Opening the door

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

A Denver Experiment To Improve Access To Food And Generate Electricity

Have you heard of the three sisters? They are the corn, beans and squash plants, which have been grown together in indigenous gardens for centuries. Each one helps the...

US Architect Stepping Up To Build Deeply Affordable Housing

We recently reported an interview with UK architect Peter Barber. In it, Barber speaks directly about the need for much more housing for people with very low incomes. Try:...

Borrowed UK Perspectives: Helpful In Redefining New World Affordable Housing?

Here's a post based on material originally aimed at a United Kingdom market, but with most certainly a relevance elsewhere, particularly struggling North America. A winner of the UK's Neave...

UK Social Housing, Not Ownership, Can End Private Rental Profiteering

Not all that long ago, renting a home on the free market was the essential penny-saving survival means in the UK. It was once cheaper and more readily available...

Improving Tenant Health In Public Housing

Two students who are enrolled at Harvard Medical School have collaborated on an article in which they speak up for the people who live in public housing. The students,...

‘Expert’ Leadership Has Failed Social Housing. Time To Let Tenants Build A Better System?

When Affordablehousingaction.org started exploring affordable housing six years ago, the general feeling was that public housing in the United States was a dead duck. Due to the outsized influence...

Homelessness A Lifestyle Choice? Forget That Self-Serving Nonsense: California Study

30% of all people who are homeless in the United States live in California. That state has a to-die-for climate (a good deal of the time anyway). It's easy...

Do Governments Mistakenly Support A Fantasy: That Voters Believe All Should Own Housing?

It was in a Toronto Fitness Centre locker room that a local University prof spilled the ugly beans to Affordablehousingaction.org about citizen self-protective(?) behaviour. "Immigrants are only pro-immigration until they...

Social Housing: What’s Happening in A Brave New USA of Truly Affordable Housing?

Social Housing, newly minted for America! What is it? How does it offer to mitigate and, hopefully one day, end a current national housing crisis? This post introduces an...

California Rich & Poor: If We All Live In A Yellow Submarine, Will We Despise Each Other Less?

Affordablehousingaction.org has been following one of the few currently active 'social housing' projects in the USA. With a touch of good old American self-interest, activists have decided that a...

America Needs To Build New Social Housing For All, Not Just Racist Dumps For the Poorest

For those needing to play catchup on the state of truly affordable public/social housing'Truly Affordable' is also referred to as 'Rent Geared To Income.' No income, no rent. Little...

Renovating Public Housing: A Chance To Do Better For Tenants And The Community

Three researchers have done a thorough analysis of renovations to social housing that is owned by the Portuguese city of Porto. The research is significant because the housing forms an...

Where Public Housing Residents Can Become Millionaires, Most Of You Might Want To Live There

Some housing activists in North America are hoping to rekindle the importance of public housing as a solution to their local version of a world's ever-deepening affordable housing crisis. Philosophizing...

Canada’s Capital City: Advancing An Affordable Housing Agenda With A New Mayor

The City of Ottawa has a new mayor, who naturally wants to make an impression on his city. To that end, he's put together a task force to review...

Years Pass Before A Death Discovered: A Public Housing Association Too Business-y To Notice?

How can a nonprofit or a charity become significantly profitable? Answer: it can't. But non-profits can create a comfortable living for a group of employees. Some of them, with...

So There Was A Fire. Sorry For The Damage & Injuries, But We’re Underfunded. Not Our Fault.

What's the most likely way to prevent public housing fire disasters? Consider the infamous 2017 Grenfell Tower fire in London, England, and two fires in January 2022, one in...

Conservatives & Social Housing: Never The Twain Shall Meet? Not So

Struggling to get more truly affordable housing built? Why might you despair over the future of adequate housing for those with the lowest incomes? It's the bad attitude of conservative...

Unravelling The Mystery Of Government Housing Expenditures

Any time someone digs into public accounts, they deserve a medal in the estimation of this writer. Following the money is slow work. In the case of the report linked...

New York City Suburbs To Become A Hotbed Of New Public Housing?

The financialization of housing is raising the cost of human shelter worldwide, leading to similar problems in many countries, with growing populations being priced out of housing altogether and...

Any Teeth To ‘Adequate’ In Human Right To Housing? Australian High Court Will Decide

Here's an update about the government of Australia's Northern Territory and the housing it provides to its tenants. Last year, tenants brought a court case over the definition of adequate...

Why Are Babies Sleeping With Their Parents? Sorry, Your Answer Is Wrong

Tenants at the Clinton-Peabody Public Housing Project in St. Louis, Missouri were called to a meeting to talk about premature deaths among infants. The people who organized the meeting...

