disasters have been with us forever. Flooding is one particular inevitability, thanks to human habitation near water for transportation and trade. Those who are poorest are particularly vulnerable to flooding dislocations, often without the...

Inclusionary Housing Policies and International Connections

informal settlement in Johannesburg, South Africa
Miriam Maina is a researcher at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. She previously worked at the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa and is interested in creating more equitable urban spacesWe found Dr. Maina through Quote This Woman +, a...

Mandatory Volunteerism To Save Democracy: Goofy? Or Food For Thought

Black and White photo of young men eating at tables in a mess hall
One of America's two predominant political parties has recently been cherishing the big government activism that carried President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal from the depression era 1930's into the war years of the 1940's. This period of time encompassed two mass involvements of American...

Permanently Overwhelmed By Climate Change? For Some It’s Already Happening

An arial view of flooded roads and fields with the city of Abbotsford in the background
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) is featuring a series of explorations about climate change. It recently took that interest south to an in-depth exploration of the impact of two recent hurricanes in flood-prone Louisiana. If it was merely the consequences of flooding they wished to...

Support For the Homeless: Refurbishing The Old-Fashioned Phone Call

There is nothing quite as satisfyingly new as a use found for something once dismissed as old and trashworthy. Take the old-fashioned phone call, for example. (Phones are still around, of course. Much value is being extracted from them by a blur of thumb-typed...

Enough Is Enough! NIMBY Threatened By A NZ National Brushback

A small mountainside covered with trees, gardens an single homes
How long can citizen-power stall a housing crisis? NimbyitesFrom the acronym NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard). have been pushing the envelope for decades. They have been both fervent and hugely obstructionist in their defence of a supposedly human right — not only to own...

Sebastopol, California To Meet The Halfway-Homeless Half Way

A pool of light illuminates an RV at night
Care to get hung up on a philosophical argument? Are "homeless" people who live in recreation vehicles (RVs) and assorted other mobile contraptions actually homeless at all? In this age of housing crisis, there are more practical issues at hand. Homeless or not, are they...

Driving Back A Pandemic More Pernicious Than COVID

A hospital patient has a 'warning' neoliberalism, highly infections' sign on his bed
The Monitor has just published a piece by Ricardo Tranjan, who is a senior researcher at the Canadian Centre For Policy Alternatives. Tranjan frames neoliberalism as a global pandemic. The article argues that governments continue to believe that neoliberalism will end homelessness, make housing more...

Gentrification? Bang Goes The Rhode Island Neighbourhood

nighttime on a Rhode Island street that looks as if it belongs in the 1930's
The term "bang goes the neighbourhood" was, and still is, a facetious remark to be made on receiving news of undesirable incomers. Their imagined shortcomings as neighbours? They might be Black, immigrant, poor, or any other individuals or groups with supposedly undesirable characteristics. Party-hearty university...

The Police Dunnit: A Challenging View On Public Housing Crime

a double row of helmeted police form a barrer across a street with a large civic building behind.
There are a variety of opinions on the causes of crime and violence in America's public housing. For example, the architects dunnit: their design failures with their low-budget, corner-cutting boxy, unimaginative designs destroy the soul. Tenants are forced to imitate overcrowded rats in a...

WI Family Homeless Crisis: For Some, Gone Today, Here Tomorrow

The bland exterior of the back of a former hotel, dark grey shutters against light grey clapboard
The COVID-19 pandemic initiated a scramble to protect both communities and residents who were homeless. Some of the actions have been shown to be well-intentioned but wrong-headedTry: Shelter “Option” For Tenters Pressures An Emergency Shelter System That Is Already Full. Others, often revealed via...

Investment Practices That Keep Money Away From Worthy Projects

A refurbished older brick building with a sign above the entrance saying "Hope Community Credit Union"
A while back, affordablehousingaction.org reported on a credit union in Chicago. It was helping homeowners with low incomes to hang on to their homes in the aftermath of the 2008 mortgage crisisTry:Chicago Low Income Housing Owners Supported By A Financial Institution That Cares. That...

