Monthly Archives: December 2021

Shining A Spotlight On COVID And Girls’ Homelessness

A homeless young woman in rough clothes sits on a sidewalk, back to a wall, holding leases of two large pet dogs
"Despite the profoundly divergent impacts of COVID-19 globally, it appears that diverse policy makers, scholars, and community leaders can agree on one thing — the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing inequities." So begins a discussion of the impacts of COVID on girls who experience...

Australia’s Housing Policy Is Failing Its Citizens

Complimenting some recent posts about the housing crisis in AustraliaTry: Praiseworthy Australian COVID Response A Blip In Housing Financialization Focus and Domestic Violence Costs Australia: Social Housing Can Help , here's a report that delves into the questions of "is it bad?", and "what...

Caution For Cities Paddling Beyond Their Depth In The Social Housing Pool

Halifax bridges across the harbour silhouetted against a twilight red sky
Halifax, Nova Scotia's largest city, has been exploring for some time how to counter unpalatable social housing decisions made by the provinceIn this post, "social" housing refers to non-market housing where rent is set according to the incomes of the resident tenants. These are...

Praiseworthy Australian COVID Response A Blip In National Housing Crisis

light spot on radar screen
A recent study has been released by the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS). It's the work of their Poverty and Inequality Partnership, also supported by Mission Australia, National Shelter and Queensland Shelter. It assesses the ongoing...

Affordable Housing For All? Denmark Shows Only Voters Can Make It Happen

Looking out across a sea of historic rooftops at more modern high rise buildings in the distance
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, a fragment of a William Butler Yeats poem, The Second Coming Representative democracies would seem to be a system in which the centre inevitably does hold, much to the exasperation of political...

How Important Are Point-In-Time Counts For Measuring Local Homelessness?

A posse of dark clad politicians and hangers on walk . . . somewhere in Los Angeles
People who are experiencing homelessness generally have no means of participating in social activities that can allow for identifying their numbers, needs and habits. They have no fixed address or mail service to participate in census surveys. How can they be counted in order to...

Hand-To-Mouth Philly Social Services Get Fast Cash Crisis Fix

Currency bills overflowing at the mouth of a pot labelled "emergency"
In the dead of winter of 2019, the furnace at one of Why Not Prosper's homes in Philadelphia broke down. Why Not Prosper provides transitional housing to women who have been incarcerated: they had no spare cash or reserve to fix the furnace. Why Not...

Manchester UK Breaks New Ground In Building Social Housing To Green Specs

construction site, Manchester
Social housing activists on both sides of the Atlantic from USA across to the UK and Europe, fight an uphill battle against persistent remnants of neoliberal thought. By now, everyone is happy to agree that free-enterprise for-profit developers are capable of doing anything and everything...

A Public Housing Home “Satisfactory” To A Tenant: Can It Be Measured/Implemented?

Closeup of a woman's head lying on a blanket, warmed with a comfy smile
Trending this week: check out the American media (Google helps) and there's one trend that stands out for affordablehousingaction.org (admittedly a tad obsessive about housing and homelessness). That trend is the number of public housing tenants across the nation — groups, individual tenants, activists,...

Evictions: An Unavoidable Cost Of Landlord Business? Or Not

The words "eviction notice" overwritten by "cancelled" and "Out of Date"
If you are the slightest bit business-minded, you might well imagine that in the housing rental business, evictions are nothing but a particular kind of business expense — those losses that might be expected from removing a tenant (for whatever reason) and not immediately...

Sacramento “Right To Housing” A Whirlwind Of Praise, Condemnation

With a massive factory covering the background sky, a cluster of small colourful tents in clustered in an area of dry scrub
A plan to create a kind of "right to housing" in Sacramento California is a controversial proposal from its current mayor. It has been on local, national, and international radar for a few months nowTry: Sacramento Flirts With Notion Of “Mandated” Housing For Homeless,...

