Homelessness

Homelessness includes everything from rough sleeping, rural and urban, through semi-permanent and emergency shelters to couch-surfing and living with no fixed address.

The Shift: Committing To Housing As Shelter For All, Not Investment Opportunity

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Leilani Farha may no longer be the UN's Special Rapporteur on Housing,To check out the Special Rapporteur's mandate, see the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights: Special...

First Voice Advocates Speak Up For Housing

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Many people in Canada have experience of being homeless.It's an experience that is gradually being honoured, rather than vilified. Try: Between A Rock And A Hard Place: Remembering People...

New Supportive Housing Project In Seattle For Native Americans

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Construction is underway in Seattle on an 80-unit housing project planned to help people leave homelessness. It is designed specifically for Native Americans and Alaska Natives. They are over-represented...

Youth Homelessness Part 3: Switching Gears

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This post is the final one in a three part series of resources to plan for a COVID recovery that includes ending homelessness for young people and preventing it...

Youth Homelessness Part 2: Ask The Experts

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This post is the second of a three part series of resources to plan for a COVID recovery that includes ending homelessness for young people.For the first article in...

Youth Homelessness Part 1: Where Are They?

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This is the first of three posts about young people are who are experiencing homelessness. Each one highlights resources for planners and front line workers to use. The second...

The Consequences Of Stepping Off The Road To Health Equity

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Sir Michael Marmot doesn't mince words. As head of the Institute of Health Equity, he is critical of the United Kingdom government's COVID 19 response. His objections are based...

A Handbook On Housing First From Finland

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Finland is the only country where the number of people who are homeless is going down. The success has drawn a lot of international attention. Y-Foundation, a housing provider,...

Staying Permanently Housed in The UK: A Homeless Do-It-Yourself Version

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The globally respected and successful Housing First program to help end homelessness could only be partially implemented in the UK's hurried Everybody In initiative over a period of two...

Along The Path From Homelessness For People With Pets

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You might think that housed people who have pets would empathize with pet owners who are homeless. The health benefits of owning a pets, including daily exercise and companionship,...

Between A Rock And A Hard Place: Remembering People Who Are Homeless

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There is new memorial in Kitchener, Ontario. It's not for a statesman or a celebrity. It's to remember and honour people who experience homelessness. At the dedication ceremony, one...

Wanted: Canada’s First Official Housing Advocate

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Recruitment for Canada's first Housing Advocate is underway. The deadline for applications is December 31, 2020. The Housing Advocate's position was created as part of Canada's commitment to make housing...

Breaking The Link Between Incarceration And Homelessness In Australia

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Toward the end of the 20th century, when people experiencing homelessness became more visible, the programs to help them leave the streets quickly became overwhelmed. People asked, "where did...

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...

Ranking By Numbers Gets In The Way Of Homelessness Services

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A preoccupation with numbers may be getting in the way of helping people to leave homelessness. This insight comes from a report that focusses on making homelessness services more...

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...

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...

Rough Sleepers Just The Tip of Australia’s Homelessness Problem

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A recent report for the Australian Homeless Monitor attempts to find a prescription for future action by making sense of Australia's homelessness problem as it has evolved over the...

Advocates Recommend Toronto Addresses For New Social Housing

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Before COVID-19, the City of Toronto was in the midst of an effort to add to the supply of housing that would help people to leave homelessness. Since COVID-19...

Working Together To End Homelessness

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In Ontario, many agencies, governments and funders work to help people leave homelessness. They need to be able to work closely together to provide an effective and seamless service....

New And Deadly Activist Now Calling For Homelessness Action: Winter

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Worldwide, prompt government pandemic action has swept people experiencing homelessness into shelter. The effectiveness of these actions has been greeted with both praise, but also surprise. After years of...

Lump Sum Payments Help People Who Are Homeless To Leave The Streets

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Here is news of a promising study from the University of British Columbia about New Leaf, a program that distributes lump sum cash payments to people who are homeless. The...

