Monthly Archives: January 2022

Hong Kong Offers Solace That There Are Indeed Limits To Rising House Prices

cramped clutter dominated by a sing bed
While some wealthier people prefer renting to ownership, our society views the rental market primarily as a refuge for those who cannot afford to buy. Alas, renters are not immune to the housing ownership market, where prices continue to rise, and predictions by experts...

“Advanced Nation” Housing Policy: If It Doesn’t Work, Patch It. Can We Do Better?

A red. and cream high rise building caught by the morning sun
Current housing policy frameworks in many westernized countries resemble hospitals stocked exclusively with multi-coloured bandaids. Last week's solution is now this week's problem? Rip off the old plaster. Stick on the new: Social housing doesn't work? Kill it and cover up the hole. Federal...

Is There An Affordable Housing Future In Collective Action?

A stamp with red and blue intersecting circles suggesting that a solution likes between two conflicting positions
Collective Action? Isn't that what government does to favour tenants when it imposes rent controls upon landlords? Unfortunately, no. Rent controls can, and do, cut both ways — in favour of tenants and in favour of landlords. Rent controls determine the amount rents will increase,...

NZ Homelessness: Hotel, Couch Surfing, Shelter, Squat . . . Rinse, Repeat.

vacant house
No, the majority of people who become homeless do not live in sidewalk tents, panhandle, shout obscenities, and take drugs. Here's a much more typical story of a couple of years in the life of a family that is homeless due to economic circumstances. Housed...

Historic Housing Practices And Discrimination: The Case For Reflection

President Lyndon Johnson surrounded by white men (and one Black man) as he signed the US Bill of Civil Rights
It seems that more and more people writing aboutt how housing is woven into racism and discrimination in the United States. Here are two recent examples, one from the Communist Party of the United States of America and the other from Traprock, a peace...

Wanted: Leadership From Toronto’s Council To Make Thousands Of Homes Legal

Toronto Council Chamber with all seats empty
This is a story that is more than 20 years in the making, years in which Toronto City Council could have exercised leadership to protect housing for residents with low incomes, but hasn’t. The story begins in 1998, when the provincial government amalgamated a regional...

Disconnecting Housing Policy From Racism And Discrimination

two power diggers breaking ground on a vacant site
Sophie House and Krystle Okafor are both based at New York University. Building on the work of contemporary abolitionistsAbolitionism is often understood to be about the abolition of slavery following the American Civil War. However, following the formal abolition of slavery, laws and policies...

Australian Capital Territory’s Housing Policies Don’t Stand Up To Scrutiny

A high altitude panorama of a sprawling, much tree covered city
Jon Stanhope is perplexed. He led the government in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) from 2001 to 2011. Since retiring from the scene, housing in the ACT has become less affordable, much, much less affordable. In a three part series in CityNews, he teams...

Public Housing Heroes From New Orleans

A mixed race, predominantly black group of protesters carrying signs in front of the glass facade of New Orleans City Hall
While there are a lot of stories about public housing in New York City and Chicago, those from the US south are much less common. This one comes from New Orleans and it honours 75 Black women — residents who worked to make the...

The Kiwi Housing Game: Slippery Rental Snakes And Greased Ownership Ladders

a small, cozy bungalow, windows alight at twilight
Who can afford affordable housing? KiwibuildTry: New Zealand’s Kiwibuild ‘Affordable’ Housing Stumbles Out Of The Starting Gate was initiated in New Zealand as an ambitious affordable housing program. It came as something of a shock to Kiwis themselves to discover that the government had not...

The Life And Death Cabrini-Green Public Housing Projects, 25 Years On

The side of a highrise building has been battered away, revealing a vertical column of coloured bedroom walls
In the late twentieth century, prior to its demolition, the Cabrini Green public housing buildings in Chicago had become the poster child of all that was supposedly wrong with public housing in the U.S. Coincidently, the site on which these projects were situated was of...

Post-Grenfell Fire Research – Effects Spread Throughout The Country

flames behind windows a wreathed in smoke that engulfs a high rise tower
London's Grenfell Tower fire in 2017 was a tragedy not only for the residents, but also for a much larger portion of the population. An ongoing inquiry after the fire uncovered risks associated with the cladding, and then additional fire risks because of poor...

Affordable Housing Action. We Champion It. Does Anybody Do It?

An arial photograph of the city of Chicago
Affordable housing winds of change blow across borders. It's especially true in Canada, with most of its population in a long narrow strip that hugs the U.S. border. And given the outsized shadow that the United States casts upon the world at large, tales of...

Updated: Crisis Response To Mental Illness And Homelessness Without The Police

CAHOOTS logo on the side of a response van
Two days ago, affordablehousingaction.org published a post about work by Akwatu Khenti, who teaches and studies at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. Backed by public health principles, Khenti strongly favours mental health crisis response teams that are...

Unacceptable: Numbers of Children Growing Up Homeless Increases Worldwide

bird's eye view of Ginsborne, New Zealand
Recently, we referred to an article from Cincinnati that discussed the above average numbers of students in the Cincinnati Public School system who are homeless. There the concern focussed on the inadequate education that results when homelessness supports are limited. The article discussed potential...

