Myths About Homelessness

Countering misconceptions of the experience of homelessness

Hot Air: Two Kinds Of Deadly Poison Killing The Most Vulnerable Unhoused

In a recent publication, The Harvard Political Review details two forms pernicious ill-health that is killing increasing numbers of global citizens including Americans. Climate change is one. The other...

How Homelessness Squeezes Life Out Of You

Reading the article attached to this post might put you in mind of banging your head against a brick wall. The article is about a project to calculate mortality rates...

Unhoused? Why Shiver When Warm Emergency Shelters Await You?

City councils bring their own values and concerns to their decision-making. When it comes to the homeless, do those values, well-meaning or no, tend to mirror the opinions of...

Fresno’s Unhoused Saved(?) From Toxic Slop Twixt Cup And Lip

Unhoused people are using the margins of California's waterways for temporary accommodation. Those familiar with historic settlement and land use patterns in North America will appreciate the use of...

When Paving Paradise Means Putting Up A Parking Lot, It’s Not Easy

"They paved paradise and put up a parking lot . . ." Joanie Mitchell's famous words featured 'paradise' destroyed by car culture. Times have changed, and parking lots have earned...

Blink & You Probably Missed It: A U.S. Mega-Shelter

Yes, it gets cold in the Mile-High-City, Denver Colorado. And yes, in Denver, like many American cities, the number of people who have no home is growing. It's not...

Video Animated Field Notes For National (Continental?) Unhoused

Here are some images, with accompanying comments, taken during an encampment demolition in Halifax. The next steps, rendered inevitably off-camera, reflect the displacement of former encampment residents towards literally...

Are You Housing-Vulnerable? Who Decides, With What Consequence?

Here's something that may come as a shock to supporters of a universal human right to adequate housing. In a certain large American city, when it comes to to...

Annual Count: How Many Unhoused? Who’s At ‘Home’? Who’s Just Visiting?

Homelessness counts are an increasingly commonplace means by which cities and nations attempt to determine the costs to handling growing numbers of people who pursuing a precarious existence on...

Irrational Fears About Homeless Werewolves That Prowl A Nation’s Streets

The unhoused! Would you be more accepting of them if they weren't so horrible? But then, perhaps you should pat yourself on the back. You are already cool, calm...

Aging? Be Afraid! Your Day Of Financial Reckoning Has Been Miscalculated

In a world of self-reliance, the Baby Boom (postwar) generation is aging out self-care. The future has arrived. Your retirement planning, if it even exists, was locked in during an...

Homelessness: Nothing To Fear Except Poor Leaders?

Modern Western countries are slipping rapidly towards a housing crisis unmatched since the Great Depression in the 1930's. How might we take heart from this circumstance, particularly those less...

Munching Cheez-Its: Tent Encampment Sweeps As A Spectator Sport

54-year-old Tracy Bennett's story plays out from the other side of the road in San Diego, courtesy of a Tucson Sentinel article. Tracy munches Cheez-Its with a couple of...

NIMBY? Lower Sackville Nova Scotia Neighbours Promote Pure YIMBY Towards The Homeless

An event is taking place in Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia, which is quite extraordinary in North America. That community is largely one of single family homes — a suburb...

United Kingdom Drug Fiends Rave In Lifestyle Tents: Real Homes Are For Sissies!

Some believe that tents are a last resort for those trying to survive inclement weather in the flimsiest possible form of shelter from the elements — all they can...

Portugues Ocupas: Haven’t Got Squat? Squat Is What You Get

Portugal is undergoing an exercise familiar to Americans who followed recent events by West Coast activists: illegal(?) squatting in unoccupied housing. That story focused on the actions of moms...

Complexities In Data Collection – Small Choices With Big Effects

The National Alliance to End Homelessness (The Alliance) is thinking about the data it collects about homelessness in the United States. The Alliance's data feeds into annual reports to...

Updated – Architects Design Buildings To Welcome People Shunned By Society

In July this year, we published a story about trauma informed architecture. Now we have another. Why so soon? This time, there is another linked article that adds new information...

How Long Before Persistent, Growing Homelessness Demands A Final Solution?

When your country needs housing, it is both conventional as well as common to build houses for people who need them. A substantial number of the world's countries are...

Are American Schools Really Trying To Educate Children Who Are Homeless?

