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.

Pandemic Virtual Student Schooling Disrupts Homeless Shelters

This post reports on an unexpected consequence of students forced to work from home — a youth homeless shelter forced to curtail activities due to lack of staff. A little...

Do Those Visibly Homeless Crazies Know Better Than Most Of Us?

Visible homelessness is undeniably on the increase. Failing truly practical solutions, municipalities and regions are engaging in futile pop-up plow-down pop-up plow-down harassment of homeless tenters, excusing the necessity...

Urgently Needed: A Safe Space To Treat Women Who Use Substances And Are Homeless

A charity in Dublin, Ireland has issued a call for a separate space to offer services to women who experience homelessness in that country. The organization, Merchants Quay Ireland...

UK Work Support Can Cut Homeless Costs, Deliver Free Market Housing Security

A UK charity-based work support program Freedom2Work (F2W) has now been tested for five years. With striking success, it has shown it can lift people who experience homelessness off...

Homeless Solution: One Tiny Home Community At A Time

Over the last few years, fascination with tiny homes has grown beyond cutesy love-ins for a lifestyle akin to living in a clothes closet. (And along with our own...

Yakima Provides A Homeless Solution Worthy Of A Global Eyeroll

One short letter to the editor plus a single photograph summarize the sad scope of current homelessness solutions everywhere. The photo, which is in the article below, is the "after"...

Existing Data Illuminates Indigenous Experiences Of Homelessness

Indigenous people make up 0.5% of the Canadian population, yet are a much higher proportion of the people who experience homelessness in Canada. New research uses available public data...

The “Plus Ça Change” Dilemma When Dealing With Homelessness

“We just moved 18 people off the side of the road . . . I don’t think we moved anybody into something that’s better.” This recent statement was made by...

llegitimi Non Carborundum: Advice For A Toronto Homeless Shelter Builder

illegitimi non carborundum is a pretend Latin saying which is famous for meaning, "Don't let the bastards grind you down." It's our advice to a Khaleel Seivwright, Toronto carpenter defying...

Payments To People Who Are Homeless – Cash Well Spent?

More experiments with giving money to people who are experiencing homelessness, this time in CaliforniaTry also: Lump Sum Payments Help People Who Are Homeless To Leave The Streets. The article...

Many Homeless Youth Are Not Just Adventuring. Give Them Shelter

Yup. Some youth are happily homeless, backpacking towards adulthood, one friendly host-with-a-couch at a time. For a great many, however, homelessness is an uninvited nightmare. The young person may have...

Shelter “Option” For Tenters Pressures An Emergency Shelter System That Is Already Full

How many homeless can dance on the head of a pin? This philosophical question about angels suits current homelessness practices in many cities. Bogus public relations spin-the-bottle exercises point...

Is Coordinated Entry To Homelessness Services Possible?

Mary Kate Bacalao is the Director of External Affairs and Policy at Compass Family Services, an agency that supports families experiencing homelessness. In Shelterforce, she speaks about difficulties in...

Where Does A Hospital Discharge You To When You’re Homeless?

The international gospel for ending homelessness is a program known as Housing First. It has demonstrated itself to be so successful that many jurisdictions have tied their funding grants...

Sacramento’s Clever Plan To Control Homeless Tent Camps: Own Them

One unexpected benefit that all-too-briefly appeared during the COVID pandemic was the level of concern from national governments down to local ones for the plight of people who experience...

When Governments Sanction Theft From Their Homeless Citizens

It should be pointed out from the start that ownership of worthless, or near worthless "things" is not an exclusive preserve of the homeless. Anyone who has experienced selling...

Toronto Tries To Dignify Kicking Homeless Ass And Taking Names

Nothing but tatters remain of whatever modest humanitarian reputation Toronto has earned so far in its treatment of the homeless during the COVID pandemic. The cause: recent police-led California-style...

In-Shelter Lawyer Puts Homeless Legal Help Where It’s Most Needed

One80 Place is a shelter for people who experience homelessness in Charleston, South Carolina. Unusually for a shelter, it offers on-site legal services. A full time lawyer and paralegal...

Missoula, Montana Is Making Permanent A Mobile Mental Health Response Pilot

Roughly one in three people who are chronically homelessChronic homelessness means homelessness lasting for a long time (typically six months) or multiple episodes of homelessness over an extended period...

