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.

A United America Needs Better Access To Public Housing

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With the arrival of the Biden Democratic presidency in the USA, there are increasing calls for what can be described as "big government" solutions to the nation's problems. This...

Top-Down Promoted “Affordability” Definitions Run Aground in P.E.I.

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When it comes to housing, what to make of the term "affordable" these days? Aided and abetted by the housing industry in search of funding, as well as national...

Truly Affordable Housing? Public Sector Can Do it Better . . . Or Maybe Not.

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Who can best build truly affordable housing for low- and no- income citizens? The private sector? That's been a popular government assumption, tried and tested in Public Private Partnerships...

Employing Public Housing Tenants – Another Myth Bites The Dust

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Here is groundbreaking research about tenants who live in social housing that deserves more attention. It challenges the notion that people who live in social housing are less motivated...

Affordable For All: The Challenge For New U.S. Housing Secretary

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Recently, we posted a storyTry: Biden-Harris: Timely Dawn Of A New Day For Public Housing? Unlikely that assessed the chances that Public Housing would see a revival in America...

Featuring a Bizarre Welsh “Good News” Public Housing Story

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Bizarre? Why, anything about public housing is bizarre if it departs from the circular firing squads that define interaction between government, public housing management and their tenants on both...

Canada’s Ugly Duckling Co-ops Still Swanning About In Pandemic

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The desperate financial pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic have amplified a loud and growing chorus for social and public housing solutions to deal with unaffordable housing. For going on half...

A Public Housing Gym? With A Walking Track For Seniors?

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When youth living at Gordonridge, were asked for their input on a gym complex being planned for the site, they asked, "Can we add a walking track for seniors?" This...

Be Best: Montréal Goes Toe To Toe With Housing Speculator Bullies

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In an era of declining work security (never mind the pandemic!) it's not surprising that those worried about their late life income might consider "mom and pop shop" investment...

Multiple USA Crises: Could A New Public Housing Dawn Fix Them?

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In the midst of a pandemic, Joe Biden has stepped to the plate. Could one powerful swing towards public housing renewal knock a series of national problems out of...

A Health Emergency On Top Of A Housing Emergency

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Cynthia Puddu, who teaches at MacEwen University in Edmonton, Alberta, is calling for short and long term changes to housing and homelessness programs across North America. Before COVID-19, housing for...

Defund the Police? Why Not Just De-Militarize Them?

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Uniformed police are an inescapable symbol of White prejudice and oppression in Black America, a searing image, which will not be erased in a single lifetime. Less obvious is...

A Drop-In Centre With A Housing Mission

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Here's an article about the sale of a heritage rooming house building in a Toronto neighbourhood. The new owner is bucking the trend to gentrification and will continue to...

Too Many Empty Social Housing Units? Are Tenants Too Picky?

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An article from Scotland and another from Ontario, Canada tell of different ways to manage waiting lists for social housing. Both offer the right to refuse an offer of a...

Guns, Jails And Violence: The Housing Connection

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Gun violence is one of many failings associated with public housing. In his documentary, writer, producer and director Brian Schodorf challenges that notion. The program focusses on Cabrini Green, a...

Council-Built Housing: Pure Tomfoolery or Plain Good Sense?

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Could your local city or regional council build its own housing? Why would it want to? One compelling argument is that, when it comes to truly affordable housing, it may...

“A [COVID] Factor That Came Late To Public Attention: Ventilation.”

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Ventilation came late to COVID 19 public attention? Really? Not in this writer's Canadian household, where stories out of East Asia early last spring described in diagrammatic detail how...

Sure, Skip American Public Housing As A Failure. Just Choose A Better Model

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With a Democrat as President, progressives in both Congress and party will be pushing for a return to public housing as a cure for some of America's housing woes. Has...

How Parliamentarians Might Get A Meaningful Taste Of Public Housing

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What follows is a New Zealand article with all the sharp-edged whimsy of Irishman Johnathan Swift's 1729 anonymous publication of A Modest Proposal.Here is a summary of this satirical...