Homeless A Crime —> Homeless The Penalty. Let’s Stop This Hamster Wheel Of Horror!

An older homeless man, in handcuffs reacts in horror to the police affecting him
How Shall I Hate Thee? Let Me Criminalize The Ways. The American National Homelessness Law Center tracks the uncivil ways in which "civilized" society systematically brands activities that are essential for survival for people who are very poor and/or have no home. That branding is criminalization....

Crisis Response To Mental Illness And Homelessness Without The Police

CAHOOTS logo on the side of a response van
Recently, affordablehousingaction.org posted a story about mobile outreach teams, which pair police officers and health professionals. Together they respond to 911 calls where it seems likely that there could be an issue of mental illness. These teams have shown promising resultsTry: Orange County Teams...

U.S. Section 8 Vouchers: Hard To Love ‘Em Or Leave ‘Em If You Can’t Get ‘Em

One adult elf rides a horse with a unicorn horn growing out of its head, another, also with point ears stands beside it
Late in the 20th century, economic theorists in the U.S. came to the conclusion that those with low and no incomes did not need to be housed in government subsidized public housing projects, which were far too expensive to maintain. Best to tear those...

In Peel, Ontario, COVID Triggers Better Homeless Lives. Can It Continue?

Nurse practitioner meeting with a patient
By now, most are aware that the unknown dangers of a COVID pandemic swept many, many people living rough off the streets and into the comparative luxury of hotel and motel shelter — however temporary that sanctuary has turned out to be. As the seemingly...

Financial Strain For U.S. Seniors Who Rent, As Well As A Possible Fix

On a postcard, two circular scenes in a postcard depict a man and woman in different locations, communicating by phone
Bailey Hu reports that older households in the US have experienced rising financial stress between October 2020 and September 2021. Being behind on housing payments is one way the stress shows up. Going without food and other household necessities is another. Hu’s work is published...

Secure, Fulfilling Life As a Renter: Is It possible In Put Country Name Here ?

A sign outside an old farmhouse, in winter. It reads "home for sale. Caution: mayor may not contain: Happiness, Security
A lengthy article from Australia's ABC News poses the question asked in the title above. Can rental housing deliver both a happy, fulfilling lifestyle and housing security? Surely a national dream of home ownership provides the only worthwhile option for a fulfilling and housing-secure life....

Subjects Of A Lawsuit, Homeless In NYC Prevail Against Poisonous Neighbours

street level view of Park Savoy Hotel
Do governments need to institute anti-discrimination laws to protect the working poor? When it comes to other disadvantaged classes — those suffering from discrimination due to gender, race colour, religion and/or sexual orientation — many societies are putting, or have put, laws in place. No...

Renewing The Call For Universal Basic Income

demonstrator carrying poster, which reads Universal Basic Income, Universal Health Care, More Freedom, More Security, Esp with COVID-19
There is a longstanding international interest in Universal Basic Income which can be traced back as far as the year 1516Try: Universal Basic Income Part 1: Applying A Justice Framework . In Canada over the least few decades, people who favour Universal Basic Income have had...

Equality of Opportunity? Not For Students From Homeless Families

group photo of 30 students with an adult
Consider a reasonably common school class size — say thirty students. Can we assume equality of opportunity to all those who are served by the same set of teachers and school resources? Not in Cincinnati, Ohio. In every class of thirty students, three are likely...

New Research Rebuts Ideas About Homelessness In England

A smiling mother, with her cute son staring straight at the camera
The number of single mothers becoming homeless in England is growing at an alarming rate, according to Shelter, a charity which supports people who are facing homelessness. Even though the government temporarily raised the Universal Credit to help families cope during COVID, homelessness among single...

Anything But Funding: Welcome To A National Housing Strategy A.K.A Idiot’s Delight

An ornate metal gate masks but does not hide Canada's houses of parliament with its characteristic central clock tower
Here's a short and depressing story that features a need for truly affordable housing viewed via costing alternatives. Like everywhere else in Canada, the District of Nipissing has its homeless. What to do? Wait 'till they're ill from cold and starvation, then house them in hospital beds?...

Reno Tenant Farewell From U.S. Public Housing: Magic Carpet Or Toe Of A Boot?

A huge neon sign lights up the night with the words "Reno, biggest little city in the world
At least two models of public housing tenure exist. One was exemplified by an American home-building experiment that began during the Great Depression of the 1930's. The initial objective was to provide public-built housing that would be liveable and affordable — a lifetime option...

Finding Money To Build Housing For People Who Are Homeless

A pail of gold coins in the palm of a hand sprouts a seedling
It takes a lot of money to fund a housing project for people who are homeless. Where does it come from? In the U.S., there are consultants who specialize in pulling together private sources so a project can qualify for public funding or tax...

Hamilton Ontario: Defunding? No. Re-Thinking, Rearranging The Cost Of Policing

A group of kilted pipers and drummers perform in a circle
A city such as Hamilton, Ontario, with a population of 560,000, fields an emergency call whose sketchy details suggest it might — just might be — triggered by a mental health crisis. Who responds to the call? A primary consideration in the past, and which will...

