Monthly Archives: April 2022

A Consequence Of Waiting For Social Housing: Collective Ill Health

elderly person with walker strolling by the ocean
Why would an Australian state worry itself about a wide range of possible health issues for those living in social housing? There is a declining stock of social housing that was built many years ago. And increasing numbers of people are unable to keep up...

Idaho In The Twenty-First Century: Wither The Bourgeoisie?

a twilight picture of downtown boise, with light still on hills above but streetlights shine on streets below
If the great social economist Karl Marx correctly identified the economic underpinnings of a 19th century world, the 21st century has surely morphed into an entirely new framework that describes how the modern world ticks over. Karl Marx described a class system in which the...

Bard Architecture Course Rattles The Cage Of ‘Style’

external view of Fisher Center at Bard College
In an attempt to discover some useful architectural designs to enhance the quality of new-build social housing, the writer of this post encountered the following sentence: "The size of the rooms, in addition to offering flexibility based on ambiguity of use and functional indeterminacy, allows...

The Rise Of The Land Economy. It’s Shaping Your Future

sign behind chain link fence "we buy land!"
You are a young person who has done all the right things. You've got a good education and a job that pays well. You're living with your parents to save money. Despite that, you can't afford to buy a house. You are a middle aged...

Social Housing In Mixed Tenure Communities A Success

a five story block of yellow stucco apartments
A recent study in Ireland explored the satisfaction of tenants in mixed housing developments. It comes to the conclusion that mixed tenure communities generally work well, supporting the aspirations of both social housing individuals and the community as a whole. Of particular note is the...

Mixed Income Buildings: Bogus Community Benefit?

house in Brighton, a weathy suburb of Melborne, Australia
An article in The Age serves up a commentary on questionable social housing community affairs in the Australian state of Victoria. The article's authors react to remarks by Victoria State Member of Parliament (and former Housing Minister) Wendy Lovell that social housing children cannot...

Reviving Housing Forms That Have Stood The Test Of Time

exterior view of four storey apartment building
Ipek Türeli is based at the School of Architecture at McGill University in Montréal. She has recently written an article in The Conversation about the housing crisis in Canada and the United States. Having moved five times in the past 10 years herself, she...

All Social Housing Badly Needs Fast Internet

Green light flows through a bundle of glass fibres
Why does all social housing badly need fast internet (a.k.a broadband)? Social housing needs it for the same reason it needs to be connected to roads. America, like the rest of the world, woke up to the fundamental importance of the 'electronic highway' by stay-at-home...

The Wealth Gap Widened During COVID. How To Close It?

Researchers from Australia and the UK have teamed up to review and analyse what happened to the housing market during COVID. They extended their study to include New Zealand, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Canada and the U.S. Their recent report also reviews steps to protect people...

Grow Legal Dope In The Projects: NYC Politician Brain-Fart?

A fuzzy view of plants silhouetted against the sky. Are they marijuana plants or palm trees?
Never mind the practicality, what about the optics? Marijuana magnates have apparently been blowing befuddling smoke into the face of New York's rookie Mayor Eric Adams. Public Housing is America's supposed great failure of affordable housing for the poorest and most vulnerable. How could it...

West Coast U.S. Activists Struggle To Reinvent A Housing Wheel

exterior view of Ravenna School Apartments, housing for low income seniors in Seattle Washington
We think re-inventing this particular housing wheel is a very positive thing. The activists themselves are understandably wary of admitting their ambitions for very good reasons, because it will take time to knock the corners off this ambitious project. Events took a public turn in...

Homelessness: “Once Young” No Substitute For Youth Experience

A street lined with large, decorated old office buildings
Sure, everyone was young once. That doesn't really qualify everyone or just anyone to best guard youth from homelessness. When it comes to the value of 'lived experience,' youth who are in the midst of that experience can provide valuable help in designing social programs...

How England’s ‘Right to Buy’ Supports Unaffordable Rents

Margaret Thatcher, circa 1981
'Small government' is the opposite of the 'nanny state,' where bumbling bureaucrats supposedly bludgeon struggling citizens with overmuch interference in their lives. 'Thatcherism,' 'Reaganism,' and 'Neoliberalism' are celebrations of tidy little political ambitions to fight wars, collect the trash and "let's leave government at...

Ending Homelessness: Theatre of the Absurd

shopping cart with seating shaped like a car for a child to sit in
Honestly, in order to avoid dealing with homelessness, the decisions that city councils make sometimes truly beggar belief. Laugh? Cry? Both? So here's a contest of ideas that pits the sublime against the ridiculous — you decide which is which. We're putting perhaps the greatest city...