Can Two Lame US Public Housing Substitutes Limp Effectively Together?

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Neoliberal "small" governments over the last 50 years have developed low- and no- income housing support that was designed to replace "big government" hands-on public housing. These solutions have, by...

Aussie Feds Drop Social Housing Ball. Has Victoria, AU Picked It Up?

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If noise in the press is any indication of public concern, then Australia's press over the last six months has resonated with cries from all quarters for the construction...

Dublin On Social Housing: Let’s Do It Better, Like The Europeans Do

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For any city, town or rural area re-thinking the benefits of social housing, it's important to acknowledge that what went wrong in the past can be a useful foundation...

Gary, Indiana Turns Out Public Housing Lights, Prays For Landlord Candles

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U.S. President George H.W. Bush's description of charities as "a thousand tiny points of light" has taken a rightful place in history and literature as a truly hopeful and...

Canadian First Nation Seeks Sovereignty Through Housing

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Indigenous people who are resident in modern nations may value their often unasked for (and sometimes unwanted) citizenship. But many, if not most, harbour a strong sense of maintaining...

Overlooked: Women’s Homelessness And Housing Need

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In the months leading up to COVID-19, two groups of researchers set out to investigate homelessness among women. The researchers were concerned that women's experiences were overlooked. Both groups...

Greet Once-Employed, Now Homeless Hoards: No Salary, Not Even Tips

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Good Value = Popular = Crowding = Exuberant Conversation = Infected Spittle-Spatter blown away in a patio wind, but sucked into deadly circulation when trapped indoors. The future of...

U.S. Pilot Project Smooths The Transition From Jail To Community

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The Homecoming Project in Oakland, California matches people who are leaving prison with community hosts who provide housing for six months. The idea is to provide safe and secure...

While Waiting For Econ 101 Solutions, Welcome To The 1890 Slums

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When it comes to the creation of affordable housing, particularly truly affordable social housing, neoliberal government thinking still prevails after 50 years of questionable results. The tried but not-so-true...

Public Housing: For Heaven’s Sake Let The Good Times Roll!

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Is social housing a disease or a cure? Half a century spent pondering that question has left neoliberal governments around the world no closer to an answer. One thing is...

Sounding The Bell For Public Spending On Social Housing

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For the past few decades, countries caught in the thrall of neoliberalism (e.g. America, Australia, Canada, UK, Ireland, etc.) have stood by the theory that governments have no place...

Update – San Francisco Considers Paying The Price For New Public Housing

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A lot of attention following the U.S. elections has been focussed at the national level, where counting continues slowly and painstakingly. Not so in San Francisco, where some of...

Tenants Call For Green Kitchens In NYCHA Buildings

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Tenants living in housing owned by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) have come up with a great idea to get the ball rolling on a Green New...

Irish Government Heavy Breathing Into Vacant Housing Owner Ears

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Small-c government (or neo-liberal government, if you like) is a public entity that is infatuated with private enterprise. That goes particularly for the provision of truly affordable housing, for...

Birmingham Private Housing Authorities Abandon Special Needs Tenants

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The U.K. government has over the past few years created loopholes for housing developers normally restricted by numerous by-laws. This extra freedom was created in order to encourage the...

Can Existing Social Housing Go ‘Green’ One Baby Step At A Time?

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A local article from a Welsh newspaper paints in one corner of an enormous issue: 'decarbonization' of United Kingdom's social housing. Viewed from America, decarbonization or greening, or energy efficiency,...

Biden-Harris: Timely Dawn Of A New Day For Public Housing? Unlikely

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For young progressives in America expecting great change from the replacement of a Republican President by a Democratic one, don't hold your breath while counting on the arrival of...

Reasons To Be Wary Of Home Ownership

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Yes, there are people who wonder whether home ownership is all it's cracked up to be. This intriguing point of view diverges substantially from the idea that everyone should...

Housing Rental Assistance Stalls Out In Hot Markets. Even Warm Ones.

