Opening the door

Stories about paving the way to building and operating more public and social housing.

“NUMBY” Politicians Too Quick to Hear NIMBY?

If there's anything that everyone agrees upon, it's the inevitability of NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard). When the issue of new housing in a neighbourhood arises, almost nothing...

New Housing Next Door: Does It Kill Me or Cure Me?

Housing owners are rightfully concerned about how neighbourhood changes will influence what is probably their greatest investment — their home. Housing renters also have an indirect concern. If the...

Tenants Tickled Pink By The Privatization Of NYCHA? Not So Much

After decades of neglect, tenants of New York City's social housing have a pretty good idea of who to blame for the relentless dilapidation of their homes and lives....

Public Housing: A Cause for Optimism, Not Pessimism?

All of us on planet earth are johnny-come-latelys to our own genetic makeup, forged over thousands of years of bare subsistence, scratching a living where we can. Not surprising,...

Better Public Housing: And You Thought NGOs Were The Good Guys

Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) are by and large created as non-profit organizations. That means they can balance a public housing project's books but are constrained from channelling a nice little...

Homekey Struggles to Overcome Homelessness AND Public Perception

As California's Homekey program is well aware, fighting homelessness is a three-pronged battle. Like an iceberg, the bulk of homelessness lies beneath the surface, invisible to the public. Addressing homelessness...

Public Housing As American Roadkill. Could It Ever Be Nursed Back To Health

Crippled by racism, mercilessly run down by anti-socialist Cold Warriors, the public housing traffic accident in America is now being pecked to death by roadside scavengers. Even those who...

Montréal Threatens: Developers, Mix Your New Build Housing! Or Else!

Developers feast on free market housing. Why not make them fix Montréal's housing crisis while they're at it? That seems to be the thinking of the mayor and city...

Hong Kong: How To Reclaim Those Idle Fields of Developer Dreams

There is almost nothing as powerful as a free-market speculator in a democracy where the laws of the land favour — to the point of worship — the predatory...

Vote Housing: A Campaign To Change Canada’s Housing System

The Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness (CAEH) is teaming up with five organizations in a campaign called Vote Housing, which aims to make Canada's housing policy an election issue. Why the...

Government Policies Create Winners & Losers In Housing Markets

How did homelessness sprout and then grow and grow? Why are tenants living in substandard housing, or paying unaffordable rents, or both? Why does a commitment to adequate housing...

Housing Support Payments: Landlords😄, Tenants😄, Taxpayers😖

The headline on this post could go further, reflecting winners and losers in the free- market housing support program game: Developers😄, Speculators😄, and those needy and waiting for support...

Toronto Community Housing Workers Bargain For “Them,” Not Just “Us”

Well, we took out hats off to honour striking Chicago teachers who went to the bargaining wall demanding better conditions, including truly affordable housing, for students and their familiesKudos...

In Vancouver’s Orwellian Housing World, Affordable Means “Not”

Orwellian? Think of the novel 1984. As in: War is Peace! Freedom is Slavery! Now add Vancouver's contribution: Social Housing is Unaffordable Housing! Elsewhere in the world, Social Housing means...

Annapolis: Infrastructure Detached From People? Worth Suing Over

A government's construction and maintenance of services necessary to the well-being of a national or local population is inherently socialist. In America, though not everywhere else, there's a general...

Irish Plan To Implement Compassionate, Orderly, Permanent Refugee Reception

Global political upheavals have produced steady streams of asylum seekers and refugees hammering at the gates of wealthier countries. There is ample reason to believe these upheavals will continue....

In The Quicksand Of Housing Activism, Shared History Offers A Solid Footing

Looking towards a better future, why begin with a lengthy story of past failure? The question seems especially pertinent when no official record has been struck to carve the...

Even Without A Grand Master Rapper, New Orleans Shows Food Deserts Can Be Beaten

A modern view of old fashioned, much neglected, American public housing: push it into the trash. But there's a growing recognition that for all the hype for complicated government/free enterprise...

Royal Commission in Victoria, Australia Calls For Public Supported Housing

A Royal Commission Into the Mental Health System in Victoria, Australia, has just issued its final report. In its two years of activity, the Commissioners received 12,500 submissions. The...

Housing Advocacy At The Highest Levels Of The Church Of England

The Church of England (C of E) has joined the chorus calling for more housing for people with very low and no incomes. This is one result of work...

