Models

Articles discussing models for building and operating housing that is affordable to households with very low or no incomes.

Some Compulsory Trivia For New(?) ‘Social Housing’ Activists

America has spent the better part of a century digging public housing into an economic hole from which it will, at least in its present form, never emerge. Parsimony...

Social Housing Development – Thorough Research Pays Off

Affordablehousingaction.org frequently trots out Singapore and Vienna as examples of 'how social housing could be done better.' Nor is this some unique trend. Governments support fact finding missions. As...

Rochdale UK Return Of The Prodigal Housing Managers

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...

Housing For Single Parent Families Breaks Ground In Vienna

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...

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...

Atlanta’s East Lake Experiment — Mixed Housing. Success Or Failure?

Mixed income communities have been the clarion call of progressive city planners trying to harness the income and influence of wealthier neighbours in the downtown 'hood, without driving out...

Church And Government Pool Affordable Housing Resources In Malta, Barrie

Religious organizations, particularly older ones, may have a surfeit of property as their mission to the faithful changes over time. Many have traditionally been active in providing shelter and...

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

Who can afford affordable housing? KiwibuildTry: New Zealand’s Kiwibuild ‘Affordable’ Housing Stumbles Out Of The Starting Gate was initiated in New Zealand as an ambitious affordable housing program. It came...

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

At least two models of public housing tenure exist. One was exemplified by an American home-building experiment that began during the Great Depression of the 1930's. The initial objective...

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

It's a world in which some countries, for example the U.K., the U.S. and Canada, public housing is still presented as burst balloon — unfortunately overinflated and sadly exploded,...

Singapore: The Millionaires Row Of Public Housing For All

Most of us interested in the future of public housing have heard (possibly even ad nauseum) how a couple of cities — Vienna and Singapore — manage to provide...

Report Recommends Reforms To Improve Public Housing For Older Tenants

Although Australia has policies and programs to support ageing, the experience of aging tenants in public housing has received little attention. A recent report from the Australian Housing and...

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

The Ventura County Housing Authority in California is starting to redevelop its oldest public housing site, with support made available through the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program. Amid a slew...

Manchester UK Breaks New Ground In Building Social Housing To Green Specs

Social housing activists on both sides of the Atlantic from USA across to the UK and Europe, fight an uphill battle against persistent remnants of neoliberal thought. By now, everyone...

A Rhode Island Public Housing Collective Becomes An Electricity Farm

The earliest forms of energy conversion for human use were granular — many small conversions using wood or peat or coal in a fireplace for warmth or a stove...

North America: Why Not Public Housing Truly Affordable, AND Desirable?

Awards for public/social housing in North America? Really, awards? Isn't that the housing that the entire continent is attempting to neglect to death? And yet, even in North America there...

San Antonio Nixes Mixed Income Nirvana To Build New Public Housing

What can save U.S. Public housing from on-going government subsidy? The received wisdom (now growing rather shopworn) is that razing dilapidated public housing and replacing it with a mixed...

Ahead Of The Curve: French Experience With Building Social Housing

In 2000, the national government in France implemented legislation that obliged local governments to build social housing. (Social housing is often referred to in this blog as truly affordable...

Public Housing Futures: Transitional Or Transformative?

Here are two visions of public housing: An attractive, secure, affordable lifelong home for "workers," first promoted in the U.S. at the dawn of American public housing by the...

Does Paris Have A Method For U.S. Public Housing Madness?

The United States is gradually waking up to the fact that it has profoundly neglected the upkeep of its public housing. This hasn't mattered under several decades of neoliberal...

A Tour Of Social Housing Revival In North America

The demolitions of Cabrini Green in Chicago and Pruitt-Igoe in St. Louis, two very large public housing projects, reflect decisions made by people who had never lived there. Some...

Singapore’s Public Housing. . . ❤️ ! But Also Some . . .☹️

Okay, we have occasionally gushed about the "amazingness" that 80% of Singapore's population live in social housing and actually own it as well. That gushing has stretched even to numbers of other...

Apologies: We Celebrated A Venerable Public Housing Birthday A Year Early

Those of us who are aging surrounded by aging family and friends often need forgiveness for getting birthday dates slightly wrong. So we're hoping we'll be forgiven by joyously...

US Public Housing Today: Necessity Is The Mother of Indifference

Necessity the mother of indifference? A far cry from the period following World War II, when necessity was very much the mother of amazing invention as countries rebuilt housing...