Do Not Learn From Experience: The Rotten Core Of Neoliberalism

A Tomato, rotting at the core, sits in a forgotten nest of dried tomato stems
Suppose that 30 years ago, your government adopted a plan that, unbeknownst to everyone, works in theory but not in practice. Thirty years pass, and today we have practical evidence that it doesn't work. But the planning theorists, who still hold sway, claim the plan...

Big City Boston Plague of Tents: Speechified Compassion Backed By Threats

Overlapping tarps and tents create a space underneath big enough for a party
It's hard not wonder about those poor souls locked in the illicit drug trade. If we are to take the City of Boston's word on things, we can imagine the slo-mo donkey travel from the highlands packed out with drugs, followed by the submarine rides...

Baltimore Evidence That Land Trusts Are Coming Of Age

A block of plain facades some with broken windows and doors
In the grand scheme of lower housing prices, Community Land Trusts (CLTs) have in America largely been exotic animals worthy of further study, rather than tried and true pack horses at work hauling housing affordability to lower income citizens. This may be partly due to...

London, Ontario Homeless Shelters: Small Is Beautiful?

An orange brick medium rise in a wintry landscape
London, Ontario has been evaluating its homelessness response and appears to have been captivated by the possibilities of "small is beautiful." One aspect of this focus is the size of emergency shelters. The City has decided that large shelters do not properly address the...

London, Ontario Homeless Encampments: Three’s A Crowd

three nylon tents huddle together with traffic flowing by on the other side of a fence
Cities across North America greeted 2021 with a sense that the pandemic was waning. Too bad it wasn't. Assuming that expensive "everybody in" sheltering of the homeless would no longer be needed, many municipalities and regions ended hotel and motel sheltering, then returned to the futile...

Could Small Post Offices Return With New — Financial — Purpose?

The windowed exterior of a Canadian Post office, its sign in the foreground
A Canadian article (which also might be found useful in the U.S.) extols the benefits of postal banking. Why raise the subject of banking in a blog focused on truly affordable housing? Like all private sector services, conventional banks expect to make a profit on...

Wheelchair Bound, Public Housing 15th Floor, Alarm Ringing, Elevator Dead . . .

A high rise tower shell has been covered in plastic wrap, its top featuring a giant heart and the words "Grenfell forever in our hearts
There are sound arguments to be made that "The Internet of ThingsFrom Wikipedia: The Internet of Things (IoT) describes physical objects (or groups of such objects), that are embedded with sensors, processing ability, software, and other technologies, and that connect and exchange data with...

UK Role Reversal: Granny’s Living In The House. Kids Living In The Granny Suite.

coloured pencil sketch of artist's parents
COVID-19 has had some unexpected impacts on family relationships in the United Kingdom. And studies may soon show similarly unexpected consequences in other countries. The entire model of home ownership is based on the home as both shelter and investment. As a person grows older,...

Britain’s Bruising World of HINO — Housed In Name Only

wren nest built into top hat
The Republican Party of America over the last election cycle has grown fond of chewing on its own appendages and mortally wounding itself with easy-to-apply, fits-all-sizes insults to fellow Republicans. As in, "You are a RINO" — Republican In Name Only. Suitably modified, a related...

Appreciating What’s Good About Public Housing — It’s Physical Structure

Street view of two storey brick townhouses, some boarded up and others occupied
Reaganism and Thatcherism (a.k.a neoliberalism) touted the theory that small government was essential to free enterprise. Within this mindset, social/public housing was an example of all that was wrong about government interference in the housing markets. Let free enterprise create truly affordable housing, not...

Collaborative Research In The U.S. Shines Light On Rental Market Trends

A modest little rural home
The Housing Crisis Research Collaborative recently hosted a webinar about the impacts of COVID for tenants and landlords in the United States. It included two panel discussions, one about eviction prevention initiatives and the other about landlords. It is well worth a listen. The...

