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Public and Social Housing

Posts concerning housing for people with very low or no income.  The housing is provided separately from the speculative private housing market on a permanent basis.

The Slow Drift Back To Toxic 19th Century Urban Life & Housing

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Everywhere, higher levels of COVID-19 sickness and death are being associated with urban regions of low income, overcrowding and substandard housing conditions. These regions often contain, or are exclusively...

Students Create Financing Model To Protect Affordable Housing From Market Forces

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HUD (the US Department of Housing and Urban Development) sponsors an annual affordable housing competition. The competition is open to university students across the country. The site chosen for this...

Social Housing Evictee Death: Can A ‘Safeguarding Board’ Make A Difference?

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What is it with governments and their agencies faced with a need to learn as they go? Even when they come right out and pledge to do so, they...

Prefab: A History of Hope For Truly Affordable Housing

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Over the last few years, the free market home-building industry has demanded various forms of government bribery in order to shift its attention away from its preferred profitable activity,...

Never Let A Serious Crisis Go To Waste: BC Low And No Income Benefit

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Commentators around the world are totting up some of the previously unthinkable changes that COVID-19 has offered to low and no income residents. The response in British Columbia, Canada,...

Homeless-Built Homes: From A Tiny Start To A High-Rise Tomorrow?

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Anyone can learn to do-it-yourself (DIY), even this writer's corporate-lawyer father who turned foot-wide biscuit tins into lamps that never fell over. An intriguing project in Oakland California is assisting...

Vienna Points To Social Housing As A Key To Urban Resilience

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The right to adequate housing in a time of civilization-threatening climate change: how will nations respond to these twin imperatives which, on the surface at least, appear to compete...

Ireland Plans A Rebuild, But Not For People Who Need Housing

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The government in Ireland has announced its COVID-19 recovery plan. Its promises for housing raise serious questions about whether the government is paying any attention to its electors. Housing was...

Moving Day, Québec Leaves A Few Without Leases: Disaster Or Triumph?

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A couple of weeks ago the Québec government stuck its neck out and resolved to shepherd that province's preponderance of rental lease renewals on July 1st every year. They...

Court Trashes UK Universal Credit Testing That Refused To Learn

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The national government in England set out to reform its existing social assistance programs under the banner "Universal Credit" in 2013. It planned a phased implementation over four years....

American Activists Prepare For Tsunami Of COVID-Caused Evictionsc

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In America, COVID-19-triggered eviction moratoriums — where they exist — are bandages over open wounds. Those who continue to be unable to pay their rent continue to fall further...

Will Pandemic Essential Workers Become Homeless After COVID-19?

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The government in Australia offered free child care during COVID-19. In the years preceding the pandemic, the government had refused to increase public subsidies for child care services, so...

Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Collected Artist, And Homeless For Years

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No, you don't have to be one of life's failures (and therefore deserving of your fate) to become homeless. It can happen by simple economic accident in a world...

Churchill Was A Prophet And Leader For Victory In ‘World War House’

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'World War House?' Churchill prophesied that war in 1909 when he was the President of the Board of Trade. He lamented landlords gouging tenants, a chronic housing condition which...

Renters Are Deer In Landlord’s Headlights. Banks Help Mortgagees Off The Road

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Once upon a time, no sensible, successful individual or family would own a home when it was possible to rent. After all, who needs to worry about leaky faucets...

Building Better Tenant Experience

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Moving to new housing is a very big deal. This is something that community based agencies, non-profits and charities understand well. As the housing market has changed, community agencies...

Can The Private Sector Build Social Housing For Profit? No.

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Can the private sector ever cost-effectively AND the profitably build social housing? A simple economics-101-multiplied-over-time argument might be that if they could, they would. But they haven't so they...

New Life For 100 Year Old Buildings?

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Climate change research has identified a number of emission culprits. One of those culprits is older housing stock. A team in Glasgow is setting out to figure out how...

Women’s Experience Of Homelessness: What Are We Missing?

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A colleague of mine always asks two questions: what are we missing and who is being left out? These questions are especially important in an era where funders and...

How We Come To Use Data To Fight Epidemics

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Data is a big deal in COVID-19. This refers not to data plans, but the information that is collected, how it is analysed, how it is interpreted and how...

Aussie Rough Sleepers: Too Difficult To Deal With?

