Personal Stories

This is the place to look if you’re interested in the issue from personal experience.

Does A Past Life Unhoused Destroy Your Future Parenting Abilities?

Growing up poor culminated in homelessness as a teenager for Ava Truckey. Today, with a child of her own, has her capability as a parent been permanently damaged by...

Does Compact Middle Class Housing Threaten More And More Unhoused?

The New York Times, which is paywalled, offers up a witty headline: The Great Compression. The headline is a 21st century take on The Great Depression, which refers to the...

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...

Dealing With Major Housing Disasters: The United Nations Has A Recipe

The 'first world' consists of all those countries which, while pleading poor (don't they all?) consider themselves arrived in the land of advanced civilization. Their self-importance is often iron-clad....

UK Homeless Teens: Right To Adequate Housing? The Devil Is In The Details

It's easier to pay lip service to 'adequate housing' if you can drag the costs down. The issue arises for a government tasked with arranging a young person's care....

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...

Introducing Affraudable Housing — Affordability Based On At Least One Piggy Bank

Affraudable housing is becoming more common these days. All that is needed is a bad attitude, some small math skill, and a willingness to pull the wool over hopeful...

Reserving Social Housing For Aging Teens – A Boost To Productivity?

The human right to adequate housing has been slowly gaining world-wide popularity. These days, most countries are prepared to pay at least lip service to the concept. But adequate housing...

End Of Life Care For Homeless People

In bald terms, hospitals have a mission to patch you up and get you out the door. It is not an ideal environment for someone who is dying. This...

Affordable Homes For The Neurodivergent: A Profound Challenge Everywhere

People who are 'physically divergent' — different from the current physical norms — are often easy to spot. The person who carries out normal day-to-day activities in a wheelchair...

Privatization Of Illegal Homeless Encampments: A City-Provoked Trend?

City authorities across North America and elsewhere tend to bow down to their democratic masters: at least some portion of the general public, as well as lobbyists for business...

Margaret Thatcher: Social Housing Assassin? A Personal View From Lived Experience

The decline of United Kingdom social housing? How best to inspire a reader on the subject? As an historical treatise, step by stumble through a succession of right...

Are Forces Aligning For A Guaranteed Income In New York?

Proposals for guaranteed income programs have witnessed renewed popularity recently. Many pilot projects were rolled out during COVID shutdowns. They provided one way to flow money to people who...

Irish Gobsmacked! Social Housing Wannabes So Self-Entitled They Turn Down Free Homes!

A recent story from the Independent.ie reports that as many as one in five Irish individuals/families who are offered a social housing home find reasons to turn it down....

Food And Housing Costs Stress Household Budgets – Something Has To Give

This is a post about food. It is a basic necessity, but frequently sacrificed in the face of paying for housing. Welfare cuts in 1995 drew attention to a...

Standing Up To Common, Semi-Fraudulent, Public Housing Promises — All Spelled ‘Eviction’

Faced with a conspiracy to cheat you out of your home, what can one individual do? For example, consider an impoverished resident of the infamous Cabrini-Green housing project in...

Medieval Housing Could Be The Secret To Longer Life

A contemporary study of almshouses in the United Kingdom has found evidence that they may stretch an individual life expectancy by 2.5 years. How long have we known about...

A Foundation For Learning That Supports Single Moms And Their Kids. It Starts With Housing

Young moms living on their own with their kids are great role models for resilience. Compared with other families, they get by with very low incomes, even as they...

Pardon Us If We Engage in A Little Tweneboa Worship While Social Landlords Quake

Tweneboa who? That would be Kwajo Tweneboa, arguably the United Kingdom's most powerful social housing activist. A year ago, he was 'trending' everywhere. We'd hate to think he might...

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...

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...

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....

Organic Veggies And The Determined Competence of Bored, Homeless Men

Move on, move on. Nothing to see here except vegetation. Unless, of course, you're in the market for yummy organic veggies. A mini-miracle comes courtesy of a modicum of farming...