Jersey City “Grows Up” Helped By World Economic Forum To Fight Food Insecurity

Food insecurity is a growing danger for the most vulnerable in many advanced countries. What do you do when you or your extremely low income family encounter a financial...

When Homes Become Offices And Offices Become Homes: A Fantasy City Future?

In a topsy turvey pandemic world, many commercial office workers have seen their places of employment fragment and scatter backwards along commuter routes, down familiar residential streets, and in...

Public “Housing Of Last Resort” Offers Advice on Community Rebuild

It's easy to dismiss the ideas and perceptions of those who live in "housing of last resort." Barricaded in poorly maintained apartments, crunching across needles strewn in hallways, harassed for...

Do NIMBY, Bylaws, Stand In Way Of American Social Housing?

The American public is generally far more receptive to the idea of new public housing than either the politicians they elect, or the lumbering behemoth that is the Department...

New HUD Secretary’s Housing Experience Is A Mixed Message For Change

A recent article in City Journal attempts to put a hopeful twist on President Biden's choice for Secretary of the US Department Of Housing And Urban Developement (HUD). His...

EU Moves Towards Tackling Affordable Housing Crisis For All Its Member States

"Rather than a fundamental right to be guaranteed for all, housing has increasingly been considered a market to make profits through speculative acquisitions and the so-called financialization of the...

My Venerable Couch Is Worth Nothing. But Not To Someone With An Empty Home

This writer, planning a move from a long-held apartment, is in a flop sweat. Too much stuff! Well, lucky me. At least compared to those on housing waiting lists, owning...

Public Housing Tenants Could Become Fodder To Feed Brave New City CBDs

Everywhere, one of the biggest non-human victims of the pandemic — second only to national health care systems — has been the central business district (CBD), together with transit...

An American Monument Calls For Public Housing To Go Mainstream

No, the call isn't coming from some little half-baked lefty publication like ours. Not even from a fully baked one. It's coming from a really large, really important centre-left U.S....

New Public Housing? Here Are Some Reasons Why Not.

The Brookings Institute is a respected centre-left think tank, so when it pipes up with an opinion that squelches America's faint but slowly growing calls for public housing, lefty...

A United America Needs Better Access To Public Housing

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.

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...

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

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

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?

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...

Guns, Jails And Violence: The Housing Connection

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?

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...

How Parliamentarians Might Get A Meaningful Taste Of Public Housing

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...

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

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...

Sounding The Bell For Public Spending On Social Housing

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...

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

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...

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

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...

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

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...

New York Mayor Swallows Unexpected Lead Paint At News Conference

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...

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

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...

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

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...

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

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

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...

Building The Bridge To Housing From Homelessness

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

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...

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

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

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

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...

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

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

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

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....

A New Deal That Thinks Big For Social Housing

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...

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

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

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...

Social Rents Reduced — Comeuppance for Newham Pontius Pilate Performance

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

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...

Students Pitch In To Build Housing For People Who Are Homeless

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...

Health Services In US Supported To Use Housing First Treatment

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...

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

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...

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

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?

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...

Good Housing You Deserve? Not Possible By Capitalist Speculation

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...

Social Housing Policy And The Art Of Do-Nothing Apologetics

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...

Hotels For Houses

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...

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...

Charitable Housing Associations Step Up

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

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...

Architectural Design For Care And Well-Being

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

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

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...

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

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...

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

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...

Prefab: A History of Hope For Truly Affordable Housing

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,...

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

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...

Social Housing Vs Social Home: A Meaningful Difference

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’

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

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...

Empowering People With Experience To Prevent Homelessness

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

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!

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...

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

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...

New And Old Pandemic-Inspired Architecture For Future Social Housing

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...

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

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

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...

Could Social Housing Kickstart COVID-Stalled Building Industries?

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...

Housing Ombudsmen: Whose Ombuddies Will They Actually Be?

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?

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...

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

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...

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

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,...

What Is Social Exclusion, Anyway?

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,...

Homeless Services For Indigenous People In Canada Get A Boost

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...

Political Shaming Has All But Killed Social Housing In America

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...

Strange COVID-19 Bedfellows Press For Social Housing

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...

A Chorus Calling For Social Housing In Victoria, Australia

Over 250 individuals and groups have given input to an Inquiry Into Homelessness that is being conducted by the Victoria state government in Australia. Public housing is prominent among...

New Scottish End-Homelessness Recipe: 1. Find The Right Disease

And it seems that in the United Kingdom including Scotland, the national government has found the right disease. Only COVID-19 found the government, rather than the other way around. Nevertheless,...
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