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A number of governments, mid-pandemic emergency, are congratulating themselves for erasing rough sleeping through a dog's breakfast of temporary shelter solutions that sweep this most visible manifestation of homelessness...

The Police Defund Refund. Not Enough, If Black Lives Matter

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Only the wildest-eyed optimists imagine that defunding the police means abolishing crime prevention by creating a magical world in which the disappearance of police somehow creates an end to...

Low And No Income Housing: Putting Lipstick On The Pig In The Middle

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On one hand, the horrorTry: America Has A Bogeymen Under The Bed: Social Housing. Austria Sure Doesn’t! and gloryTry: Project Towers Reboot: Let’s Dump The Bad Attitude of social...

The Why And How Of Social Housing In The Now Of COVID-19

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People with very low and no income desperately need housing they can afford. That's old news, in far too many countries. Enter the COVID-19 pandemic. National responses to this crisis...

Universal Credit = Less Housing Security

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Repossession rates are up amongst people who receive social assistance in England. Repossession in England is equivalent to eviction in Canada and the US. This rise in repossessions is being...

Social Housing Vs Social Home: A Meaningful Difference

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From a likely source: how to squeeze the last drops of profit from the design and construction of a social housing project. The result is housing, but only the...

Isle Of Eigg And The Tale Of Two Landlords: When ‘Us’ Replaced ‘Them’

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Does your government really work for you and all the other people who share your corner of the world? Or does it really serve itself, and grant its grace...

Homeless Sabrina Bags One of Society’s Childhood Dream Jobs

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It's so dreadfully convenient to be able to dismiss the social tragedy of homelessness by harping on about the losers of society who have been condemned by fate to live...

COVID Evictees Forced To Gamble For Shelter? Sigh, Same Old Same Old

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Nation, an American publication, reacts with some horror to the fate that would seem to be inevitable for no-job no-rent households, and COVID-19 moratoriums on evictions begin to expire. Depending...

Social Housing Communities: Strong? Or Strongly Maligned?

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Decades of 'small government' philosophizing has led to social housing community-bashing by the US and its fellow travelling Canadian and UK governments, among others. Suggesting that low and no income...

Groundbreaking Decision In Vancouver For People Who Are Homeless And People Who Are Two Spirited

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Tamara Loyer runs a drop-in for trans women in Vancouver. Loyer welcomed the announcement about a housing project that will be dedicated to people who are transgendered and people...

Empowering People With Experience To Prevent Homelessness

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If we are ever going to end homelessness, we need to prevent it from happening in the first place. Getting to prevention requires changes to multiple systems, services and...

Homelessness Underfoot: Grey Problems For Black And White Decision-Making

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This post is about a homeless encampment in Kingston, Ontario that is operating with permission from the local council. It is about the people who are part of the...

Green New Deal Without Buddies And Beer And Football? Forget It!

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For many, a Green New Deal is founded on new forms if human living that respect the balance of life on our planet, a life once assumed to be...

An Irish Social Housing Solution to Covid-19 Mortgage Failures?

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When it comes to social housing, some governments behave like Sherlock Holmes wannabes obsessed with the significance of 'the dog that didn't bark in the night.' Particularly in North America,...

Don’t Rebuild, Build Anew: Progressive Formulae For Post-COVID Canada

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Canada is a polite country and it's sometimes possible for progressives to get a word in edgeways without a nuclear blast of scorn from the centre and right. That's...

A City’s Coming Homelessness Disaster, By The Numbers

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It's become fashionable these days for homelessness and housing activists to proclaim that once eviction moratoriums expire, 'many, many' will become homeless. Well, perhaps 'fashionable' is an inappropriate description...

Social Housing Needs To Be A Resource Of Everyday Heroes

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It's always heartwarming to get a lift from the exploits of those who've seen a need to help their fellow citizens in a time of emergency. A recent article...

Care Homers: Lost In The Crack Between Homeless And Housed

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The shocking state of care homes in many supposedly advanced countries have so far contributed a lion's share of COVID-19 deaths. Why have these poor standards of care, as well...

Federated To Death? When It Comes To Housing, I Pick Québec

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State "A" thinks tenants should sink or swim on their own. Maybe you should move. Province "B" is handing out dollars, but stopped yesterday, you're too late. Nation "C"...