Pitching In For Better Housing In Louisville, Kentucky

When you think about tenant organizing in Kentucky, you might visualize Black tenants calling out their housing authority for poor conditions. The article linked to this post tells a...

Sing Out For Joy And For Housing

Much staff discussion and laughter erupted in the halls of a Toronto hospital while this writer awaited day surgery. Shortly thereafter, bouts of singing and more laughter filtered in...

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...

Life In Translation: 20 Years After Mental Illness Chose Voluntary Homelessness

So you're downtown, crossing with the light at a crosswalk. As you approach the middle, you take a wide tour around a shouting person man who is focussing a...

How The Chicago Housing Authority Plays Fast And Loose With Its Land

In 2022, the Better Government Association (BGA) reported on activities of the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA). The BGA looked at the number of homes that the CHA had demolished,...

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...

Chronic Homeless Need Help, But Lived Experience Counters Incarceration

The latest fad(?) in solving homeless problems has been dominated by fed-up citizens endlessly encountering dangerous(?) chronic homeless people on the streets. Responding to the concerns of their citizens,...

A Once-Homeless Socialist Who Wants More Upscale Housing Built?

No, this isn't about an influential person who experienced homelessness, saw the light, and embarked on a fight for the Human Right To Adequate Housing via the power of...

The Serendipity Of Canada’s Commitment To Allow Suicide Of The Homeless

Well now, here's a convenience that nobody considered when Canada decided to allow mercy killing of those whose lives had become an unbearable torment. Physical pain was the torment...

Affordable-> Unaffordable. Temporary-> Permanent. UK Plays Name Change Game

The United Kingdom National charity, Shelter, laments something affordablehousingaction.org has moaned about for a long time: Canada's federal government, like the UK national government, has conspired with builders. They...

Uprooting The Homeless: Meet Them and Cheat Them Today, Lose Their Trust Tomorrow

"When you ain't got nothin', you got nothin' to lose," sang the Bob Dylan in his famous song "Like a Rolling Stone." Dylan is renowned for his great lyrics. But...

New York City Erodes Fragile Human Rights Protection For Mental Health Sufferers

The following Guardian article — a personal diary of one American with mental illness who was incarcerated against her will — is a vision of horror. . .  for...

U.S. National Green Bank Can Help Stretch Affordable Housing Dollars

So, what does a green bank do, anyway? According to the article linked below, green banks help make investments in climate change by facilitating loans to customers that banks...

Human Right To Housing: Four Steps To End A USA Eviction Crisis

In a country that is not yet a signatory to the United Nation's Right to Adequate housing, polls show that it has considerable support from the American population. All very...

Buck Rogers Goes To Homeless Camp. Who’s That? Read On

Nothing like a little high-tech homeless help to provide a brightener for the day. This post features a modern day Buck Rogers . . . Wait, you've never heard...

Link Between Homelessness And Poverty Exposes How US Education Cheats Children

In America, large numbers of homeless children do not receive schooling support to which they are entitled. Federal law requires it, but nationally, a considerable number of education districts...

The Purgatory of Homelessness: Easing The Torment of An Endless Wait

Arguments can be (and are) made about the folly of easing the grinding hell of circumstance that imprisons those without housing: "Governments at every level need to address this homeless...

Can NIMBYs Change Their Spots? Yes! (But It May Take A Little Work)

Princeton, British Columbia. Ed Farkas and his wife freely admit they came out as full bore NIMBYs, spitting fire and raging on at local council to deal with the...

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...

Homeless Prison Time? Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me.

Where, on a list of places to call home, does a prison fall? Right at the bottom for most. But, as it turns out, right at the top for...

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...

Can The Lure of Farming Lift Women Out of Homelessness?

It is said by experts that long ago, pre-history in fact, the men hung about uselessly, drinking and carousing in Stone Age men's clubs, reluctantly picking up a spear...

