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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.

Socially Rented Homes And A Green Recovery

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Public housing in Scotland is leading the way to a green recovery, at least according to two people who work at Shepperd and Wedderburn, a UK law firm. Andrew...

Update: Can A Public Trust Help Solve NYCHA’s Multi-Billion Dollar Repair Woes? Not Really

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Update: Following the New York City Housing Authority's (NYCHA's) latest plan to save itself (see post below), Kristen Hackett, a member of the Justice For All coalition, has voiced...

Albany Housing Authority Is Ducking COVID News Sensationalism — Plans To DIY

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The housing authority in Albany, New York, is apparently fed up with the cacophony of amplified voices providing changes in direction, advice and best practices from moment to moment...

Urban Redevelopment: A Case Of Failing To See Who’s There

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Shelterforce has just published an article about local residents opposing development in their neighbourhood in Camden, New Jersey. Far from being the typical NIMBY story, where people with money...

The Selective Seduction Of Adult Homework: For Whom The Siren Doesn’t Call

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This scribbler, having been one for much of his adult life, has always enjoyed the benefits of working from home. Also suffered some of the consequences — it's not...

Rentierization: Landlords & Speculators With Their Foot On The Gas Burning Your Dollars

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What exactly is 'rentierization' (aside from being this year's Grand Loser in the catchy word creation contest)? An newly-published study by the University of Sydney and the University College London...

The Hunt For Green Social Housing On A Shoestring: Wales Edition

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Handfuls of social housing have been built as a nuisance requirement of any free-enterprise housing project in the UK. The failures of this coercive social housing program are many....

Poverty For Profit: REIT Hard At Work In the Homelessness Mines

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This post is a tale of two viewpoints. From the bastions of free enterprise? Confirmation that there is literally nothing on earth that cannot, with good conscience, be turned...

A New Deal That Thinks Big For Social Housing

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Marvin L. Mitchell calls for a "new deal" to construct millions of affordable homes for the African American population in the United States. Mitchell, an African American who teaches...

Landlords Vs. Tenants: The New Warm Is Cold

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The US is suffering the effects of climate change along with many other countries. Like those countries, it has taken literally centuries before both landlords and governments have come...

Suffering From Illness? Take One Tiny House and Call Us When You’re Better

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Imagine that a member of your family has a contagious disease, and your home is too small to protect other family members from the risk of infection. No problem!...

Aussie Trash Talk Blights Social Housing Future. Why Does It Happen?

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Propaganda is an effective tool for stigmatizing social housing. Governments trade in propaganda, swaying the view of their citizens for cynical reasons that range from a political ideology of...

More Housing In Suburbs Need Not Be A High-Rise Horror Show

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Alan Mallach recently poked a hornet's nest with his article published in Shelterforce that strongly questioned the affordability benefits of "build any kind of housing, anywhere." That movement identifies...

High Density Communities: Social Housing Does It Better

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When it comes to developing healthy, vibrant social communities in high density projects, two groups do it better — social housing tenant and owner-occupiers. Their longer occupancy allows them...

Delaware Experiment: Can Open Door To Public Housing Keep Former Felons From Reoffending?

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For many years, U.S. governments at every level have been determined to provide no "free ride" for those newly released from various prison systems. One incredibly self-defeating consequence of these...

Just The Job To Provide Civilization’s Objective Of Health For All

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Modern free-enterprise civilization has one resounding response to human health, "Get a Job, Ya Bum!" It is addressed to each of its human "civvies," either directly or by inference, and...

Philadelphia Homeless Moms And Children Commandeer City Houses

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Over the last few months, the saga of a Bay Area empty house occupied by homeless single moms with children has made national headlines in the U.S.TRY: Evicted Oakland...

Do UK Planning Changes Spell The End Of Social Housing?

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In the midst of the COVID-19 recovery, where rules change from one day to the next, the UK government is rolling out an array of planning reforms. The planning...

Evicted Oakland Squatter-Moms Buy That Vacant House — Updated

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Fabulous news for the evicted moms. A totally meaningless victory in a war that desperately needs to be fought against house flipping?