COVID-19 And Montréal’s Musical Apartment Game

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July 1 has long been a banner day in Montréal. It's when many leases expire and a good chunk of the 500,000 renter households move house. This year's round of...

Remembering To Build Community Into Social Housing Design

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If there's one thing that the COVID-19 has demonstrated, it is that humans are social animals who are prepared to die rather than go without community. This is a...

Like Moths To A Lantern, Homeless Victorians Pay To Flock Off To Paree

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How Ya Gonna Keep 'em Down on the Farm (After They've Seen Paree?) These post WWI song lyrics describe the bedazzled homecoming of American troops. They also sum up...

Australian Report Enumerates The Poor By Their Species

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What does a poor person look like? In a society that dresses down, with billionaires lurking in hedges (fund, not privet) wearing t-shirts and trainers and backwards ball caps,...

New And Old Pandemic-Inspired Architecture For Future Social Housing

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Architecture inspired by pandemics? Who knew? Serious architecture students, no doubt. But both the broad idea and the detail behind architecture that helps homeowners to cope with a pandemic...

Architects to Seek New Directions To The Top Of A Social Housing Tower

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To high-rise or not to high-rise? With increasing environmental pressures to put homes near jobs, the convenience of highrises is not just a once apparent fact for social housing,...

COVID-19 Rent Relief In Social Housing: Not For Tenants With Income

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There were huge sighs of relief in Scotland recently when the parliament decided against giving every tenant in social housing a rent holiday during COVID-19.Social housing tenants with income...

Will Social Housing Be Eliza Doolittled To Death?

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Rattle a container of upper middle class citizens, and, like a basket of live clams, their shells will close to protect themselves. These are not paragons of social living,...

Are There Future Needs For ‘Emergency’ Social Housing?

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Architects are necessarily opportunistic guns for hire, with one project bid for and landed, only to be followed by another, and another. The events of COVID-19 have triggered a demand...

The Greening of Cities: Social Housing Can Play A Part

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Many recent articles in this age of COVID-19 are touting new building. It's often considered one of the most, if not the most, important engine of an urban economy. Reflecting...

Consequences: How Canada Came To Bless Homeowners, Ignore Others

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In one year — 2005 — The federal government of Canada guaranteed 746,157 mortgages to provide housing security for homeowners. How fared those unable to afford to buy a house?...

Social Housing: A Lifeline For Vancouver’s Oppressed And Overburdened

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Jen St. Denis, a journalist in Vancouver, British Columbia, is investigating the triple whammy of high housing costs, COVID-19 and the current stock of social housing. In 2019, the city...

Past Pandemic Rent Strikes. Can They Inform Our Current Crisis?

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Rent strikes occurred in New York City during the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic. There are reflections in those events of current conditions that have triggered calls for rent strikes...

COVID-19 Relief For Private Rental Housing?

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Evidence is growing that millions of unemployed renters in many nations have neither the money to pay their accumulating back rent, nor the ability to save and pay that...

Foundational Provision: What Is It? Why Must We Reinforce It Post COVID-19

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Imagine the sunlit figure of a merchant leaning anxiously in an open shop doorway. Perhaps it is the proprietor, pleased with a government small business grant that has helped...

Prejudice And Zoning Convenience: Lower Classes Can’t Do Community?

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Decades of government-abetted shaming in North America have turned social housing into a monster. Its enduring image is one of menacing towers, either filled with the malignant detritus of...

Social Housing: Finding Middle Ground Between Managers & Tenants

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Recently we've been exploring necessary steps that will need to be taken in order to allow future social housing communities to flourish. In this regard, we are not giving...

Social Housing Management: A Little More Of the Sheep In Wolf’s Clothing, Please

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Decades of 'thatcherite' austerity government on both sides of the Atlantic have promoted the narrowest vision of housing for the most vulnerable: while its existence may be an objective...

COVID-19 Sheltering Action = Homelessness Job Done? Hardly.

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The UK's kickass national government decision to house all homeless people in the face of COVID-19 has not been 100% successful. But it has come pretty darn close. It...

Hiding Rough Sleepers From COVID: Not Quite A Crackerjack Blessing?

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One contemporary way of dismissing the crisis of homelessness: "They actually prefer living outdoors." Well, COVID-19 has come close to making truth out of that nonsense. But not necessarily in...