Ending Homelessness: Vancouver & Philadelphia Explore Different Paths

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Somebody must be making potfuls of money in Vancouver, B.C. Why else is it second only to Hong Kong as the most unaffordable city in the world? Such a shame...

Be Ready For COVID: Useful Advice From A Hard-Struck Indigenous Community

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Roughly 2% of the Canadian population has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus to date. But in La Loche, Saskatchewan, an outbreak attacked more than 7% of the village,...

Canada’s Federal Government Commits To Ending Homelessness

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Canada's most recent Speech From the Throne states, "the Government is now focused on entirely eliminating chronic homelessness in Canada." Governments in many countries acted during the early phases of...

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...

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...

COVID-19: Not Everyone Loves Hotel Rooms, Not Even The Homeless. But Some Do.

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In Western Australia, officials reacted with dismay and annoyance when a number of people who were experiencing homelessness "looked the hotel room gift horse in the mouth" and abandoned...

Helping Homeless Shelters To Welcome Pets And Their Owners

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Streetvet, a cadre of volunteers in England, offers veterinary services to over 1,000 pets that belong to people who are homeless. During the COVID-19 lockdown, local councils offered emergency...

Preventing Homelessness Among Young People: The Employment Factor

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Witnessing young people experiencing homelessness in Vancouver led to the creation of Zero Ceiling, which is based in Whistler, British Columbia. Zero Ceiling’s programs to support homeless youth have...

Homeless Numbers Shrinking? No Consolation For The Unfortunately Unhoused

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A recent article in Huffpost draws attention to a common yet frightening administrative technique for declaring a 'social success' when exactly the opposite is happening. Or, just as commonly,...

Students Pitch In To Build Housing For People Who Are Homeless

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

Homeless To Housing: Housing First. And Second? There’s A Big Time Second!

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'Housing First' is a world-respected program designed to rescue individuals from homelessness. It has been very successful. Indeed, its success has been communicated to city councils everywhere to the...

Health Services In US Supported To Use Housing First Treatment

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

Updated – Indigenous And Homeless? 12 Reasons Why Affordable Housing Alone Is Not Enough

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Jesse Thistle describes the evolution of the Indigenous definition of homelessness and shares some of his own experience in this video conversation with Jayne Malenfant and Stephen Gaetz. Jayne...

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

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

Wonder Why Rehousing The Homeless Needs Support? A Dog Explains It

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If you think about people who experience homelessness at all, do you wonder why it seems so difficult to simply insert a certain number of street people into the...

COVID-19: Public Support To A Special Group Of University Students

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Young people who are wards of the state achieve instant adulthood when they reach the age of majority and "age out of care".Here's a US based post on this...

Can Floods Of Lawsuits Prevent Homeless Camp Bulldozing?

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Casual notice of commentary on legal matters leads most Canadians to believe that the slightest American disagreements inevitably result in lawsuits, compared to our more occasional, sober and civilized(?)...

Protocol Breach Undermines Support To Families Experiencing Homelessness

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Imagine leaving all your local contacts behind and not having any idea of how to find help in your new community. In England, local councils have a duty to assist...

Everyone In? Not Really.

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England's Everyone In program drew a lot of attention. On Mar 27, 2020, the national government gave local Councils 48 hours to find housing for everyone who was sleeping...

Survivors Of Domestic Violence Win The First Battle In Their Fight To Stay Local

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A group of mothers fleeing domestic violence took the council in Lambeth, England, to court. The issue? The moms’ right to be on a waiting list for social housing...

Einstein’s Definition of Insanity: ‘Sweeping Away’ Homeless Again And Again

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Ontario Provincial Premier Doug Ford says, "You just can't pitch a tent in a public park." Of course you can.For more: Doug Ford Says Homeless People Should Stop Pitching...