Fourth ‘New Bauhaus’ Piggy Builds House of Dirt

exterior view of bungalow built in the 1930's
The original Bauhaus MovementRead more at My Modern MET: Bauhaus: How the Avant-Garde Movement Transformed Modern Art in the early twentieth century explored ways 'to bring art back into contact with everyday life.' Bauhaus is literally 'construction house' in German, which reflected an architectural...

Canada Needs To Guarantee Oldsters Won’t Die In The Gutter

houseboats in Cowichan Bay
"Wanted: successful house-owner-capitalist who bought early but is willing to forego selling up and reaping a juicy profit — prepared instead to merely break even, or even to take a good-hearted loss." As a sales pitch, this plea is falling upon deaf ears in Cowichan,...

California’s Rapid Housing Initiative For Homeless People – How’s It Working Out?

exterior view of two storey motel
The Terner Center For Housing InnovationThe Terner Center For Housing Innovation is based at the University of California Berkeley. It has a long history of studying housing and homelessness policy. It also advocates to add more housing and make housing more affordable for people...

Survey Of Homelessness – Women And Men Fare Differently

New evidence from Canada shows that women and girls have different experiences of homelessness and precarious housing than men. It adds to other reports from CanadaTry: Shining A Spotlight On COVID And Girls’ Homelessness , EnglandTry: New Research Rebuts Ideas About Homelessness and...

NYC: Shelter Available. A Move To Housing? Unending Delay

The 'ahead of its time' horrors of George Orwell's book, 1984, has in some respects taken 40 years and more to catch up to the events predicted in its once-futuristic title. One of the frightening features of that famous book that was so mundane...

Facing The Facts About Renting A Home In Canada – Part II

Affordablehousingaction.org is featuring two posts about housing for renters in Canada. The first post is about is a remarkable production by students from Ryerson University. This one is remarkable in different ways. It is a video production by the CBC's The Fifth Estate, and aired...

Facing The Facts About Renting A Home In Canada – Part I

a closely spaced collection of brand new condo high rises
Housing prices are going up. Housing prices are going up. Housing prices are going up. Not very catchy, but certainly a consistent reprise in the media. Many of these stories are about home ownershipOne of the groups who are often featured in the ownership...

Homeless Human Rights Face-off: California Vs. Canada

exterior view of California Supreme Court
As we all-too-superior Canadians know, Americans do a lot of whining and caterwauling about their rights. But, bottom line, none of that hot air is carved in stone (or so Canadians think) unless it is written in the U.S. Constitution. Unfortunately for the homeless, the...

A Path To Ending Forced Evictions

A bulldozer works on a pile of household trash and shelter parts
Watching as police pinch, push and shove a person who is homeless is uncomfortable. Yet as a society, when we call in police and others to clear encampments, we are effectively sanctioning pinching, pushing, shoving and potentially more violent actions against the people who...

USA Climate Change: Who’s Got Junk? Everybody.

Debris from hurricane destroyed houses
Climate change has brought new risks to America, as it has to every other nation in the world. One kind of risk, as yet little prepared-for, is debris from the disasters related to climate change. Who should handle the dangers of this debris? America is...

Rochdale UK Return Of The Prodigal Housing Managers

Seven high rise buildings stride across a tree-covered cityscape
Here's a Social/Public housing management decision worth noting. It's what neoliberals might call a backward step. From that 'small government' political perspective, local councils should farm out all affordable housing management to the private sector (highly competent, razor-sharp folks). Or, in a pinch, farm it out...

They’re Baaack! —Robodogs! Creepy Fire Missions For Creepy Robots

A sleek yellow mechanical four legged headless mechanical creature
In a more ideal world, we'd be celebrating Robodogs as they snuffled, pawed and electro-piddled their way from corner to corner through public housing hallways, growling at apartment doors like the best airport trained drug sniffer dogs. In a moment, a torrent of barking...

BC: Transitional Housing Gone Wrong?

architect's sketch of temporary supportive housing
Intimidation, drug dealing, drug use and overdoses, petty crime, breaking and entering — what's that all about? Well, some might say it's just the same old Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY) neighbours inventing excuses to scare off unwanted incomers. Except . . . What happens...

NYC: Still Plenty Of Life In Those Habitat For Humanity Bones

Habitat 4 humanity home build in Times Square
We've been worried about Habitat for Humanity. Without doubt it has long been recognized as a credible housing charity for hands-on delivery of truly affordable housing. Habitat has over the years ingeniously linked charitable service with adventure, encouraging volunteers to provide free labour, pay for...