Could Social Housing Kickstart COVID-Stalled Building Industries?

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For decades, many governments inclined to goose their housing industry have favoured assistance to new homeowners, rather than stimulating the economy by supporting new rental housing construction. Australia has...

A Fifty Year 0ld Pointer Towards Both A Renewed Environment And Global Health

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In a new/old Treehugger article, The Architecture of the Well-tempered Environment: a late review, author Lloyd Alter pokes fun at his reaquaintance with an article some 50 years old. That...

COVID-19: Getting To The Bottom Of The Nursing Home Story In Ontario

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In Ontario, Canada, there have been two COVID-19 stories: one in the community and one in long term care homes. The number of outbreaks, and higher frequencies of COVID-19...

Take A Trip Into Democracy’s Dark Ages — Already Here And Spreading

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From a romantic point of view, America's flower-child city has everything. San Francisco has atmosphere, sea views (when the fog has lifted), quaintness, vibrancy, and most of all success...

Housing Crises: Developers Love The Problem, Not The Solution

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To hear the housing industry talking about it, they are the embodiment of all that is right about Adam Smith's economic theories. They build only to satisfy a public...

COVID-19 Brings New Urgency World-Wide For Rent Controls

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Before COVID-19, there was evidence that investor influence, which dammed up attempts to prevent rent control measures, is crumbling. The past year in the United States, Oregon led the way...

COVID-19: Together Is Coming Apart

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We're all in this together. This sentiment is expressed by children and adults in the posters and signs that are going up to help us get through COVID-19. If...

Homes For The Homeless: Mission Impossible Or Impossible Missionaries?

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In the United Kingdom, COVID-19 has demonstrated the awesome power of a government with a clear objective and the means to achieve it. Under the direction of the national...

Housing Ombudsmen: Whose Ombuddies Will They Actually Be?

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The ever-growing low-income housing crisis is largely due to the uncontrolled free-market commodification of housing that raises rents and purchase prices beyond the reach of those with small, or...

The West Has Elevated Nations Of Millions. Why Not Its Own Homeless?

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A must-watch Ted TalkThe Best Stats You've Ever Seen uses global statistics in an extraordinary animated way that is highly visual and actually understandable! The talk and its attendant animation punctures the...

A New Irish PPP Approach For Meaningful Volumes Of Social Housing

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This website has been rather relentless in its criticism of social housing built by public private partnerships (PPPs), which tag a small social housing caboose onto the back end...

Let Banging On Pots Be A Brief Stand-In For A Gift Of A Fine Social Home

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A group of UK housing associations are proposing a 'Homes For Heroes' housing initiative modelled on the social housing drive following World War I. Banging pots in appreciation daily...

COVID-19 — England Steps Up Fight Against Domestic Violence And Sexual Slavery

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The National Government in England has joined other countries in announcing additional funding for programs to assist people who experience domestic abuse, which has risen significantly during the COVID-19...

From Australia, A 2-Step, Costed, Plan To House EVERYONE

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Without any true desire by governments to make the changes needed to end homelessness, the problem has been growing towards a crisis in many nations. That was before COVID-19. Now,...

Australians Resist COVID-19 Path To Eliminate Homelessness

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Lucky (or well-managed) Western Australia with its flattened COVID-19 caseload curve. It is no longer freaking into the air — a startled cat — like all the rest of...

The Question Of Handouts For . . . Evil? . . . Essential? Landlords

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For anyone who is a renter (as this writer is) there's never any difficulty to finding some transgression, small or large, over which to gnash teeth. (For example my landlord's...

Scotland: COVID-19 Is Bringing Modest Good News To Some Renters

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At the price of losing what may be an all-important local industry — tourism, renters in holiday destinations are seeing the impact of dramatic economic changes upon landlords. This is...

Reviving Adam Smith

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A researcher at University College London draws attention to Adam Smith's theory of economic rent. Smith is widely known as the the father of free market economics. The theory...

Resilience, Mandatory Savings And Successful Social Housing

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Resilience, mandatory savings and social housing might appear to be strange bedfellows, but an article linked below from Nigeria explains how mandatory savings steered into a national housing fund...

What Is Social Exclusion, Anyway?

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Imagine three sets of people who are asked to describe their housing search: The first set are one person households looking for a one bedroom apartment. One is employed,...