UK IKEA Shopping Reflected In The Poverty Of The Near-Homeless

IKEA is a commercial home furnishing company known by vast numbers of people in many countries, offering attractive living at bargain prices. In the UK recently it has taken...

Foghorns Necessary To Avoid Federal Roadblocks To End Homelessness In US

One advantage of reading an unabashedly lefty publication such as Jacobin is its relentless weeding of high-bush vegetation thrown up by earnest-sounding politicians that hint at meaningful policy flowerings...

Seduce Middle Class Into Reimagined Social Housing With a Green Lung?

A Seattle referendum on 'social housing' has recently recently received a 'thumbs up' from local citizenryFor background, try: As The World Reconsiders Social Housing Need, Faint USA Cries of...

A Self-Funding Form of Truly Affordable Housing? Seattle Says Yes Please

With its eye firmly fixed outside of America, Seattle, Washington has recently voted to explore a new form of government-supported housing. The models for Seattle's newly initiated government supported...

Converting Private Rental Housing To Social Housing – The Whys And The Hows

Here is another call to purchase existing housing to accomplish social objectives, this time from EnglandFor an example from Canada try: Canadian Bank Speaks Up In Favour Of Social...

American Music: Legacy of Hollywood Composers? Not For Its Soul. Think Again.

So, why is an affordable housing blog with a home in Canada so enamoured with the National Public Housing Museum in Chicago? Millions of Americans were given the opportunity to...

Canadian Bank Speaks Up In Favour Of Social Housing

Canada has five big private banks. Each one is enormously profitable. Part of that profit comes from lending money to people to buy homes. When one of the big...

Some Ideas To Fix England’s Social Rent Housing Deficit

In 2010 about 37,000 new social rent homes were built in England: in 2021, just 1,500 were builtThis reflects the number of social rent homes that received a government...

Rebooting U.S. Public Housing: Hard Aground, Can It Be Refloated?

As things now stand, public housing in America is being hung by the neck until dead. Some last minute reprieves are being granted to Housing Authorities prepared to sell their...

Vienna Social Housing Is A Form Of Wealth Available To Be Shared By All

America has a unique take on the terms 'social housing'  and 'public housing.' In most of the rest of the world, they are used pretty-much interchangeably for the same...

All In:The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness

For the past two or three years there have been activist rumblings in America about the possibility of successfully creating world class social housingTry: West Coast U.S. Activists Struggle...

How HUD Can Zap Public Housing Units Into Oblivion One At A Time

Home ownership is a founding (or possibly foundering) tenet of countries still strongly influenced by Reaganism/Thatcherism/Neoliberal thought. That includes North America, The British Isles (Including the Republic of Ireland),...

Co-Design – What Is It And Why Does It Help Build More Deeply Affordable Homes?

Local Councils and Housing Associations are taking the heat in England these days for failing to listen to the concerns of their residents. Some housing managers aren't doing a...

Adding On To Point-In-Time Count Data To Understand Homelessness Better

At affordablehousingaction.org, we have pointed out some of the limitations of point-in-time (PIT) counts of people who are homelessTry: Fatal Flaw In Point-in-time Homeless Counts?. And earlier this year,...

Pardons Begin To Open Doors To Public Housing In The U.S.

A small, but significant piece of good news from the United States: a crack has opened in the zero-tolerance wall that continues to seal off public housing from those...

As The World Reconsiders Social Housing Need, Faint USA Cries of ‘Us, Too!’

Let's hear it for the activists calling for a brave new world of American social housing. A special election will be held in Seattle, to consider a proposal to hire...

Public Housing: Beauty Or The Beast? An Architectural Viewpoint Up-Ends Assumptions

Production, Preservation, Protection (3Ps): A post-NIMBY, post-YIMBY framework for suburban neighbourhood development... "Architects should fill the suburbs with new public housing?": what former President Barak Obama clearly did...

Public Housing: You Can Fool Some Of the People All Of The Time

You can fool 'some of the people all of the time' is part of a common sayingYou can fool some of the people all of the time, and all...

Museum Names Artist To Help Elevate Lives Lived In US Public Housing

The National Public Housing Museum (NPHM) has taken on a massive challenge: to interpret the history of life in American public housing. Over decades now, developers hungry for building room...

The Housing Crisis: What Is It? What Might Fix It?

The Housing Crisis? What is it? These days pretty much every nation has one. Every region, city, town, village has one, too. Even still-communist countries such as China have one,...