Housing For Single Parent Families Breaks Ground In Vienna

a European cityscape rising up hills
When it comes to social housing that actually works, two names pop most frequently into the news: Vienna, which is both a city and a state in Austria, and Singapore, which is a both a city and a country. Many other nations are still...

‘Vote Housing:’ Motherhood With Neither Meaning Nor Method?

In modern democracy, to what degree can activism from the "bottom" result in meaningful change at the "top"? Here's a Canadian question, with an American analysis — the same problems in a parallel universe. 'Vote Housing.' It's the name of a Canadian umbrella group that...

Love Thy Neighbours? Report On UK Social Housing Community

two tiny tots sit side by side, apparently communication via cellphone
A somewhat unconventional collection of survey partners in the United Kingdom have established possible links between a sense of community that binds social housing tenants on one hand and their feelings of safety on the other. The participating tenants were 'self-selecting,' which will inevitably raise...

Facing The Facts About Renting A Home In The United States

graph with average rent for one bedroom apartments in US states over time. Generally trending up.
The magic 30% rule has its difficulties. We're speaking about the housing affordability rule that 30% of gross income is a reasonable amount to pay toward housing costs. Research from Harvard's Joint Center of Housing Studies adds to other studies about the financial stresses...

Canada: How Many Angels Can Study On The Head Of A Pin?

boarded up low homes with new apartment buildings in the background
Let us, for the sake of argument, assume that all university students are angelic and deserving of rescue from a current fate: unaffordable student housing. So you're delighted you've been accepted at the University of Toronto, or the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. But...

Homelessness: Après Moi, Le Déluge . . . Or Is It ‘Le Gulag?’

a small tent on the sidewalk in front of a window displaying a bank advertisement
Louis XV of France is credited with the flood warning in the title above. Today the saying is interpreted as a giant shrug. "After me comes the flood. But who cares? Not me. I'll be gone." Who is "I" when it comes to homelessness? Really, it...

Does A Papal Apology Bode Well For Indigenous Housing In Canada?

Nun in full habit dropping puck at outdoor ice hockey game at a residential school
On April 1, 2022, Pope Francis apologized for the harms caused to children in the residential school system in Canada. The apology came at the end of a week of meetings with with representatives from First Nations, Métis and Inuit people. The CBC carried...

Finding Housing Opportunities In Daily Life

exterior street view of apartment building purchased by tenants in the Bronx
Winning a lottery is undeniably an opportunity. The sudden change in circumstances comes with its own consequences, not all of them good. As well, most people don't win lotteries. Here are two stories about a different kind of opportunity: the ones that happen in...

Rent Control Unpacked

poster with words "The Rent is too damn high"
The UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence has just published a report about rent control. The report reviews evidence published in academic journals and grey literatureFor a good discussion of grey literature, see this page at Simon Fraser University: Grey literature: What it is...

Personal Perspectives On Stable Housing In California

In housing and homelessness circles, California is well known for its high housing costs and its tens of thousands of people who are living 'unsheltered.' California's Project Homekey is an antidote. Homekey provides funding to purchase existing structures (often hotels and motels) and convert them...

You Can’t Get There From Here – Learning From The UK’S Retrofit Journey

Four years ago a UK report advocated public housing as the optimal launch pad for a campaign to meet the committments to achieve decarbonization of homesBuilding decarbonization is a 3-step process. 1) Reduce energy demand by increasing insulation and air tightness. 2) Switch to...

US, UK: Public Housing Fire Disasters, How Do They Happen?

poster with external fire escapes and a reminder to keep them clear
The world woke up to the horror of high rise building fires in 2017, when substandard cladding on London's Grenfell social housing tower turned it into a flaming torch in which 72 people died. A wakeup call? In the United Kingdom, absolutely. Five years later,...

NIMBY = Who Gets Heard

Man holding microphone speaking at the back of a room filled with people.
NIMBY: Not in My Back Yard. Part of an ongoing collection of articles exploring some of the many ways that a worldwide affordable housing crisis is opposed. The Maytree FoundationThe Maytree Foundation was founded in 1982, for the purpose of ending poverty in Canada. It...

Pandemic Evictions In America – Some Good News

A living room's worth of furniture is crowded together outdoors
It is important to begin by saying that eviction is not a good situation under any circumstances. An eviction during COVID made a bad situation worse. For this reason, the news that there were fewer eviction filings in 2020 and 2021 compared with previous...
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