Gardens And Grocery Stores: Tickets To Better Health

A riot of vegetation with squashes hanging from a frame and in the background, elaborate graffiti
When schools closed at the start of COVID, community organizations jumped in to make sure that students in Baltimore's Cherry Hill neighbourhood had food to eat. One of the organizations, the Black Yield Institute, had operated a community garden in the neighbourhood since 2010....

Food Hero Receives Award For Leadership During Public Housing Lockdown In Melbourne

A 20 plus story brown brick public housing high rise
In July, 2020, a Melbourne, Australia, drama played out in a group of public housing buildings — a drama that may fairly described as an incident of official panic. Faced with the possibility that families living in the complex had been exposed to the virus...

Too Young To Fret? Social Housing Provides Outlet For Youthful Worrying

Why should children and youth worry about major world conundrums such as ongoing deadly pandemics, or human-triggered climate change that promises to soon broil more and more life on earth? Why worry when you can't do anything about it? Alas, the young acquired their worrying genetic...

Stats That Make A Case For Public Housing For ALL, Neoliberalism Be Damned

a tumbledown three storey house of rickety grey clapboard appears to be leaning on its neighbour. Plants in some windows suggest it is occupied
International investor/speculator-fuelled propaganda leans on neoliberal "small government" ideas. One product is a picture of social/public housing as incompetent government-run disaster still limping along on undeserved life support. A new report out of the United Kingdom allows a little reality to bleed into this picture. With...

Enough Already with Ex-HUD Privatized Tenant-And-Rat Stories

A toy rat is made over to look like a monster about to pouncewith red eyes and bloodstained fangs
Anyone browsing the nation's media outlets these days may notice increasing numbers of reports that combine a poisonous combination of the following words: tenants, lawsuit, rats, mould, sewage, lead piping, cold, heat, unreasonable eviction, as well as a toxic sludge of similar bon mots. One...

World-beating Social Housing — How Do You Picture it?

three dimensional building shapes represent a faction of Singapore's public housing
It's a world in which some countries, for example the U.K., the U.S. and Canada, public housing is still presented as burst balloon — unfortunately overinflated and sadly exploded, though still grudgingly in use wherever it still exists — sad and shrunken and wrinkled. We...

Orange County Teams Police Officers, Social Workers In Homelessness Pilot

A person who is experiencing homelessness intersects with another member of the public for any number of reasons. Let's pick one as charitably as possible. Suppose a member of the public is concerned about that homeless person's welfare? Whatever route the expression of that...

Singapore: The Millionaires Row Of Public Housing For All

Strange otherworldly open flower like structures tower overhead with a walkway stretching between their stalks
Most of us interested in the future of public housing have heard (possibly even ad nauseum) how a couple of cities — Vienna and Singapore — manage to provide housing to people with very low incomes, as well as the middle class. How did it...

Phoenix Bike Share: Green And Healthy, Sure. But A Public Service?

A customer removes what seems to be the last bike of ten or more slots in a docking station
Trapped in the public housing heart of a low income community on the wrong side of the tracks? With a little help from the community at large, why not bike your way out of it? Phoenix, Arizona is considering an investment in bike-share for...

Homeless Man: I’d Sacrifice My Health Rather Than Abandon My Dog

Two friendly faces, head a shoulders, a man in a hoodie, and a doberman-style dog with a scarf around its neck
The article linked below discusses the attitudes and actions of a man who is homeless and who needs an operation in hospital. He (not the young man pictured above) would rather forgo his own health in order to be certain his dog can remain...

Community Cooperation Builds A New Rwanda

Community residents clearing brush
Rwanda has a dark period in its history, when the Tutsi minority population was targetted and killed and large numbers. Is it possible for such a rift to be healed? An article in reasons to be cheerful suggests the answer is yes. The article describes...

Spanish Study Conclusion On Better Health For The Homeless? Buddy Up

Three people who are homeless are sitting on a park bench, content with sharing the little they have — tipsy conversation, laughter and a bottle of cheap wine. One of them might have briefly owned the bottle, together with the opportunity of downing it...

Report Recommends Reforms To Improve Public Housing For Older Tenants

Six 2 room cottages built for seniors with low incomes
Although Australia has policies and programs to support ageing, the experience of aging tenants in public housing has received little attention. A recent report from the Australian Housing and Research Institute aims to fill that gap. The research centres on interviews with public housing tenants,...

Is Land Use Planning Accountable For Decisions That Help Some White People Get Ahead?

What is called a blueprint looks like a planning document but is actually a scene of a person sitting at a piano rendered in blue with white outlines
During the first months of COVID in England, media attention focused on the high rate of infection among Black and South Asian residents. The homes of Black and South Asian residents were more likely to be crowded and unaffordable. Their homes were not spread evenly...

US Public Housing Renaissance: Not All The News About RAD Is Bad

street view of Westview Village in Ventura County
The Ventura County Housing Authority in California is starting to redevelop its oldest public housing site, with support made available through the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program. Amid a slew of stories in the media about public housing tenants unhappy with their new private landlordsFor...
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