A COVID-19 Recovery Plan To End Homelessness

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

Supports To Students Experiencing Homelessness: A Tale Of Uneven Access

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In 1987, thanks to the McKinney-Vento Act, US high school students who experienced homelessness began to receive supports to continue with their schooling. Over time, the definition of homelessness...

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

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

Homeless Services For Indigenous People In Canada Get A Boost

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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...

Canada’s National Inquiry Of Missing And Murdered Indigenous Women

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The reports linked at the end of this post document the work of the national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women and girls in Canada. They are based...

Preventing Homelessness Takes More Than Imagination

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In the article linked below, researchers in Wales report about how strategies to prevent homelessness can be undermined, rendering them imaginary. Iolo Madoc-Jones and colleagues wanted to investigate the effects...

Women Set Up Tent Community For Evicted Neighbours

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A recent article reports on the actions of one woman in Oakland California who decided she had a moral duty to both her community and her neighbours who had...

Oh, No! Not Another California Homeless Story. . . But It Is A Great One!

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Great? We wish we could mean 'great' in some kind of 'light at the end of the tunnel' way. But we can't. Instead we're talking about a comprehensive article...

U. S. Housing’s Ben Carson, Maestro Of Medical Metaphor, Attacks California

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Thanks to a FOXBusiness report, the world is aware that Secretary Ben Carson of HUDHUD — the US Department of Housing and Urban Development has recently 'called out' the...

Why Individual Woes Can Muddy Affordable Housing Imperatives

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On one hand: CBS's Anderson Cooper does a so-called 'progressive' take on Seattle's homelessness crisis. "Rent Is Obscene Here": The Issues Forcing People In Seattle Onto The Street And on...

Housing: Asset Or Necessity? Disobedience May Define It, Along With The Future of Capitalism

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Two homeless mothers together with children have occupied an empty house in Oakland, California. Currently, there is more housing held empty by investors speculating in Oakland than there are...

Greensboro NC Describes The Real Roots Of Homelessness — Yet Again

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Einstein gets the nod for a popular definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results. On the other hand, some aboriginal traditions suggest that...

Is An April Fool’s Joke A Warning Of Micro-House Reality?

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A Ketchum, Idaho April Fool's Joke this past April 1, 2019 saw a number of local dumpsters dressed up overnight as tiny homes, making a pointed statement about the...

Kudos To Chicago’s Striking Teachers. They Broke The Law To Kick Social Ass

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Chicago teachers settled their recent strike in part by ignoring their legal requirement to bargain only for wages and hours and other strictly technical issues related to their employment...

Persistence, Not Perfection, Plucks Homeless From Atlanta Streets

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For Atlanta, Georgia's homeless population, persistence has paid off. The city lays no claim to a magic formula for getting people out of the streets and into homes. Other...

Survey: Parking Your Shelter Overnight On The U.S. West Coast

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When a car is your shelter, parking is critical. It has become a particular problem on the US west coast, where the high cost of housing is forcing more...

Three Takes On California’s Housing Crisis: Part 2

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Part two of a three part series on California's housing crisis published in the California Globe moves to Los Angeles to take a personal look at those most affected by the housing crisis — the homeless.

Permanently Temporary: Sure Sign That Homelessness Solutions Are Becoming Part Of The Problem

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Cities in more advanced countries have made do for decades with handfuls of emergency shelters for the homeless, their number expanding in the winters of harsher climates. In many...

Researchers Issue A Challenge To Make ‘Housing First’ Work Better

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Have you wondered how people who are homeless leave the streets and move to housing? How does Housing First, a program proven to help people who are homeless move...

Chicago Unaffordable But Union Must Talk Only Wages & Benefits. Teachers Disagree

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Only a month or so away from the 100th anniversary of the journal edition pictured above, it's worth scanning the column of articles featured within it. The final one?...