COVID-19 — Government Killed Work. Should It Kill Rent, Too? If So, How?

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Shelterforce takes a lengthy look 'from the left' at the plight of renters without income to pay their rent. It focuses on rent cancellation for the duration of the...

Need An Extra Tax For The Poor? In The UK It’s ‘Too Many Bedrooms’

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What better time to be thinking about a better social housing future than standing in a quicksand of failure from the past?

COVID-19 And A Tested Program That Helps Tenants To Pay Rent

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This is a shout out to the Rent Assist program, which operates in the province of Manitoba. It helps all tenants with low incomes to pay their rent and...

Renter Or Owner-Frog Cozy In Warming Water? Stop The Future Now!

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Do you own? Or rent? (That would seem to cover most of you.) Take a look at your future as the commodification of housing ever-so-gradually turns up the heat....

Staying Home Is Not The Centre Point Of All COVID-19 Responses

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Governments in Canada's far north have taken a different approach to the COVID-19 epidemic.  They are encouraging residents to resume traditional practices of living on the land, rather than...

Homeless Services For Indigenous People In Canada Get A Boost

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A group of researchers in Canada has just issued a guideline for those assisting Indigenous people experiencing homelessness. This assistance is most timely, as Indigenous people are eight times...

A New Yorker Update On The Slow-Rolling Rent Non-Payment Disaster

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Shades of a long-gone American social safety net, shredded away in an 'every man for himself' world of modern profiteering where no human necessity is safe from predation. Ideas of...

Political Shaming Has All But Killed Social Housing In America

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Whatever the many reasons behind the collective government destruction of social housing in America, the mechanism of that destruction was straightforward — shaming. Shaming those who lived in social housing...

COVID-19: Nursing Home Care — A Tale Of Two Provinces

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Meet Laurie and Kim. They are over 80, and need help with activities daily living and the care of a nurse. They both live in privately operated nursing homes...

For North American High Rise Social Housing Haters: Small Can Be Beautiful

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Or, in the case of one particular social housing project in France, small can be pig-ugly, at least in the view of this affordablehousingaction.org writer. But fortunately we all...

Tracing NY COVID-19 Death: A Broken Trail Towards Housing?

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New York is suffering a tragedy befitting a country, not a city. This small, though densely packed, corner of the United States has the dubious honour of being harder...

Social Housing: Why Women Get Evicted When Some Other Dude Did It

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You've lived in the same home for over 20 years, and always paid the rent on time. So why has your landlord decided to evict you? You live in social...

COVID-19: Brought To You By Bats & Pangolins . . . Or. . . Inequality?

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An intriguing article in The Guardian dares to turn the cause of pandemics on its head. It offers historical evidence that, whatever 'bug' might trigger an outbreak of illness, the...

Canada’s Alternative Budget Urges Feds To Step Up To The Social Housing Plate

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The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives issued its 2020 alternative budget just as the COVID-19 pandemic was declared.The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives/Centre Canadien De Politiques Alternatives is a...

Government Will Protect Your Homes When . . . What? Evicted Already?

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Are you encouraged by national and regional government crisis measures to forestall evictions and mortgage foreclosures? Think again. There seems to be an inclination to believe that, by stalling the inevitable,...

Homeless? Have We Got A Solution For You! (The Usual One)

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Why bother to report yet again about riding people who are homeless out of town on a rail? After all, somewhere at this very moment an official is probably...

Rent Strike ‘Cause We Gotta: Is It Just Lipstick On A Pig?

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April 1 arrived with a whimper from renters. Across the U.S., COVID-19 related circumstances meant that at least 30% of renters could not pay rentSee in CNN: New Data...

Learning From The Past: Historic Housing Design For Health And Safety

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From the trivial to the profound, from in-house to community-wide, here's a small collection of historical building and community design features from the past that might inform housing and...

Strange COVID-19 Bedfellows Press For Social Housing

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Who wants to build social housing? Not the housing industry. They've been quite upfront and vocal over the past few years about the housing they would prefer to build...

COVID-19 Exposes Glaring Weakness of PPP Housing Supplements

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A great leap of faith permitted 'small-government' politics to largely abandon responsibility for social housing. Supposedly, one way or another, private enterprise can do things more economically and efficiently and...
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