According to a US report from the Center For Public Integrity, "The federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, which protects the educational rights of homeless students, requires schools to identify and...

Questioning The Strategy Of Closing Shelters To End Homelessness

Affordablehousingaction.org clings to an underlying notion that financialization, no matter how honourable the motives that can be assigned to those who practice it, nonetheless impacts a country's population with...

Local Homelessness Is A National Problem. Making Civic Duty A Crime Is No Answer

Of late, affordablehousingaction.org has been making the case that homelessness merely lives in communities. It is born, however, as a national disease that infects entire nations in all its...

Unhoused? Welcome To The Lemming-Land Of California.

With nearly a third of America's homeless crowded into the state, California's major league homeless problems are more likely to receive experimentation than any other region on the continent....

NYC Mayor’s Message To The Unhoused: Don’t Come Here, We’re Full up.

A combination of events makes New York City an excellent example of why every mayor and council of every town and city in every world democracy should think seriously...

Yes, Homeless People CAN Use A Helping Paw Or Four

What possible use is a dog when you're penniless without a roof over your head? It hints of a self-inflicted wound when a homeless person has been turned away...

Priorities For Women Experiencing Homelessness In Los Angeles County

The majority of women who experience homelessness in Los Angeles County have experienced violence during their current episode of homelessness. And one third of women experiencing homelessness in Los...

‘Homeless’ . . . Bad? ‘Unhoused’ . . . Good? What’s In A Name? More Than You Might Think

At affordablehousingaction.org we consider The Guardian one of the world's great papers, with well-written world-wide in-depth stories about social housing and homelessness. When The Guardian picks up a story, we...

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...

Can’t Do The Time? Then Don’t Do The Crime – Really Bad Advice And Treatment For The Homeless

Affordablehousingaction.org recently highlighted two articles about homeless outreach teams operated by local governments in North America. One was based on a research from the United States, which found that...

Police Are Trained To Get Stuff Done. Should That Include Finding Housing For Homeless People?

Housing ultimately solves homelessness. Outreach doesn't. Particularly when the outreach is accidentally or deliberately punitive. Next City has published an article that explores cities where the official intention is...

Does Regina, Saskatchewan Need A Shit-In? No, There’s No Misspelling In This Headline

Affordable housing activists everywhere are faced with an exasperating truth: only they, as well as people experiencing homelessness, understand that harassment solves no problems. Predictable cause and effect works...

UK Outdoor Homeless Won’t Be Missing Because Their Shelter Promise Will Be Missed

So, are government politicians and bureaucrats invariably duplicitous (as in: I say this all the time but I never really mean it)? Or is government work a wonderful career opportunity...

Technology Stirs The Homeless/Child Welfare Soup Pot. Too Bad It’s Just Full of Water

Four researchers from Trent University in Peterborough Ontario, kick off a report on the benefits of technology with a warning published a century ago. Even that far back, some...

Western University Experiments With In-Shelter Medical Team For Homeless People

This post is about medical residentsResidents are fully qualified doctors who are completing post-graduate training. in Windsor, Ontario, who are rotating through a one month posting to a clinic...

Chariots Of The VanLords: New Gods Happy To Take The Homeless For A Ride In LA

You have to hand it to capitalists! They are indeed the gods of profit, and can find the narrowest niche market in which to make a few bucks. But...

“Those Advocates Who Say . . .” Can Distort The Meaning of Homelessness

"Advocates say. . . " Are those unnamed advocates real or imaginary? Advocates of the facts? Or advocates of "alternative facts?" Pursuing a viewpoint, or running away from one? A...

When Homelessness In Toronto Had A Gentler, Lighter Side

Olivier M. reports that Toronto had a golden age of homelessness, from 2009 to 2013. He speaks from personal experience. In the golden age, he could find a bed in...

Get A Job, Ya Bum! But An Entire Industry Has Jobs. It’s Not Enough To Prevent Homelessness

The ultimate small-c, lift-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps conservative has a supposedly bullet-proof sneer at those unfortunates sleeping on the sidewalk. "Don't ask me to solve their problems if they don't have jobs." But...

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass Tells A Whopper. It Helps Price The Cost of Solving Homelessness

The whopper: 1.3 billion dollars. Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass appears to be committed to telling homelessness like it is. For example, in a recent speech aimed partly at the...