US National Public Housing Museum’s Home Finally Ready For Takeoff

Pride is a strong foundation of community. NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard) popup defences appear spontaneously in neighbourhoods that have an awareness and belief in their local culture....

Canada Needs 2 Million Deeply Affordable Homes

Can Canada create 2 million homes that are affordable for the people in greatest need? Carolyn Whitzman says, "sure!" Whitzman is an Expert Advisor to the Housing Assessment Resource Tools...

Defining A ‘Housing Emergency’: Should Governments Wield The Power?

Not every post affordablehousingaction.org publishes, but surely every second post, reflects a concern about 'a' or 'the' housing crisis. For any media publication, as well as every concerned city...

Squelching Impermissible Attitudes Towards Social Housing Development

"Glad you could all make it to hear me out. Here's the problem. All three of you couples would like to buy this house, but you are from South...

Housing And Support – Foundations For Mental Health

The UK government is at work revamping its mental health strategy. Organizations are offering up studies and advice. There are calls to strengthen the connection between mental health care...

Give Me Shelter! A Business Fist Shakes Under A National Nose

No, it's not bleeding heart liberals who are whining. It's an attack on the social practices of a nation from an entirely unexpected quarter. That nation is Australia. The 'Me'...

South Australia Revisit: Affordable Housing Once Done Better

Nothing on a world-wide basis quite matches American hubris. America even does 'bad' better than anyone else. That would seem to be the relentless message around US public/social housing...

Biden Affordable Housing Plan Creates Homes For Investors

The U.S. Biden Administration has floated a Housing Supply Action Plan  designed to create some 800,000 'affordable' homes. It dips into an existing (and now profoundly out-of-date) toolbox that...

Why Pot Permission Everywhere Might Spark Public Housing Rebirth

During the recent Nation Basketball Association Finals, an advertisement was aired that slammed years of racist enforcement of criminalized drug use. In New York over the years, Latinos have...

Could Affordable Housing Support Help Poor, Inspire Church Growth?

The Church of England's R number is too low. That suggests its long term survival is in question. Could a social program, such as providing housing for the poor,...

Australia Welcomes Its First Public Housing-Raised Prime Minister

Hats off to a public housing urchin who has made it all the way to Prime Minister of Australia. Anthony Albanese grew up in a 1927 public housing development...

Why NA Gentrified/Suburbanites Need To Love Public Housing Tenants

'NA' in the headline? North American. Why North American, when simply 'American' covers most of the bases in a discussion about loving your disadvantaged neighbours. Americans often don't realize, though...

Vision and Evidence — An Important Pairing In A Campaign For Social Housing

Renters Rising and the Center For Popular Democracy have published a vision document for social housing advocates in the United States: Social Housing For All. The document sets the stage...

Darn! Another Unexpected Public Housing Good News Story

Happy to be happy? Or happy to be miserable? This writer was most likely enjoying the latter state of mind just a few days ago. He was pacing around...

Holding Government Feet To The Climate Change (And Other) Fire

Emergency planning is easy and inexpensive, at least compared to emergency management. History provides valuable support to researchers tasked with developing emergency plans. Add some creative thinkers and there...

A Rare(?) Thumbs-Up For HUD/NYCHA Public Housing Repair

America has been carelessly discarding its public housing for decades now, but is coming to two important realizations about the future of truly affordable housing: Nobody is building truly...

Connecting Messaging And Evidence To Build A Case For Housing

The article linked to this post is about messaging: that dynamic interaction between the way an issue is presented and the way that it is received. In the advertising world,...

Fighting The Rising Tide Of Tent Clearances

Media are reporting tent clearances all over the United States these days. Public support is crumbling for Housing First and similar programs that help people who are homeless to...

An Affordable Housing Odd Couple Worth Monitoring?

Still early days for a pair of city newly-weds, but . . . Should we remark on the potential of  a "V for Victory" link-up between the two cities, Vancouver,...

Remove Affordable Housing From Free Market By Snatching

Governments are well-versed in the art of seizing land. This isn't just a comment on autocratic non-democracies. Modern democracies know how to do it, too, simply declaring that a...

Convenience Of Irish Town Centres Are A New Residential Focus

Suburban wealth and automobile culture have produced three-quarters of a century of downtown commercial erosion. Pedestrian convenience gave way to suburban/exurban shopping centres and box stores more easily accessed...

Australia: ‘Adequate’ Housing = Reasonable Comfort

Private enterprise is a soft target for anyone inclined to see 'profit' as an unholy alliance between a business enterprise and its shareholders. This is particularly true for activists...