Sacramento Flirts With Notion Of “Mandated” Housing For Homeless

The film Field of Dreams featured a famous prediction: "If you build it, they will come," referring to an unlikely baseball stadium in a rural American cornfield. The Mayor of...

“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...

Can Lackadaisical California Fix Homelessness Without New Housing?

Why is California's lackadaisical approach to homelessness worth a worry to other jurisdictions as well as its own? Many other cities in North American and elsewhere have bumbled into the...

Canadian Initiatives To End Youth Homelessness Earn UN Recognition

The United Nations Economic Commission For Europe (UNECE) has just recognized the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness as a Centre of Excellence on Youth HomelessnessBoth Canada and the United States...

Violence and Home

The stay at home orders, which were a key strategy to managing COVID 19, drew widespread attention to the violence that occurs at home. This post discusses who is...

Kansas City Flops A Flap — Urgent Clearing of A Homeless Tent “City”

Is there an important lesson for all to be learned from precipitously "evicting" a homeless encampment? For Kansas City Council, together with its citizenry, it might be: slightly more...

Toronto Filmmaker Captures Homelessness As Lives Lived

When filmmaker and Photographer Jason Cipparrone encountered his city's poverty in a long lineup at Toronto food bank, it was a new experience for him. Cipparrone was struck by...

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...

Hats Off For Medicine Hat, Canada

Medicine Hat is the first community in Canada to officially end chronic homelessness. The city is part of Built For Zero Canada, a national initiative to end homelessness. Asked...

Homelessness: What Is Functional Zero, And Why Does It Matter?

The idea of getting homelessness down to zero might seem like an impossibility, but communities across Canada and the U.S. are working away at it. In fact, Medicine Hat,...

London Ontario: Looking A City Homeless Gift Horse In The Mouth

As hopes rise in countries where the pandemic may be on the wane, the homeless situation has not disappeared. Indeed, the threat of foreclosure on delinquent mortgages and well...

Homeless And Invisible: The Overlooked And Under-Assisted Couch Surfer

Why have we written this post? Almost always we attempt to explain why, some of us doing so in a way that is precise and to the point, others a...

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...

Cost Benefit To Permanent Supportive Housing? U.S. Research Weighs In

Here are two studies from the U.S. that discuss the merits of permanent supported housing for people who have prolonged experience of homelessnessBoth reports came to our attention via...

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...

The Right Chess Moves Took A Young Boy And His Family Out Of Homelessness

A 10 year old boy in the U.S. isn’t homeless any longer. His remarkable skill at chess has turned his family’s fortunes around and allowed them to leave a...

T.O. Encampment Sweep: No Home, No Money. All That’s Left Is Love

Given the impending evictions worldwide, the number of people experiencing homelessness may well get far worse before it gets better. Looking on the bright side (a bit of a...

Recognize Family Homelessness: Systemic, Endemic, And Self-Perpetuating

So, some individual or family is stuck living on the streets, couch surfing, or making the best of dormitory life in a shelter. What more is there to understand,...

Philadelphia: Beating The Bushes To Find Landlords Pays Off

After hundreds of calls to landlords, Philadelphia's Office of Homeless Services has been able to put together a housing program to assist people who are homeless to leave the...

Tent Camps: Vancouver City Councillor On Draining Wallpaper Bubble

Vancouver, B.C., one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in, might be expected to have a chronic homelessness problem. And it does. Its visible manifestations...

Body Count: Utah Finds Ways To Not Solve Homelessness

Utah's recent 63 million-dollar homeless "resource center" investment doesn't really put a dent in its visible homeless. Some of the reasons why are instructive for everyone. The Salt Lake City...

Building Kinship To End Homelessness: Connecting Through Experience

This post is part of a series about ways that people provide support to those who experience homelessness. The idea that "we treat everyone as kin" resonates through the...

Halfway Houslets For Homeless: A Mashup of Housing First + Support First?

A recent article from London, Ontario expresses a problem made more acute in the pandemic. That city is home to a successful program based on getting housed immediately (Housing...

“Lived Experience” Vital To Solutions To Homelessness. Just Ask.

The COVID-19 pandemic provides some unexpected examples of the importance of "lived experience" to the practical knowledge that legislators need to craft focused, practical, compassionate rules and legislation to...

Truly Affordable Housing As Essential COVID Worker Reward?

Year two of a coronavirus pandemic. The hollow metallic sound of periodic pot banging no longer echos through Toronto city streets. We're apparently not so proud of ourselves any...