COVID-19 Cools The Short Term Rental Market, But . . .

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Hamptons, a real estate company in the UK, reports that landlords there are switching from short- to long-term rentals. There is good news and bad news in this story. The...

Social Rents Reduced — Comeuppance for Newham Pontius Pilate Performance

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In the UK, there at last seems a limit to washing your social housing hands. To be sure, the national government continues to get away with its scheme of...

Historic Affordability: Dancing-Lady Sweat-Equity on Houses Wearing Silly Hats

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For an unlikely look at how the past can inform the future, see and read how plastics can be replaced by seaweed that is everywhere, how multi-ton roofing can be...

Clever Designs for Tomorrow’s Hobo Jungles

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Does a spontaneous camp of the starving homeless profit from design or planning? There are architects who believe so. Applying the thought to past hobo jungles of the Great Depression...

Short Term Rental Disease: Europe Uses COVID As An Affordable Housing Cure

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Until the coronavirus pandemic, a rising number of world cities were suffering from affordable housing problems. In some cities, overheated housing markets have attracted investors acting from purely speculative reasons....

Nanaimo BC Activists Want Social Housing As A Neighbourhood Feature

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A new article about Nanaimo, B.C. affordable housing is an example of growing sophistication by activists who weigh in on truly affordable housing proposals for their local neighbourhoods. The traditional,...

The Decline And Fall Of Public Housing, Or . . . Back To Tent Camps & Slums

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Is the villain called 'small-government conservatism' or is it called 'neoliberalism?'  Here at affordablehousingaction.org we've given up puzzling it out. Maybe we seriously need an academic lecture on the...

Even As Temporary Housing, Shipping Containers Can Fail To Do The Job

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"Temporary housing" has become a growing industry. It started when the UK government gave local councils a "duty to accommodate" people who were homeless. As the number of households...

UK Tenants and Landlords Propose Government Assisted Sharing Structure For COVID-19 Losses

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OMG, landlords and Tenants are getting together to put forward a comprehensive plan that will share the burden of COVID-19 with the government. Brilliant! Can this be a signal...

Can Micro Income, Micro Houses And Micro Businesses Add Up To Micro Communities?

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The success of human communities over the eons have been centred around many different physical and social needs, from water or food sources to protection from enemy attack. Why not...

Students Pitch In To Build Housing For People Who Are Homeless

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The foremost affordable housing charity in the world proved the method: unskilled volunteers can be enticed to pay to travel to another continent, make a cash donation, then contribute...

Beating Affordable Housing Out Of Cities. After the Carrot Comes The Stick.

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With the coronavirus pandemic has come a remarkable downturn in tourism. This has crimped the style of high-flying Short Term Rental (SRT) landlords, who have over the last few...

Health Services In US Supported To Use Housing First Treatment

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The evidence supporting Housing First continues to pile up. The Community Preventive Services Task Force in the U.S. compared results from studies of Housing First and Treatment First and have...

TOPA Power: Allowing Distressed Tenants To Buy Out Landlords

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The headline above seems to suggest an absurd impossibility. The idea that a battered tenant on the brink of rent default and eviction might somehow rise from the floor...

Can Partnerships, Not Legalities, Solve Kamloops’ Social Discord Problems?

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Social discord between businesses, neighbours, social service agencies and their customers seems to be an inevitable feature of modern urban life. Chronic nuisance, perceived or actual, is often the target...

UK Housing Associations Are Teaming Up To Reduce Repair And Building Costs

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Social housing providers have been teaming up to reduce costs by making bulk purchases for years. It's a tested method to reduce insurance, utility and financing costs for individual...

What Is The Faircloth Amendment? How Is It Crippling Social Housing In America?

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The Faircloth Amendment, passed in 1999, attempts to freeze American social housing in time. Now and in the future, cities may destroy public housing. Cities may neglect public housing...

Can A Public Trust Help Solve NYCHA’s Multi-Billion Dollar Repair Woes?

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With years and years and billions and billions of dollars worth of government neglect lying heavily on its shoulders, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) is understandably grasping...