Housing For All: The Death Of Democracy In Victoria, Australia?

The State of Victoria in Australia has come up with an astonishing plan to actually fight homelessness with housing. It intends to do so by rapidly building some 10,000...

Statutory Public Meetings – A Trial For All Concerned

The following article tells a great story for anyone who has trained as an urban planner, architect or other design professional. It is written by a planner who went...

How Art Can Make The Case For Social Housing

It can sometimes be pretty frustrating to present evidence and arguments in favour of public funding for social housing. The whole idea is often batted away, or the facts...

A UK ‘Levelling Up’ White Paper – Prospects For Social Rent Housing

Amidst calls for urgently needed social rent housing in England, the Parliamentary Secretary of State for Housing, Levelling Up and Communities has tabled a White Paper. It discusses the...

Pricey Climate Broil: Global Crisis With Different Strokes For Different Folks

For the hot, hot, hot citizens of Phoenix, Arizona, climate change is cranking up the weather thermostat. A recent report describes rising local temperatures as "expensive," and outlines some...

Beautiful Memories Of Social Housing . . . Still With Us

Last year, Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal won the 2021 'Nobel Prize For Architecture' — the Pritzker Prize — not for tearing down social housing and replacing it with...

Disconnecting Housing Policy From Racism And Discrimination

Sophie House and Krystle Okafor are both based at New York University. Building on the work of contemporary abolitionistsAbolitionism is often understood to be about the abolition of slavery...

Homeless Man: I’d Sacrifice My Health Rather Than Abandon My Dog

The article linked below discusses the attitudes and actions of a man who is homeless and who needs an operation in hospital. He (not the young man pictured above)...

Australia’s Housing Policy Is Failing Its Citizens

Complimenting some recent posts about the housing crisis in AustraliaTry: Praiseworthy Australian COVID Response A Blip In Housing Financialization Focus and Domestic Violence Costs Australia: Social Housing Can Help...

Praiseworthy Australian COVID Response A Blip In National Housing Crisis

A recent study has been released by the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS). It's the work of their Poverty and Inequality...

Affordable Housing For All? Denmark Shows Only Voters Can Make It Happen

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, a fragment of a William Butler Yeats poem, The Second Coming Representative democracies would seem to be...

A Public Housing Home “Satisfactory” To A Tenant: Can It Be Measured/Implemented?

Trending this week: check out the American media (Google helps) and there's one trend that stands out for affordablehousingaction.org (admittedly a tad obsessive about housing and homelessness). That trend...

Putting Deeply Affordable Housing On The UK Agenda

Michael Gove is The United Kingdom's Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. This is a new role for Mr. Gove as well as for the UK...

Hollowed Out City Centres A Platform For New Public Housing?

Is the pandemic-related decline of big city central business districts (CBDs) merely a hiccup in their grand and enduring history? Possibly. But the chance that working from home might...

Ready, Set… Wait! Where’s the Housing Advocate?

Update: On February 4, 2022, Canada announced the appointment of its first Housing Advocate, Marie-Josée Houle. Canada has launched itself on a path to recognize the right to adequate housingCanada's...

Enough Is Enough! NIMBY Threatened By A NZ National Brushback

How long can citizen-power stall a housing crisis? NimbyitesFrom the acronym NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard). have been pushing the envelope for decades. They have been both fervent and...

Appreciating What’s Good About Public Housing — It’s Physical Structure

Reaganism and Thatcherism (a.k.a neoliberalism) touted the theory that small government was essential to free enterprise. Within this mindset, social/public housing was an example of all that was wrong...

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...

Marin California’s Largest Public Housing Project At Risk

Imagine living in a public housing project that is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places! Since public housing is generally vilified in the public press, this seems...

California Challenge: Quickly Build Massive Numbers Of Affordable Homes.

These days, elections in many countries feature political party commitments to build crisis-ending quantities of affordable housing. Somehow, once the dust settles, the promises fade away, or the "affordability"...

How Local Housing Markets Fuel The World Housing Crisis

Dan Darrah, writing in Jacobin, took the recent Canadian election as an opportunity to discuss the growing housing crisis for people with very low and no incomes. Even though...

Domestic Violence Costs Australia: Social Housing Can Help

Equity Economics, a research consultancy that supports the non-profit sector in Australia, has just issued a report that recommends adding 16,800 units to the country's social housing stock. The...

Dublin City Council Flirts With Public Housing For . . . All???

In countries that have been dominated by neoliberal thought for the past few decades, social/public Housing has been (and often still is) viewed as a rental dead end in...

“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...
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