Can’t Run The Homeless Out Of Town? Why Not Go After Their Enablers?

As the bloom comes off the COVID 'Everybody In!' rose, a nation's most vulnerable have largely returned from their moments of motel and hotel room pandemic safety to life...

Peering Into Rural Homelessness

During its short life, affordablehousingaction.org has published 2,700 posts. The purpose of reporting this is not to puff out our chests, but to highlight a gap in our content....

Asleep Near My Doorstep? The Matter Has Long Been Settled. Your Need For Slumber Is A Crime

The COVID pandemic resulted in a profound change — temporarily at least — in the way that homeless citizens were treated world-wide. Was it because communities were overwhelmed by...

In Praise of Once-Canvas Slums. Consider Modern Ripstop, Health And Safety Incl.

Around the world, tent encampments have been a sensible, practical alternative to more permanent housing when none other is available. Search Wikimedia Commons for 'tents' to reveal some of...

Prying Open The Doors To Housing For Gender-Diverse People

The Women's National Housing and Homelessness Network (WNHHN) is drawing attention to the issue of how gender-diverse peopleThe research discussed in this post uses the term “gender-diverse” as a...

The Homeless Who Don’t Quite Notice They’ve ‘Sold Their Souls To The Devil’

There are some awfully ugly human behaviours out there in the real world. There are also bad habits that foolhardy local councils of one stripe of another can stumble...

Counting The Homeless: A Shell Game Badly Short Of Visible Peas?

First there were the fingers. That got society counting all the way to ten. At which point counting-persons, with breathtaking audacity, added in the toes. Actually, this analogy for the...

Positioning Emergency Shelters To Give The Best Possible Support To Their Clients

Very few of us have the chance to work at an emergency shelter. If we did, we'd have a much better idea of what it is like to work...

Homeless Point In Time Counts: Flawed, Know-It All Nonsense?

An article in THE GEORGIA Straight explains the supposedly practical reasons that Homelessness Point In Time (PIT) counts are undertaken. The efforts are not necessarily backed by the bullet-proof...

Book Review Of “Rough Sleepers”: A World Revealed Through Loving Eyes

There's a hint that author Tracy Kidder is worth a read, regardless of the subject. His name on the cover of his new book is as prominent as the...

The Homeless Are . . . Are . . . So What Are Your Particular Explanation(s)?

The homeless are: unable to afford housing for their family afraid of being beaten to death on the street, or in a homeless shelter too lazy to work ...

California: Exploring The Human Reality of Adequate Housing For All

The human right to adequate housing is a noble aspiration. And if communism and socialism have contributed nothing else to humanity, they have at least proven that determined governments...

Hawaii: Paradise To Some. Rough Visit For Some Mainland Homeless

Is it a case of America doing everything bigger and better, or is it a problem of Hawaii running out of road to send the homeless out of town...

Myths That Demonize Homeless People Hinder Attempts To Solve Their Problems

Myths about homelessness are regularly featured in our posts. There are a set of these myths that are remarkably persistent. It seems important to us at affordablehousingaction.org to debunk...

A Homeless Man Pays Homage To His Pets

The importance of pets to people who are homeless is well understood by some, and dismissed as an undeserved indulgence by others. Affordablehousingaction.org has voiced support for pets with...

Criminalizing Homeless: The Worst Of All Possible Ways To Fix The Problem

"Here's a great idea, fellow council members. We can cure homelessness by making it a crime. Then we simply threaten the homeless with a suitable criminal behaviour, say 'illegal...

A Bad Night’s Sleep For A Good Cause? Try Homeless Lived Experience

Lived Experience? Some decision-makers need more of it. Recently, there has been a considerable push for lived experience to back up government and homeless/housing support agencies by those advocated...

Increasing Citizen Homeless Concerns: Politicians Clueless About Them?

What's to know about unaffordable housing, homelessness, and the link between the two? A great deal, as we've been discovering ourselves at affordablehousingaction.org. With the cost of living soaring along...

Can An Architectural Tail-Tip Wag A Housing Financialization Dog?

AAHA! Fooled us with that name, didn't they? We were expecting a rabbit pulled from a hat and have instead latched on to a group of Canadian architects, designers and...

Homelessness Facts: Does ‘The More We Learn’ Make Any Difference?

There's well-known a French expression that seems to sum up California's Homeless experience: "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose." The more things change, the more they stay...