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In countries influenced by neo-liberalism, governments are dedicated to self-shrinking. Rather than constructing and "owning" public/social housing, rental assistance programs have become the order of the day for supporting...

Silver Tsunami Greets Affordable Senior’s Housing That Isn’t There

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Do you know that the writer of this article is a senior? You may not, but Google does. I read articles from around the world daily in publications from...

Transforming Canada’s 10 Year Housing Plan

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Indigenous people in Canada are over-represented in the population of people experiencing homelessness. A lack of adequate housing contributes to this situation. The Indigenous Housing Caucus of the Canadian...

Flicking A Broken Switch to Turn Off US Public Housing? Doesn’t Work

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Much of what affordablehousingaction.org publishes about social/public/council housing could in the US be considered palliative care for a dying industry and its long-suffering tenants. American public housing has been...

UK Pandemic Home Buyers Compete With Councils For Housing Deals

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It is difficult to avoid shaking the head in disbelief. Some reports peg housing demand and housing prices as either stable or rising in the face of COVID-19.Here's a...

Who Might Jesus Look Like In A Modern Canadian Winter?

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The face of a Second Coming in today's modern world might be that of a man more effectively able to preach by what he practices, rather then practice his...

Calls For Public Housing: Part Of A UK Economic Recovery Plan

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In the early days of COVID-19, Guardian reporter Laura Spinney asked if COVID was a consequence of the economy, and not the other way round.Try: COVID-19: Brought To You...

New York Mayor Swallows Unexpected Lead Paint At News Conference

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At a recent news conference, New York's Mayor learned that 9,000 NYCHA (New York City Housing Authority) housing units need lead paint remediation. Earlier counts put the number at...

Grappling With A Rural Housing Shortage

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Residents of Gwynedd, Wales are looking for ways to overcome a housing shortage. It is tucked up next to Snowdonia National Park, which is popular with tourists. It's also a...

San Francisco Considers Paying The Price For New Public Housing

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“The vision is that you can be a working class person who lives in San Francisco and pays a reasonable percentage of your income to rent.” It's déjà vu all...

A World of Affordable Housing Crises Before the Pandemic: What Next?

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Over the last few months, the impact of COVID-19 has driven many events surrounding the universal human need for housing. Not surprisingly, crises associated with this fundamental need (and...

Prudent Business Operations In Non-Profit Housing?

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As a company, Joint Ownership Entity NYC (JOE NYC for short) doesn't have a catchy name. You certainly wouldn't guess that it works with non-profit housing providers in New...

Transaltlantic Neoliberal Problem With The Poor: They Just Won’t Keep Up!

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Two articles published on the same day on opposite sides of the Atlantic reflect, when it comes to housing, how badly the poorer classes have let down the ideals...

Successful Capitalist Welfare State Singapore Plans Tomorrow’s Benefits For All

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Perhaps you're a go-along-to-get-along free market apologist for the poor treatment that your nation metes out to the elderly, the poor and the unwell. Possibly you've drunk the koolaid about...

Why Taking The Sting Out Of Debt Letters Isn’t Enough

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The UK government is revising the rules for debt letters — those nasty surprises that arrive in the mail to inform you that you are behind in your payments...

Housing For Poor Built Beside Rich? It’s A Camel Through The Eye Of A Needle

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Ah, yes, California! In a political climate famed (according to right wing sources anyway) for excessive liberalism amounting to self-inflicted commie-kazi, the truth is much more complex. NIMBY (Not In...

Social Housing Tenants Can Manage Themselves, Despite Govt Seal Of Disapproval

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As regular as the sun rising in the morning, governments find the management of social housing to be incompetent. CEO of Toronto Community Housing Corporation? It may soon be...

Vancouver, B.C. Eyes A Cleanup Of Downtown SROs Through Public Ownership

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Vancouver, B.C. is cursed with one of the highest costs of living in the world and blessed (a teeny tiny blessing) with a considerable quantity of still-existing affordable rent...