Built For Zero In London, Ontario Meets Temporary COVID Housing

London, Ontario is one of the first communities to join Built For Zero Canada, a campaign that aims to end chronic and veteran homelessness. Built For Zero follows a prescribed set...

A Kansas City Prescription For Rough Sleeper Disease

A useful article in the Kansas City Star explains with insight and compassion why the simple act of putting a chronic rough sleeper into their own home may well...

Homeless Tent Camps Unsanitary? Humans Have To Go Somewhere.

Compassionate responses to growing homelessness crises can be frustrating. The responders may be people experiencing homelessness themselves, or activists, or local government. The recipients of the responses may be...

Homelessness & Emerging Techno-Sin: The Techno-Devil Made Me Do It

Dispensation is apparently no longer available in a world where technology is the new religion. In Ontario, Canada very recently, the techno-priesthood was half querulous, half scolding as it lowered...

San Diego Works To Develop A Homeless “Bill of Rights”

Bill of Rights? Well, San Diego's mayor is actually calling this by a far more mundane phrase: policy changes. But reading down the list, many or most of which have...

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...

Canadian Arctic Housing: Cozy On The Outside. Now Have A Look Inside

In the fall of 2020, Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, the Member of Parliament for Canada's far north, visited eight communities. Her purpose: to see the housing conditions of her constituents.For an...

UK Gets Personal To House And Treat People With Addictions/Other Health Issues

Who knows best about suitable treatments for someone with addiction and/or health issues? Why, the individual with the problems, of course! Well, maybe that person doesn't exactly know BEST, otherwise...

Australia Human Right to Housing: A Practical Step Forward? Or Lipstick On A Pig?

If to no one else in the world, Australia's struggle with the notion of a Human Right To Housing should be of interest to Americans. Alas, the well-housed authors...

Yes, We Know You’re Homeless. But It’s The End Of The Line. Everybody Out!

Ever ride a transit system and wonder where that homeless person dozing a few seats away will spend the night? Not in that seat, you'd probably predict with some...

Hotels As Transitional Housing: Pandemic America Explores Its Medium & Long Term Future

Hotels and motels have always been dear to the emergency management heart. While some communities have other opportunities nearby (e.g. underused military barracks, student housing out of term-time), the...

U.K. Olympian Cyclist Raises Money For Transitional Tiny Village

How do tiny homes fit into a country's affordable housing scheme? The attraction of tiny homes is undeniable to certain kinds of imagination, impractical as they might seem to...

Preventing Future Homelessness: A Door Opens For Youth To Attend School

Family Promise of Clark County, Washington has teamed up with local schools to operate a learning centre for children and youth who are experiencing homelessness. The learning centre provides...

We Had To Go To The Aussie Outback To Learn About Courses For Rental Tenants

Well, we didn't actually go, there, but we found a story published in Australia that turned out to be exactly to the point. As free market renters, it never actually...

Iowa: The Darkness Underlying a Charming Girl Scout Cookie Sale Story

How wonderfully Middle America! Iowa Girl Scouts bust a record for cookie sales! Impossible not to smile after reading about it. Almost, but not quite impossible. Hidden beneath this good...

Homeless Numbers? Fool Me Once – Worldwide. Plenty of Shame To Go Around

Remember that clever saying? "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." How does this apply to governments with resident experts, contract experts, and the funds...

Line Up Here – Giving Preference To Access Supportive Housing

Lineups to get into stores have become a fact of life with COVID restrictions. Our local grocery store gives preference to front line workers. All they need to do...

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...

Ending Homelessness: Learning By Doing

Rosanne Haggerty first came on my radar in 1991, when the Times Square Hotel re-opened in New York City. Haggerty, who founded the non-profit Common Ground, knitted together sufficient...

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...

WA State Exasperated By City Council Compassion For Homeless Encampment

WA? That would NOT be Washington State (USA), but Western Australia State (nation name redundant). That august body was recently in the news for its tone-deaf response to people...

UK COVID Homeless Miscount. A Convenient Funding Dodge?

During the fall of 2019, people across England hit the streets to count the number of people who were homeless. The results were announced in November: 4,266 people. At...

Green New Deal For Housing Part 5: Indigenous Approaches

This is the final post covering the Tyee's five part series about a green new deal for housing. The Tyee is based in Vancouver, where high prices are making...

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

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

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

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

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

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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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...

Overlooked: Women’s Homelessness And Housing Need

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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?

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.

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

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

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

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,...
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