Water You Waiting For? Climate Change Disaster That Needs Fixing Now

hose cascading water onto a paving stone with a trickle coming through the underside
Peering south from the top half of the North American continent, a casual observer might be inclined to believe that climate-change driven floods are a crisis for the south, with its long seacoasts and vulnerability to Atlantic hurricanes. But a little bit of history tells...

Homeless In Humboldt County: A Video Testament To People Who Matter

A paster of a faceless homeless person, his clothing and finds and feet highly detailed.
A group of Humboldt State University (HSU) Students have conceived an ambitious plan to document homelessness in Humboldt County, California. The following article link will take you to a lengthy text and photo exploration of their initiative, together with the complete first video in...

Video: Spanish City Neighbours Help Evictees Find Shelter

Narrow streets an modest high-rises crammed together at twilight
L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, is one of the densest cities in Spain and lies just southwest of Barcelona. It's suffering from a serious crisis of housing price rises followed by evictions of those who can no longer afford them. L’Hospitalet shares this problem with Barcelona...

Built In 1769, Chase Lloyd Women’s Home Soldiers On In Spirit

street level photo of Chase Lloyd House during its time as a permanent home for elderly women
What do you do when your mission dies an untimely death? Find another. Built in 1769 as a private residence, Chase Lloyd House in Annapolis, Maryland has been housing senior women for 130 years. In 1886 its last private resident, Hester Chase Ridout, endowed the...

Clothes Come Out Of The Closet, Helping One Itty Bitty Step At A Time

Strings of clothing fly like banners high above rooftops
Homelessness will be solved, nation by nation, neighbourhood by neighbourhood, as individuals are sufficiently moved by this tragedy to actively add their efforts, however small. to the collective will. We're on the lookout for these people. Homeless people as well as others needing assistance in...

“Rural” Food Bank Stats Map Pandemic-Fueled Hunger, Housing Crisis

Storage shelves in supermarket fashion hold measure numbers of can and packaged food
The City of Kawartha Lakes, Ontario wears it's muscular "city" hat on a largely rural area that other jurisdictions might be more inclined to call a region or county. As such, gathered and reported statistics have a useful flavour missing from more urban cities. In...

“Social Enterprises” Interlock To Build New Winnipeg Social Housing

Groups of people enjoying a vast green park space with high rise buildings in the background
A message of advice caught our attention in a report of new social housing under construction in Winnipeg, Manitoba. As a framework for the enterprises that have combined to finance and build the housing, the executive director of a charity states (heavily paraphrased): "If your...

Profitable Social Housing? Free Enterprise Sure Knows How!

A new grey faced building with a dark, angular but phallic sculpture before it
Supposedly, the free housing market spawns developers who can do it cheaper, faster and more efficiently to produce a superior product. These are glories sung by the choir in the Church of Neoliberalism. While showing some wear and tear, that institution still attracts worshippers...

UK Council Invokes Third Monkey: Social Tenants Furious

Sandwell, UK, Social Housing tenants can practice seeing no evil, as well as hearing no evil as much or little as it suits them. Council doesn't care about that. But "speak no evil"? That's an entirely different kettle of worms! Sandwell Council has proposed...

Is Minneapolis Now Reaping The Fruits Of Anti-NIMBY Bylaw Change?

The city of Minneapolis from the air, its central business district surround by a carpet of trees which hide it suburbs
Minneapolis shocked America, as well as some other westernized nations, when its city council decided unanimously in 2018 to allow multifamily dwellings in any residential neighbourhood. The increased density was necessary to allow the city to grow. For years any density-increase proposals, particularly those that...

Urban Golf Courses A Tasty Target For Public Parks, Public Housing

Manicured crass and a path through trees in entirely empty of people.
Urban golf courses have long been a target of class resentment. Often built on the outskirts of towns and cities that have expanded to engulf them, they can be massive acreages of tranquil inner city greenery — their idyll broken only by the muted...