Updated: New Life For 100 Year Old Buildings?

In June 2020, affordablehousingaction.org reported about a renovation project at an eight unit tenement in Glasgow. Now, the BBC is providing an update on how it's coming along. The...

Scotland Steps Up On Social Rent Housing

The Scottish Government has issued a 20 year housing policy. This time frame, which extends well beyond typical election cycles, is unusual in itself. The document states unequivocally that...

Housing With Support – A Source Of Strength To Individuals And Community

In the late 1800's in western countries, if people had problems they might seek help from family, neighbours or the local church. There were also hospitals, asylums, poor houses...

Is It Possible? Middle Class Envy of Public Housing Quality? Yes

Affordablehousingaction.org operates out of an older mid-rise Toronto apartment building with large rooms and views over a park and lake. For all their desirable features, the apartments are wrapped...

Vienna Achieves “Mixed Income” Within Public Housing, Not Beside It

In North America, as well as many other "westernized" countries, housing developers and government currently argue that "mixed income" is a very desirable social foundation for building strong neighbourhood...

Public Housing Needs Arts At Its Core. Who Knew? (Other Than Artists)

A Seattle, Washington public housing arts project provides an alternative meaning to "public housing" that has been much neglected in America. That meaning is a focus on "community" rather...

Postwar Public Housing: US Built A Failed Lower Class, Japan Created The Middle

There's a well-known saying: "you are what you eat." In postwar US and Japan, it might fairly be argued that you were how you were housed. Supposedly classless America...

The Brookings Institute Compares Rental Housing Strategies Around the World

The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States has played havoc with that nation's housing, as it has in most, if not all, other countries in the world. This is...

Is Vancouver City Council Proposing To Dabble In Racist, Segregated Housing?

A belated recognition of urban aboriginal needs? Or a dismaying state-supported adventure in racist and economic apartheid? Vancouver, BC's city council has approval a First Nations construction project slated for...

Benefits And Challenges of Green Social Housing As Low Income Security For UK

With housing firmly established as suitable gambling chip in the world's stock markets, it is becoming increasingly difficult for those with lower incomes to even rent it, let alone...

Can Vertical Forest Splash Save Netherlands Social Housing Cash?

There can be little argument that Milan's pioneering "Vertical Forest" building is a striking feat of architecture.Or rather, it will become one at some time in the future. Built...

Up And Out: Public Housing as Short Term Rehab vs. Destination Living

Public housing in America and Europe was originally envisioned as desirable, secure, adequate, long term housing for workers facing a World Economic Depression that lasted a decade in the...

Is Housing-Proud Singapore A Go-To For Urban Planning After COVID?

With COVID-19 exacerbating housing crises worldwide, it's hard to avoid being awestruck with Singapore's dramatic public housing successes.Try: How Singapore Got Public Housing Right That city-state has planned thoughtfully...

Columbia, South America: Learning From Social Challenges In New Public Housing

The article linked below offers a view into public housing built in Colombia, South America. It is a part of the world that receives little coverage in the media...

What If New Public Housing In America Could Be Owned, Not Rented?

Shelterforce is an American publication promoting community activism in a number of areas, particularly housing. In a recent article, it poses the "what if" question framed in the headline...

Can You Have A Million Dollar Public Housing Cake And Eat it Too? Singapore Wonders

European nations such as Denmark and Austria have done very well by housing large portions of their population in social housing. Nowhere, however, has the public housing been such...

How Singapore Got Public Housing Right

So how come public housing is such a perennial loser, reviled and disparaged by political parties of all stripes in some of the world's more advanced nations? Its demise...

Still Standing? A Lick Of Paint And Bob’s Your Uncle: Good As New Public Housing!

Refurbish decrepit empty housing, including dead-but-hasn't-fallen down public/social housing? Maybe it's a good idea. A growing number of nations worldwide, from those who think public housing is or was a...

Irish Cost-Rental Housing: What Is It? Is It Affordable?

"Cost-Rental Housing" as coined by the Irish Government, describes a new project funding scheme, based in part upon the way the City of Vienna funds its extremely successful social...

What’s Hot And What’s Not In Seniors’ Housing? Ask The Public Housing World Pros

Just imagine you lived in a nation where public housing worked wonderfully for people with no income, low income, moderate income — in fact just about everybody. We're not...