Zero Homelessness! Medicine Hat Did It! But Ultimately Achieved . . . . What?

Medicine Hat in Alberta, Canada ended Chronic Homelessness in the city in 2021. There was national and international fanfare. What's to be learned from knowing that 'ending Chronic Homelessness'...

Study: Why The Homeless Yawn At Efforts To Move Them On

Worldwide, the endless stories of failed anti-homeless initiatives make us wonder at affordablehousingaction.org. Just what does it take to make self-righteous citizens and their accommodating city councils realize what a...

Point-In-Time ‘Census’ For The Homeless: A Good or Bad Thing?

The harsh reality we all face in civilized countries: you can't opt out of the census — often not legally, anyway. And why should you want to? It's the...

Fatal Flaw In Point-in-time Homeless Counts?

What's the point-in-time count in your particular district? Conveniently, whatever it suits you to say it is. That's one possible answer to a necessarily haphazard, volunteer-rich process of lifting...

Erasmus: Students In Italy Give The Lie To Homeless Stereotypes

It is so convenient to adopt the conventional neighbourhood attitude to the homeless: they are all druggies with mental disorders and criminal habits. Not only that, they poop, too....

Headline! For World Homeless Day, We’re Biting The Hand That Feeds Us

The hand that feeds our blog is, needless to say, the media outlets where we find many of the stories that we pass on to our readers. So why...

A Penny For Your Life? Survival Costs In A Land No Longer Free

How quickly civilization fades in a deteriorating empire. Only a few decades ago, arguably the greatest country in the world could imagine a civilization without slums. To achieve it,...

Partner, Gone. House, Gone. Growing Old On A Car Ride To Nowhere

Young and Homeless because of substance use mental health aging out of care mistreatment at home pure adventurism financial mismanagement relationship breakdown . . . . The list of possible...

When It Comes To Homelessness, NYC Can’t Count. Quite Deliberately, It Seems

The New Yorker Magazine is providing some free reads at the moment. Hopefully, you'll catch one before they close the window, because what follows is a fascinating story of...

‘Good’ Encampments Can Help Homeless ‘Transition’ To . . . ?

A hopefully balanced opinion piece (if such a thing can exist) from Ohio's Akron Beacon Journal helps unscramble some thoughts about 'hands on' private activism as a means of...

Indianapolis & Milwaukee: A Homelessness Tale In Two Midwest Cities

For cities world-wide considering their options for dealing with persistent homelessness, the article linked below offers some useful comparative insights. It describes the efforts in two medium-large cities in...

Pushing Back On The Story That Homelessness Is A Personal Failing

In 2021, a famous international agency, UNICEF, stepped in to provide emergency food for students at a school in England. Why did this become necessary? At the time, the UK...

Homeless Jail Homeless Jail . . . Breaking The Cycle

The John Howard Society of Ontario provides support to people who are affected by the criminal justice system. Their mandate also includes research and public education. The Society's report...

Homeless On The American Murder Range: Shooter Or Target?

So what's the homeless score in Murderland? How many upstanding citizens have been done to death by homeless people — angry, drug-fueled and/or otherwise crazed? How many hapless homeless people have...

Almost Sorry For Councillors – Gatekeepers of Homeless Purgatory

" . . . up there, coming to save the homeless! Is it a bird? A plane? No! It's a . . . word salad?" When it comes to solving...

Homelessness Shown To Be A Literal School Of Hard Knocks

At the beginning of the year, we published a post about the surprising prevalence of brain injuries among the homeless, based on research by Tiffany O'Connor at the Hamilton...

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...

Ending Homelessness: Theatre of the Absurd

Honestly, in order to avoid dealing with homelessness, the decisions that city councils make sometimes truly beggar belief. Laugh? Cry? Both? So here's a contest of ideas that pits the...

Homelessness: Après Moi, Le Déluge . . . Or Is It ‘Le Gulag?’

Louis XV of France is credited with the flood warning in the title above. Today the saying is interpreted as a giant shrug. "After me comes the flood. But who...

Brain Injuries: Warfare & Contact Sports Trail The Homeless

When we first encountered the following article, we almost dismissed it as a celebration of the obvious. Pretty much everyone has been told by now that chronic homelessness, characterized...