The High Cost Of Connecting With Social Housing Tenants

Closeup of a fist reaching out to knock on a door
With the the 2020 White Paper on Social Housing, the national government of the United Kingdom has sent a message to local governments and housing associations. They need to do a better job of connecting with tenants to meet their needs and comply with...

Why Parks Are Needed For The Poor, More Than Middle Class Or Rich

seniors, some with mobility difficulties, gather around a raised garden plot planted with flowers.
"Plant Blindness" — it's an affliction you may well never have heard of. But plants play an important role in human health. Plant blindness prevents us from taking advantage of that health-giving. Unfortunately, it is an affliction of epidemic proportions in many modern societies. When...

Glued To Their Charitable Task, “Insulate Britain” Has The UK Infuriated

people holding insulate Britain banners sitting on a road outside England's Home Office
Affordablehousingaction.org has as its principal interests ending homelessness,  preventing people from becoming homeless and providing truly affordable housing for the most vulnerable. How can we be expected to resist the siren song of a United Kingdom charity whose principal aim (for now) is nothing less...

When Developers Kiss & Cuddle With City Hall: A Cautionary Tale

The lighted high rises of Vancouver reflect in the still water of False Creek Inlet below a pink sunset
Yes, free market developers might well be able to do "it" better, cheaper and in a more timely fashion than a public developer, such as a city government. If they ever wanted to. But alas, they never seem to. It? What is "it?" In this case,...

Homeless Due To Abuse? “Let Them Eat Fist” Official Non-Response

A man looms over a woman, threatening her with his fist
The social stresses of COVID have been proposed in a number of countries as the reason for recent increases in domestic abuse. Whatever the reasons for the increase, the consequences for abuse sufferers are dire: either remain at home and continue to be beaten...

Clawing Back Some Clawbacks Might Reduce Nova Scotia Public Housing Rent

A cheerful young Black child sitting in a wheelchair in front of a house.
Clawbacks are an almost irresistible government method for penny-pinching. First, harvest good will by promoting a program that seems to provide a kind of lottery win for some lucky citizens. Then dream up a rule that effectively cancels out some or all of the...

Feeding/Sheltering The Homeless: Leave It To The Good Will of Children?

three children at a lemonade stand, joined by a very large grinning political, kneeling to get his face in the picture
Here's a thoroughly heart warming piece of good news straight out of a child's storybook with a storybook's tearfully happy ending. A young boy with a serious disease is granted a wish and uses it to feed people who are homeless. This little tale...

Sudbury, Ontario Homeless Services: To Cap or Not To Cap? Ask A 9 Year Old

In the foreground, parking lots and a Costco store. In background hills covered with snow and scrubby brush
It should come as a surprise to nobody that Canada has one of the colder climates in the world. It ranks number three after Antartica and Russia. As for for cities in Canada, a 2018 survey of temperatures ranked Sudbury, Ontario as sixth coldest in...

Homeless: After He Was Killed Many Realized He Was Their Friend

A homeless Black man looks up from a book he is reading
Action to house the homeless may ultimately depend on enough individuals prepared to first cherish them, and then to exercise their democratic will to end homelessness. We're keeping an eye out for those people. Here are a few who cherished Warren Barnes. Read more in...

Crippling Real Estate Frenzy, Australian Version Of A Worldwide Problem

Closeup of a sign with only the word "sold" readable across it in white on a red background
A news item about rising housing prices from Australia caught our eye. The reporter, Stephen Long, begins with a discussion of the rise in value of a home owned by the same person for 60 years. The selling price in 2021 was 700 times...

Ho Hum: A Progress Report On Texas Criminalization Of The Homeless

What might in many places look like an isolated roadside church or school is in fact a Texas jail.
Here's a sour-hearted Texas situation that could change at any moment. Nobody has yet been arrested for camping in that state! When we first heard the news in May that camping had been banned in the entire stateTry: Kansas City Flops A Flap —...