Employing Public Housing Tenants – Another Myth Bites The Dust

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...

Featuring a Bizarre Welsh “Good News” Public Housing Story

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

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?

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

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...

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

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...

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

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...

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

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...

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

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...

Irish Government Heavy Breathing Into Vacant Housing Owner Ears

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...

Transforming Canada’s 10 Year Housing Plan

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...

UK Pandemic Home Buyers Compete With Councils For Housing Deals

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...

Prudent Business Operations In Non-Profit Housing?

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...

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

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...

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

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

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...

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

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...

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

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...

Housing Authorities See Benefit In The Education/Training Biz

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...

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

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"...

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

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...

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

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...

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

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...

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

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...

A Missing Chapter: Housing Development In The Global South

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

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...

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

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...

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

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...

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

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...

WA COVID-19 Recovery Plans Include Green Social Housing

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....

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

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...

From Vienna, Social Housing Designed With Social Purpose In Mind

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...

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

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

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...

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

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...

Building Better Tenant Experience

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...

New Life For 100 Year Old Buildings?

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...

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

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...

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

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...

Are There Future Needs For ‘Emergency’ Social Housing?

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...

A New Irish PPP Approach For Meaningful Volumes Of Social Housing

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...

Reviving Adam Smith

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...

The CARES Act: Evictions, Foreclosures On Pause For Some. Then What?

An article by three U.S. Law Professors explains how the federal CARES Act only momentarily addresses the threat of eviction and only for a select group of owners and...

Different Strokes For Different Folks: Social Housing Design Lab, Mexico

Looking for a some rays of sunshine that reflect a better housing future for low income families? Different climates, different histories, different social and cultural communities: a Mexican 'laboratory for...

Proven Yet Abandoned: Lofty Public Housing Aspirations Can Be Regained

In the final quarter of the 20th century, public housing on both sides of the Atlantic fell victim to "Thatcherite" small-government philosophy. Governments don't belong in the housing business....

Hong Kong Social Housing: Different Strokes House 50% Of Folks

During the 20th century, different nations found different reasons to develop different forms of social housing. Exceptionalist America more or less did theirs one way for one reason in one...

COVID-19: Social Housing As A Fundamental Public Health Need

With housing a vital containment against the spread of COVID-19, housing is finally receiving national public health recognition both needed and deserved. Shelter, along with food and clean water,...

Home Sweet Social Housing Home

Nostalgia for something never experienced? Such is the feeling of a Boston Globe article, which yearns for a form of housing never successfully taken hold in North America. The...

Social Housing Futures Confederation Takes Shape In United Kingdom

For some decades, boots-on-the-ground UK local councils and housing associations have followed orders from national government generals hellbent on creating social housing more efficiently and cheaply by hiring mercenary...

Social Housing Future Challenge: Overcoming Decades Of Management Contempt

With growing numbers of low income residents in North America paying more than half their income in rent, there's a pressing need for scalable housing solutions that do not...

Social Housing Reno: Service To Tenants? Or To Housing Industry?

Local Housing Authorities are finding themselves in almost-impossible situations when it comes to selling long-suffering tenants on the benefits of repairs and renovations. Why are social housing tenants frightened about...

Visionary ‘Green to Last’ For Next Generation Social Housing?

Those who have worked in the business of providing or maintaining social housing inevitably come up against a general public attitude that those in need of public assistance don't deserve...

From Wood To Brick To Wood Again. Could Low Income Housing Come Full Circle?

A pair of photographs reflects a depression-era pattern: tumbledown wooden slums in New Orleans, LA, pictured above, replaced by sturdy brick government-built social housing pictured below. St. Thomas Street, New...

Can Housing Markets Co-exist? 10-Pin For ‘Haves’, Gutterball For ‘Have-Nots’?

In that Great Big 'Bowling For Dollars' Industry that develops and builds housing, it's all just millions of happy families served by an unregulated industry that will build more...

What Is Remunicipalization? What Has It Got To Do With Affordable Housing?

If you're interested in affordable housing, we'd like to "water" down your experience for a few moments in service of one large word: remunicipalization. (You may need a sip...

Truly Affordable: Time To Stop ‘Tinkering at the Housing Margins’

Two years ago, Homes For All published a report entitled Communities Over Commodities: People-Driven Alternatives to an Unjust Housing System. At the time American politics, particularly at the federal level, battled...
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