Intimate Partner Violence: New Directions For Programming

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Governments looking to ramp up their programming to help people living with intimate partner (aka domestic) violence have a new resource to help with their planning. Anova and Changing Ways...

Green Matters: No Single Colour Of Paint Covers AU Tenant Energy Hardship

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Energy hardship is a natural outcome of treating rental housing as a commodity, rather than sheltering it under a human rights umbrella. In many modern countries, the owner of...

Czech Housing Good Enough For Yesterday’s Commies, Today’s Middle Classes

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Imagine: worried housing academics, historians, designers and activists agonizing and shaking their heads over the "new chic" — privately purchased and refurbished social housing apartments — unadorned brick towers...

Help! There’s A Socialist In My Government! But Maybe Somebody’s Gotta Do It

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For all those concerned with truly affordable housing in free enterprise societies, broad socialist solutions seldom make a meaningful contribution to democratic debate. In an investment-driven, wealth-chasing political framework, which...

‘True’ Housing Affordability In A Private Enterprise World: Is It Possible?

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Over the last few years, the term "affordability" when applied to housing has deteriorated to a match between seller's asking price and whatever you have in your pocket. And...

How Church Land Can Help To Ease The Need For Social Housing

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Public land? Philanthropist donated land? Church land? Tone Wheeler kicks off a discussion about Australian government disinterest in using public land for social housing. A similar attitude from philanthropy paves...

An Artist’s Perspective On Community And Housing: Undervalued And Overdue

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Artists of many stripes often expect and receive a rough ride when it comes to public understanding and appreciation of their work, let alone in convincing someone or anyone...

Building The Bridge To Housing From Homelessness

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Interviews with people who are homeless leave no doubt that they would prefer to live in housing. The experience of finding and moving to housing highlights the challenges involved...

Until Nov 4, 2020: $6 To Stream Wiseman’s “Public Housing” Documentary

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Frederick Wiseman, a recognized giant of US documentary film production, has focused his attention on capturing the life of American institutions on film, all of them screened over his...

Public Housing in DC . . . After A Decade Of Federal Underfunding

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The headline for this post reflects a quote from the DC Housing Authority's (DCHA's) 2021 plan. Alas, the underfunding goes back much longer than a single decade. From 11,000 on...

Housing Authorities See Benefit In The Education/Training Biz

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Crises of affordable housing in many countries are bringing a new appreciation of the importance of government-financed social housing for low and no-income citizens. Where countries such as the United...

It’s A Bird . . . No, A Plane . . . No, A Bristol, UK Super Tenant!

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In the United Kingdom, social housing has been loved and lost. Let us consider the national government over the last few decades as the lover, and the UK society...

What Is A “Socially Focused Mixed-Use Scheme?” Does It Have Legs?

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What is socially focused mix-use housing? Let's look briefly at the opposite, which often characterizes today's social housing: towers, which provide little more than basic shelter. homes situated in "food deserts"...

Reforming City Management To Meet The Needs Of All Residents

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This post is a portal to two series of articles. Both call for resident-centric planning in cities. Decent housing and thriving communities are at the core of both. Both...

The ‘Practical’ Tiny Home Soldiers On As The ‘Romantic’ Tiny Home Falters

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Let us generally discard mobile tow-trailers and motorized caravans as 'camping adventures' and focus instead on the idea of a true home, but a 'tiny' one. Over the last...

Do Tourists⬇ + COVID Homeless Shelters⬆ = Longer Term Opportunities?

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Will the tourist industry rebound? Sooner or later, COVID-19 will degenerate into one more everyday menace to be avoided (e.g. everything from catching the flu to falling overboard from...

Black Reparations? Housing Opportunities As A Suitable Direction For Action

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California's 'woke' politics help it to be one of the first out of the gate with at least a lukewarm endorsement of long overdue Black reparations. It's a refreshing...

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...

Want To Join a Rich And Fulfilling Community Life? Try Social Housing

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Any upwardly-mobile strivers intent on discovering the pot of community at the end of a rainbow should disabuse themselves of any idea that financial success and conspicuous housing are...

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...
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