Homeless Lured From Streets By Universal Bad Habits

What can possibly be positive about cigarettes, alcohol and illegal drugs? For starters, though known to be potentially dangerous to human health, they are undeniably effective pit-props that shore...

Montréal Mini-Shelter Donation? Nope. Just Come As You Are

A recent winter offer to buy and donate mini-shelters to the City of Montréal for protection of the homeless has been turned down. There was no joy in being...

Boondocking Lifestylers, Meet The Boondocking Homeless

Boondocking? What is it? Who does it? What has it got to do with homelessness? Some might argue that boondocking is homelessness, or at the very least, rootlessness. In America,...

SA Homeless Network Holds ‘Stats SA’ Feet To The Fire

Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), like all census organizations, is a passionate advocate for the importance of counting its citizens in as many ways possible. In the words of...

‘Groundhog Day’ Again As City Homeless Board Warming Buses

The movie 'Groundhog Day' immortalized a bad-attitude weatherman forced to live the same day over and over again until he learned more humanitarian behaviour. Echos of Groundhog Day could be...

Why Race Matters In Homelessness Programs

When the U.S. Congress passed the McKinney-Vento Act in 1987, Black people were more likely to be homeless than white people. The Act, which was and is the framework...

Estimates Of Estimates: A Nation Tries To Pin Down Homelessness Facts

Counting the homeless is problematic. The best attempts are point-in-time counts. Volunteers saturate a region on one night of the year (Like everybody else, people who are homeless are...

Deadly Cold, Deadly Heat: North America Threatens A Continent’s Homeless

A life-ending threat to the homeless is a familiar one over large swaths of North America in the depths of winter: deadly cold. With homelessness on the increase as...

Homeless A Crime —> Homeless The Penalty. Let’s Stop This Hamster Wheel Of Horror!

How Shall I Hate Thee? Let Me Criminalize The Ways. The American National Homelessness Law Center tracks the uncivil ways in which "civilized" society systematically brands activities that are essential for...

New Research Rebuts Ideas About Homelessness In England

The number of single mothers becoming homeless in England is growing at an alarming rate, according to Shelter, a charity which supports people who are facing homelessness. Even though the...

Anything But Funding: Welcome To A National Housing Strategy A.K.A Idiot’s Delight

Here's a short and depressing story that features a need for truly affordable housing viewed via costing alternatives. Like everywhere else in Canada, the District of Nipissing has its homeless. What...

How Important Are Point-In-Time Counts For Measuring Local Homelessness?

People who are experiencing homelessness generally have no means of participating in social activities that can allow for identifying their numbers, needs and habits. They have no fixed address...

What’s It Like To Be Homeless At Christmas? Here’s One Idea

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u08qmwGl90E&t=1s Try the above short video from the United Kingdom charity Shelter. Read more about its making at CREATIVE REVIEW: Shelter ad highlights the challenges faced by the homeless at Christmas

Salt Lake City Looks To Reevaluate And Improve A New Homelessness Plan

If COVID-19 has achieved one benefit for the homeless, it has brought hidden homelessness to light. Municipalities and regions have in the past been inclined to minimize the numbers...

Big City Boston Plague of Tents: Speechified Compassion Backed By Threats

It's hard not wonder about those poor souls locked in the illicit drug trade. If we are to take the City of Boston's word on things, we can imagine the...

Britain’s Bruising World of HINO — Housed In Name Only

The Republican Party of America over the last election cycle has grown fond of chewing on its own appendages and mortally wounding itself with easy-to-apply, fits-all-sizes insults to fellow...

National Study: Homeless Bonds Of Friendship & Support Extend To Pets

There are many people who, to their credit, worry about the treatment of pets they encounter. They may well be particularly concerned about the pets they see connected in...

Homeless Plight: Steal Or Die? 29 Cent Theft Makes 7-Yr Jail Sentence

This is one of those life stories which, on the surface, connects a series of unlikely dots to produce an unthinkably absurd consequence. That consequence? A New York City...

Is A “Value A Vagrant” Campaign Cosmetic? Or The Foundation Of Housing Solutions?

There are some among us who are generally perceived as "inferior" human beings. The people who are homeless tend to fall into that category. Should such ideas about people...

New Survey Shines Light On Homelessness And Housing Need In Canada

The Women's National Housing & Homelessness Network has just released a new study that documents how housing and homelessness affects women, girls and gender diverse populations in Canada. This...

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...
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