Housing Activists Vs. Mega-Landlords: How To Be More German About It

A photo through an airplane window, the wing in picture. Below, the only recognizable feature among tiny houses is a massive housing project of many buildings and many storeys
In the war of attrition against hostile housing forces, the city state of Berlin, Germany recently gave housing activists world-wide something to cheer about. The hostile forces were (and still are) Berlin's biggest landlords in a city predominated by renters. With no practical ceilingsTry: Germany’s...

A Rhode Island Public Housing Collective Becomes An Electricity Farm

A pair of workers install solar panels on the ground
The earliest forms of energy conversion for human use were granular — many small conversions using wood or peat or coal in a fireplace for warmth or a stove for cooking — all repeated many hundreds and thousands of times across community and nation. Since...

Are You Part Of A Huddled Mass Yearning to Be Free? Then Vote!

A huge banner inside an empty church polling station, with velvet ropes channeling voters towards the poll
"Free" enterprise must be something of a bewilderment for those in search of western "freedom." There would seem to be millions of people in this category, directly linking, without evidence, what is a basic foundation of capitalism on one hand together with the notion...

North America: Why Not Public Housing Truly Affordable, AND Desirable?

A brick walkway with pedestrians between two setback rows of low rise housing
Awards for public/social housing in North America? Really, awards? Isn't that the housing that the entire continent is attempting to neglect to death? And yet, even in North America there are brief glimmers of truly affordable housing brightness — if not award winners, then public/social...

Shelter Misuse Of Public Funds & Reliance On Private Sector “Fixes”

Neet rows of mattresses lie directly on a homeless shelter floor
A affordablehousingaction.org, we've already expended a certain amount of ink on the notion that the "private sector does it better," a favourite theme of neoliberal politics which has had a strong influence on decision making. A recent investigation of the emergency shelter system in...

National Study: Homeless Bonds Of Friendship & Support Extend To Pets

two homeless young men sit against a brick wall, their large do beside them
There are many people who, to their credit, worry about the treatment of pets they encounter. They may well be particularly concerned about the pets they see connected in one way or another with a homeless person. If it's any reassurance to kind-hearted pet lovers,...

San Antonio Nixes Mixed Income Nirvana To Build New Public Housing

townhouses at a public housing project in San Antonio
What can save U.S. Public housing from on-going government subsidy? The received wisdom (now growing rather shopworn) is that razing dilapidated public housing and replacing it with a mixed income housing development is the answer. However the more mixed projects are completed, the more...

Education Essential, So U.S. Searches Vainly For 400K+ Homeless SchoolKids

a teacher stands at the front of an empty class
How does a country like the United States "lose" some 420,000 children who should be not only enrolled in schools, but receiving supports to ensure they actually receive that schooling? The answer is simple. People, including children, are found by tracking down where they live....

A Fix For Illegal Housing? Wanted: Politicians Who Lead

A swimming mother duck leads a procession of tiny ducklings
The City of New York recently declared an emergency following Hurricane Ida, which flooded homes and apartment buildings in low lying areas. Eleven of the 13 people who died across the city drowned in their homes, which were basement apartments. Every home was illegal. The...

Progress On The UK 2020 Social Housing White . . . Paper? . . . Wash?

brush covered with white paint
In 2020, the UK Government was moved to take action on the poor, and still deteriorating, conditions in the country's social housing. A further cause for distress was what appeared to be well-documented local indifference to the continuous attempts of tenants to engage the...

Alberta Enemies: Homeless Workers. Homeless Yourself? Tough Shit

As sunrise brightens the eastern horizon, the city of Wetaskiwin is a pinprick of lights in the darkness
We Canadians are happy to agree with Americans that we're boring, but we tend to be smug in the knowledge that we are more civilized. Wetaskiwin, Alberta certainly puts paid to that particular delusion. Affordablehousingaction.org reads stories about housing and the lack of it from...

On The Logic Of Locating Deeply Affordable Housing Close To Work Opportunities

new houses in South African township, part of are part of a reconstruction program
If public housing is meant to be transitional rather than transformative Try: Public Housing Futures: Transitional Or Transformative?, it follows that public housing must be located within striking distance of suitable jobs. Striking distance? By and large that means either walking/bicycling distance or public transit...
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