COVID 19 Recovery — Financing Prospects For New Social Housing

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There is no question that the COVID-19 response has messed with the economy. Recovery planners are eyeing social housing as a potential win-win for the construction industry and households...

One Size Fits All Social Housing? Nope. Doesn’t Fit Seniors

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Is the idea of mixed age social housing a clever attempt to build more complete (and therefore presumably healthier) housing communities? Or is it just a government slapdash cost-cutting...

Pardon Our Enthusiasm: The UK Momentary End To Homelessness That Wasn’t

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So where did it come from — all the COVID-19 homelessness good news that actually wasn't? Affordablehousingaction.org thought that Everyone In, which directed local councils to provide housing for everyone who was...

A New Building Solely For Social Housing Tenants?

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A Vancouver based developer is proposing to consolidate social housing units in a single building, rather than spreading them across multiple buildings. What should we make of this? These days, public-private...

Good Housing You Deserve? Not Possible By Capitalist Speculation

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The ultimate degradation of the term 'affordable housing' has been reached by returning it to a strictly individual expression. Pat YOUR pockets. Is it affordable to YOU? How much...

UK Housing Development Deregulation: A Willful Celebration of Past Ignorance

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The United Kingdom is in a unique position. It actually knows the truth about what happens when housing developers are handed their Holy Grail — the unrestricted right to...

A Call For Change As Promises To Build Social Housing Fail To Deliver

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The government of Western Australia recently announced plans to build 15,000 units of green social housing units as part of its COVID-19 recovery strategy.Try: WA COVID-19 Recovery Plans Include...

A Missing Chapter: Housing Development In The Global South

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If you’ve been reading affordablehousingaction.org for a while, you might wonder why there are so few stories about housing in the global south. There hasn't always been much to...

Green Social Housing – New Source Of Pride For Local Councils

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The Royal Borough of Greenwich recently showcased a pilot project of four new homes. The homes are built to meet exacting emission standards and will rent to people with...

Social Housing Policy And The Art Of Do-Nothing Apologetics

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In a 1946 essay, George Orwell proposed that “In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible.” Surely the lack of truly affordable housing for...

Vancouver BC Decline And Fall Of The Million Dollar Social Housing Unit

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In business-oriented Vancouver, BC, all roads would seem to lead towards profit. For a city regularly rated #2 in the lists of world's most expensive cities to live, it...

Baltimore:  Healthy COVID Cynicism Creates a Care Home That Really Cares

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February 28, 2020 was a memorable day for the staff and residents of the Maryland Baptist Aged Home. It was the day President Trump said that COVID-19 was a...

What If FDR Had Beaten The Great Depression By Handing Out Toolkits?

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America's greatest housing and employment crisis occurred after the 1929 stock market crash. We're facing another, perhaps even greater one today with the still uncontrolled COVID-19 pandemic. During the 1930's,...

Lisbon’s Answer To High Rents For Essential Workers

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Lisbon is inviting short term rental landlords to get into the long term rental business. Concerned that there is no housing in the city that is affordable for essential workers,...

Empty? British Columbia Translates Housing Speculation Into Social Housing

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Vancouver, B.C. has been home to some fairly insane social housing practices that, rather than supporting residents with low and no income, seem far better designed to leech government...

Social Housing — Who Says It’s Affordable?

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Thanks to COVID-19, your hours of work have been reduced and you've had to apply for emergency financial assistance to help make ends meet. You've been on a waiting...

Hotels For Houses

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Vacant hotel rooms have been identified as a potential source of new housing on a large scale. These particular rooms are in the Los Angeles area, where as many...

100 Year Old Experiment in Social Housing — Ignored — Can Inform Us Today

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In 1920, one of the world's best known architects, Le Corbusier was funded by a French altruist to create a social housing complex for industrial workers in Pessac, France. It...

How “Minor” Bureaucratic Delays Magnify Into An Eviction Life Crisis

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COVID-19 has meant less work or no work at all for too many people. National governments have stepped in with emergency financial assistance. In England, two million people had...

Social Housing Typology: What Works. What Doesn’t. A Personal View.