The Plight Of A Homeless Veteran — Lucky Old Fart

Consider an American veteran who fought for his country. Getting on now. A loner who led a successful life: money, home, car, etc, until bad investments brought him down...

Courage, Democratic Process, And Freedom: Keys To Strengthening Tenancies?

In 2017 (around the time affordablehousingaction.org started posting), researchers from universities in Spain and Chile published a review of academic literature that investigated the connection between eviction, health and...

Garden Allotment Wars: Something Public Housing Needs To Support?

Potty: United Kingdom slang for someone who is a little bit daft. (Daft, in turn, is slang for someone who is somewhat potty) Its origins are not generally agreed...

Outreach Police Officer Stabbed To Death In Homeless Encampment

Tent encampments are little islands of anarchy, with inhabitants attempting to survive in opposition to, or at best outside of, society's rules. Encampments of people experiencing homelessness in North...

Q: How Grateful Are The Homeless For Spare Change? A: Woof!

As we swing off Toronto's Lakeshore Boulevard away from Lake Ontario, we are caught frequently in a left-hand turn lane, waiting for a green light. Parading beside our car...

This Is Historic Wales. Does Just Anybody Have A Right To Live Here?

Wales, which is part of the United Kingdom, is currently experiencing a 'right to adequate housing' crisis — one that is frequently ignored by countries that have signed the...

Challenging Canada’s Denial Of Health Care: A Path To Housing Rights?

Ontario's Superior Court has issued a decision in a case with significant implications for the right to adequate housing. The case involves Nell Toussaint, who has been challenging the...

Shelter Or Starvation? Tough Choice On An Empty Stomach

Middle class and up? You can afford to be wasteful. There's at least a little bit of money to burn. Very low — even no — income? Every penny has...

Bankers In The Boonies, Goat Farms In The City: A New Topsy-Turvy World?

Bankers in the Boonies? This writer first encountered it as a marry-in to the poor relations of a cottage-owning family. We got a snippet of holiday this year in...

Public Housing Musical Chairs With CryptoBucks? Sit This One Out?

Gather round, public housing poor folks with toothpaste money to invest. Skip the rinse and spit and put those hard working cavity-prevention pennies into the black magic of cryptocurrency!...

Designing Tomorrow’s Social Housing. Will Humans Be Out Of A Job?

A picture is often worth a thousand words of fun and fancy. When it comes to truly affordable housing we know this because, over the past few years, one...

Homeless And Hospitalized — Where Next?

Jamille Whitlow is a journalism intern at NC Healthnews. She's winkled out this story about Samaritan House in Charlotte, North Carolina, an idea that is the brainchild of two...

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,...

Co-Housing Benefits Beyond Student House Parties On The Cheap

"And who shall tidy this?" quoth the elders (not very old) their faces freighted with wisdom beyond their years. And lo, the others hung their heads and scuttled away,...

How An Architect Stands Accused Of Trashing US Public Housing Tenants

Fifty years ago, could one ego-driven man have seriously damaged the health and integrity of America's public housing tenants by accusing them all of being driven "mad" or "bad"...

A Story Of Homelessness In Los Angeles – From Pregnancy To Motherhood To Loss

The following story was born when videographer Claire Hannah Collins made a proposal to the Los Angeles Times. As the video developed, Gale, a Staff Writer at the Los...

Deeply Affordable Housing Is Needed – Is A Donation The Best I Can Do?

This post starts with an story about Mères avec pouvoir, which supports single moms in Montréal, Québec. The wraparound services include help with child care, education and housing. The...

Violence And Women’s Experiences Of Homelessness

For years, Canadian governments have responded to women's homelessness in two different ways. One provides supports to women living with a violent partner (domestic violence)When violence is part and...

A Story About Public Housing Success . . . (Missing: Public Housing)

Jeanette Taylor was an 18-year-old single mum when she applied to the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA). She was struggling to get through school — unthinkable that she wouldn't —...