Indigenous Housing Providers: A Source Of Strength For Affordable Housing

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The Canadian Housing and Renewal Association (CHRA) has just released a report about non-profit affordable housing that is provided and operated by indigenous organizations. The housing is spread across...

Lindsay, Ontario’s ‘Housing First’ Building Of Doom

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Housing First is a program that supports people who are homeless to move into housing.For more on Housing First, see What Is Housing First? Why Is It So Popular?...

In Vancouver B.C. Affordable Housing Can Be A Doggone Shame In Every Sense

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A lot of people find emotional security from 'their special baby'. We're talking about the furry kind here, cats and dogs mostly, but not exclusively. They are important enough that...

Kids Desperately Need A Housing Insecurity Blanket

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The most vulnerable citizens are those who receive no pay through lack of available work, or unable to work at all. Only slightly more secure are those who support...

Homeless While Working: A Growing Urban Tragedy In Advanced Societies

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A widespread misconception about the nature of homelessness needs urgent correction. It is an understandable, and unfortunately highly convenient, misconception. It puts the focus on a small handful of...

Winnipeg Improves On “Housing First”

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Researchers at the University of Winnipeg's Institute for Urban Studies (IUS) have just completed a report about providing Housing First services to indigenous people experiencing homelessness. The report firmly supports...

Homes Can’t Fix Homelessness. Maybe Not . . . On Some Other Planet

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An articulate, well reasoned, polite letter to the editor of Oregon Live neatly sums up the depths of wrong-headed, misinformed thinking about why the homeless need affordable housing. The reasoning is...

NIMBYite Baby Boomers Go Out With A Bang, Not A Whimper

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"Affordable Housing? How quaint. Of course. Only take it somewhere else. Otherwise I personally guarantee to shove your XXXX up your YYYY until you bleed buckets and scream for...

California Homelessness: ‘Housing First’ Masks A Greater Problem

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Housing First is a much respected world wide housing program. It has been so successful in helping individuals who are chronically homeless to leave the streets that its approach...

Nevada Homeless: Sin Tax Money Buys Housing, Not Necessarily Homes

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The annual report of the NLIHC (National Low Income Housing Coalition) places Nevada in the thick of America's housing crisis for low income workers and families. In 99% of...

UK Supreme Court Rules On ‘Intentional Homelessness’

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In 2011, Terryann Samuels, a mother of four in England, was faced with a difficult decision. She could 'top up' her public rent assistance with £150 of her basic...

Just In Time For Canada Day

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Very happy to report that Canadians now do enjoy a human right to adequate housing. The campaign, which affordablehousingaction.org has been faithfully covering, ended when the National Housing Strategy Act received Royal assent.

Housing First, Helsinki Style

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The Guardian has just published a story about Finland’s remarkable success in lowering the number of people who are homeless in the capital Helsinki. We’ve covered stories about Finland’s success...

Footsteps Towards Canadians’ Right To Adequate Housing

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Canadians do not currently enjoy a human right to adequate housing, but there’s been a concerted effort over the last year to change that.See these earlier posts on the...

Hospitals Still Spending Millions Treating People Who Are Homeless

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In 2006, Malcolm Gladwell penned the story of Million Dollar Murray, a veteran who found home in the streets of Reno, Nevada. He also spent a good deal of...

Finding The Path To End Indigenous Homelessness

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How can we support people who are homeless to leave the streets and move to permanent housing? The link below leads to a Canadian research study that tackled this...

Many Youth Who Leave Foster Care Become Homeless. What To Do?

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Young people approaching the age of majority are in a time of transition: finishing high school, starting post-secondary education, or employment, leaving home. Young people aging out of foster care...

‘Housing First’ Programs To End Homelessness Are Challenged By Boom Economies

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Rapid housing and client choice are two of the hallmarks of Housing First programs. For an introduction to Housing First, try: What Is Housing First? Why Is It So...

New California Candidate For State Song: Home, Home On The Streets . . .