What’s It Like To Be Homeless At Christmas? Here’s One Idea

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u08qmwGl90E&t=1s Try the above short video from the United Kingdom charity Shelter. Read more about its making at CREATIVE REVIEW: Shelter ad highlights the challenges faced by the homeless at Christmas

Salt Lake City Looks To Reevaluate And Improve A New Homelessness Plan

A unidentifiable homeless person surrounded by eager belongs sits on the sidewalk propped against a street sign.
If COVID-19 has achieved one benefit for the homeless, it has brought hidden homelessness to light. Municipalities and regions have in the past been inclined to minimize the numbers of people who are homeless in a community. They've done so by focusing primarily on...

Putting Deeply Affordable Housing On The UK Agenda

Monuments and grand old buildings pierce the grey skyline of Plymouth on a rainy day
Michael Gove is The United Kingdom's Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. This is a new role for Mr. Gove as well as for the UK Parliament: he is the first Secretary for Levelling Up in UK history. Although Levelling Up is...

Thinking Small And Useful: Helping Senior Homeowners Sit Tight

Three men work on a gently sloping roof overhung by trees
Recently, we published a post that featured an idea worthy of attention founded on a somewhat histrionic presumption that American democracy is in danger of going belly upTry: Mandatory Volunteerism To Save Democracy: Goofy? Or Food For Thought. Could enduring friendships forged by volunteers...

Housing in The Far North: Familiar Unaffordability With An Ugly Climate Twist

in a channel formed by meltwater, the icy walls of permafrost are visisble below a few inches of thawed soil.
Recently, we reported on a CBC special series that examined the financialization of rental housing in Canada's far north, which was making life difficult — often next to impossible — for First Nations, and Inuit people as well as "southerners" who have chosen to...

Living In Alternate Universes: A Tale Of Two Housing Lotteries

A roulette wheel with half its colours inverted
This is a story of two housing lotteries held in two different countries, both envied hotbeds of commercial capitalism: the United States and Singapore. Housing Lotteries In The United States In America, cities and regions hold lotteries as one way of addressing the shortfall of Section...

The Predictable Failure Of The Public Housing “Fantasy Fix”

The tiles at the head of a bathtub broken away to show leaky pipes
Here's a mashup of the public/social housing "Fantasy Fix." In the United Kingdom, so poorly have local councils and housing authorities been responding to tenant problems that the national government last year released a White Paper In the UK, White Papers discuss government thinking...

Hollowed Out City Centres A Platform For New Public Housing?

Shiny city high-rise office buildings line a waterfront
Is the pandemic-related decline of big city central business districts (CBDs) merely a hiccup in their grand and enduring history? Possibly. But the chance that working from home might permanently decay this traditional business space has sparked discussions about what might be done to...

Ready, Set… Wait! Where’s the Housing Advocate?

unoccupied folding chair with a light dusting of snow
Update: On February 4, 2022, Canada announced the appointment of its first Housing Advocate, Marie-Josée Houle. Canada has launched itself on a path to recognize the right to adequate housingCanada's 10 year National Housing Strategy launched in 2017, the first national level housing policy and...

Strategies That Erode Housing Security: Part II – Corporate Ownership

exterior photo of retirement residence with sign inscribed Chartwell Valley Vista
This is the second of two posts that report on a conversation with Martine August, who teaches in the School of Planning at the University of Waterloo. Her research of two different aspects of housing has recently drawn the interest of the media: public...

Strategies That Erode Housing Security: Part I – Social Mix

Exterior: several floors of an old red brick building with sky showing through upper windows
Martine August teaches in the School of Planning at the University of Waterloo. Some of her early research drew attention to the redevelopment of public housing projects and how longstanding tenants were affected. More recently she has been documenting the extent of financialization in...

Teen Homelessness: Aging Out Of Care, But Not in Eugene, OR

An apparently homeless youth squats on the ground beside a park bench scatter with his merger belongings
In the world of homelessness, young people can easily fall between the service cracks. Often resilient, inclined to bravado in the face of life's setbacks, unfortunately not all youth homelessness is an adventuring choice. For those who've had a childhood of misfortune and neglect, it...
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