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Australia, with its eyes locally focused but with a continuing awareness of developments around the world, has tackled social housing in a variety of ways. However well-meaning, some have...

Irish Government Re-Starts Evictions Midst Happy-Clappy Rental Smokescreen

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COVID-19 got you penniless and unemployed? The Irish Government has legislation planned to get you dancing for joy. Soon, folks in arrears on the their rent payments will legally...

As COVID-19 Lingers, A Focus On Coming Landlord Vacancy Crises

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A tsunami of evictions looms on the horizon for individuals and families who have suffered job loss in the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. But every single eviction often...

A Different Way To Fight Housing Discrimination

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On July 1, an English a court handed down a ruling to make it easier for people who receive social assistance to move to housing in the private rental...

Is Belle Park On Its Way To Becoming A Land Trust?

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Last month, we shared a story about a homeless encampment at Belle Park in Kingston, Ontario.See: Homelessness Underfoot: Grey Problems For Black And White Decision-Making As of today, the...

WA COVID-19 Recovery Plans Include Green Social Housing

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What an opportunity to kick-start the national housing industry by building much needed social housing! There is a great deal of activist push for this COVID-19 inspired recovery program....

Bang-A-Pot COVID Key Worker Support Fades Towards A Housing Tragedy

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Australia's COVID-19 response required some people to work, not from home, but at their job site. Similar to other countries, the government heralded these key workers, who included waste...

Charitable Housing Associations Step Up

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Housing associations in and around London, England have been increasingly frustrated in their efforts to build housing that is affordable for households with low and very low incomes.Try: UK...

Canary’s Song: Australia Needs Social Housing, Other Big Construction Projects

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Australia went at COVID-19 'hard and early'. It is now moving on to recovery schemes well in advance of countries such as the United States, which continues to struggle with...

Black Or White, There’s Real Power in Cooperation And Community

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How to compete with aggressive land developers, particularly in the largely unshackled competition of free-enterprise nations such as the United States? Land developers have pockets lined with cash to outbid...

Court Trashes UK Universal Credit Testing That Refused To Learn – Updated

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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....

A COVID-19 Recovery Plan To End Homelessness

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The mission of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness is pretty self evident. These days, it’s making the case that ending homelessness should be part of Canada’s COVID-19 recovery...

Could Remote Working Herald A Transit and Housing Revolution?

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The internet has had a remarkable impact on human life, creating powerful new ways in which people can interact. But business has been reluctant to abandon itself to the...

Homelessness In England: How Councils And Localism Make It Grow

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Starting in 2010, homelessness in England began to rise. It wasn’t specific to any particular group. The numbers of people sleeping rough, the families with children, and the women...

Architectural Design For Care And Well-Being

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Pretty much everyone is hearing about the poor quality of life for seniors that has been exposed by COVID-19. Care conditions have been held to blame, but the roots...

Tips For The Willing — Building Support For Social Housing

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When Alexander von Hoffman at Harvard penned History Lessons for Today’s Housing Policy, he was writing in 2012, during the Obama administration. What possible relevance could that have for...

America’s Public Housing: Born To Die

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In Vienna, a sizeable portion of the population lives in public (social) housing. We're not talking just low and no income folks, but a wide range of middle class...

Keys To Ending Homelessness

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A team of 15 researchers across Canada wanted to find out what services helped people experiencing homelessness who are living with a mental illness. They reviewed every published study...

“Public Housing Saved My Life.” From Racist Abuse To Aussie Senator

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Critics focused on the failure of public housing find it convenient to blame its woes upon the collective inabilities of its residents. This dismissal has been much easier to...

From Vienna, Social Housing Designed With Social Purpose In Mind

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Social Housing as nuisance/necessity for the human scrapings at the bottom of the income barrel? Not in Austria (and particularly Vienna) where social housing is the housing of choice...

Making The Prevention Of Homelessness A Priority: The Role Of Social Innovation

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Homelessness is not something to wish on anyone. This is especially true for young people. Instead, we should put a priority on preventing young people from experiencing homelessness in...

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....

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...

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...

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...
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