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What happens when a country binds itself with an aspirational constitution and many of the founding fathers are land and housing speculators? One might expect that basic individual freedoms and...

Canada Squeezes Human Right To Housing Into Omnibus Budget Bill

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Canada would seem to share an enthusiasm with its more populous neighbour to the south: cramming all kinds of goodies and baddies into omnibus bills. You might think that acknowledging...

Homeless And School Association: Wisconsin’s New Normal?

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Faced with low wages and unaffordable housing, people become homeless. Some have children. School districts find themselves struggling to accommodate students who are homeless. It's a predictable problem, and...

Ending Homelessness: Is There Something We’re Missing?

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In Seattle, a project that began with such hope is winding down. Tiny homes were assembled on a site and made available to people who were homeless. The lucky...

Lack Of Affordable Housing Constrains Housing First Programs

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In our media scans, we see calls for more affordable housing daily. As new groups of people with affordability issues come to light (firefighters, health workers and teachers, for...

Housing Strategies That Assist Young People To Exit Homelessness

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Students at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia teamed up to prepare a report that should help young people to leave homelessness. The students identify six different sets of experiences...

UK Rough Sleepers: Does the Government Have A Clue How Many?

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A great many people believe that homelessness is characterized by the "street people" and "rough sleepers" who are encountered on occasional downtown trips. This is not the full scope...

Compassion Vs. Institutionalization: Janesville Considers The ‘When A Car Is Your Home’ Issue

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Signs of the times: No overnight parking. Violators will be Towed. (Or more likely, harassed by security guards or police and forced to move on.) Lawyers argue that parking lots need...

Homelessness: Not Only A Bigger Problem Than You Think, But Bigger Than Homeless Themselves Think

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A reasonably well dressed person walks purposefully past you on the street. Are they homeless? Why on earth would you think so? They aren't huddled in a doorway under a...

What’s In A Name? Solutions To Housing Crisis Turn On Use, And Misuse, Of Words

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Words can be misused cynically, or simply by ignorance. During a local, regional or even national housing crisis, misuse of words can lead to both public and political confusion....

Down And Out In Delaware: Some Hard Facts

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Like the meaning of 'affordable' housing, the meaning of 'homelessness' is frequently parsed or twisted by special interests (or by the ignorant) who wish to push one agenda or...

Homelessness: Ireland Tries ‘Health First’ When ‘Housing First’ Is Not An Option

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Housing First, a widely promoted approach to ending homelessness, is based on the idea that people who are homeless cannot properly focus on sorting out their often complex lives...

L.A. Explores ‘Boarding School’ For Entire Homeless Families

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The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is considering a profoundly generous and undoubtedly controversial way of fulfilling its mandate to provide education for all children and youth, regardless...

From Vancouver, BC: Housing Unaffordablity From A Human Rights Perspective

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In North America, the bragging rights for "Most Disgustingly Expensive Big City to Live in" are hotly contested. A perennial frontrunner in the competition is Canada's Vancouver, long a...

Canadian Campaign To Make Housing A Human Right

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Canada's national government issued a National Housing Strategy in 2017. The strategy is founded on a commitment to housing as a human right and Canada's obligations as a signatory...

Los Angeles Leans On Trustworthy Non-Profits To House The Homeless

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So why would a landlord ever want to rent a market rate apartment to a homeless person? It's exactly what you thought. They don't. Small and large studies in America show...

Homeless In the UK? Join 170 Year-Long Wait List For Social Housing

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Two UK articles in the Guardian neatly bookend the depths of an affordable crisis that is far more than the national concern of a single country. First, the Guardian quotes Shelter,...

Finding Ho-Hum: Good News Stories And Affordable Progress Vs. NIMBY Nastiness

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NIMBY almost inevitably marred a recent heart-warming Toronto tale of a single family's selfless gift to homeless women. A family purchased a mansion-sized house on a five lane commuter corridor...
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