Housing Help? You Could Kick Ass And Take Names Like Kwajo Tweneboa

It's not too hard to describe 'adequate housing.' The United Nations has done so. It shouldn't be all that difficult to get entire nations to commit to the principle...

Activists Take Note: Homelessness Needs Ambassadors, Too. Like These

Do we need more activist explanations that parse such critical details as 'visible' and 'invisible' homelessness, as well as the specific health challenges suffered by the 'chronic' homelessness (not...

A Garden That Grew Out Of The Tragedy Of The Grenfell Tower Fire

As the public inquiry about the Grenfell Tower fire grinds onFor example, read this account in The Guardian: ‘A merry-go-round of buck-passing’: inside the four-year Grenfell inquiry , it...

Wrong Turns On The Road To Shelter In San Francisco

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) publishes a map with information about homelessness. The map indicates 161,548 people were homeless in California on any given night...

Idaho In The Twenty-First Century: Wither The Bourgeoisie?

If the great social economist Karl Marx correctly identified the economic underpinnings of a 19th century world, the 21st century has surely morphed into an entirely new framework that...

NYC: Shelter Available. A Move To Housing? Unending Delay

The 'ahead of its time' horrors of George Orwell's book, 1984, has in some respects taken 40 years and more to catch up to the events predicted in its...

I Spy With My Video Eye — Social Landlord Dirty Deeds

Turns out, it's not just the police who get caught out by public exposure. That embarrassment is down to half the population having a video capability in their smart...

Developer Outs RADical Neglect Of Public Housing Tenants

The Department of Housing and Urban Affairs (HUD) has been touting the win/win value of its RAD (Rental Assistance Demonstration) program. By converting public housing to various forms of...

Help Save An Unsung Homeless And Poverty Hub: The Library

Bye Bye, Public Library. Something much better, more modern has crept up the inside rail and is already well past in a race to the finish of the 'Font...

Government Planned Youth Starvation: Pardon Our Rant

Government-Planned Starvation of youth? Well, not technically, but let's detour on the subject via an oldster . . . me. Really, it's three months since my last small Canada Pension...

Rescuing Overlooked Homeless Kids In San Diego

A CBS 8 San Diego video available on YouTube somewhat breathlessly explores three homelessness issues at once, all of which are interesting once you are used to the frenetic...

Giving Money For Things That Turn Out To Be Priceless

No, this is not a post about buying something at a flea market only to learn that it is priceless. It's about what happens when people have enough money...

Society’s Neglect -> Homeless Deaths. Are Both Increasing?

When one of the world's well known newspapers does an 'exclusive analysis' and concludes deaths among the homeless are surging, it's worth taking note. Studies that link early mortality and...

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...

Repurposing Detached Homes – Gentle Density At Work

Oakville, Ontario's Norma Gamble is inventive. In existing single detached homes, she sees opportunities for shared living. And, with persuasion and an accommodating housing market, she's been able to...

Street Outreach In A Frozen Hellscape: Words Or Welfare? Whatever’s Needed

In case you think you know what police officers are all about . . . Retired from a life as a community police officer, Paul VanHandel took a chunk of...

Small Communities Also Challenged By Homelessness

As we transition towards at COVID endgame (please go away soon, Omicron!) one consistent story is the impact that COVID's economic pressures are having on homelessness responses. These responses...

NZ Homelessness: Hotel, Couch Surfing, Shelter, Squat . . . Rinse, Repeat.

No, the majority of people who become homeless do not live in sidewalk tents, panhandle, shout obscenities, and take drugs. Here's a much more typical story of a couple of...

The Life And Death Cabrini-Green Public Housing Projects, 25 Years On

In the late twentieth century, prior to its demolition, the Cabrini Green public housing buildings in Chicago had become the poster child of all that was supposedly wrong with...

In Peel, Ontario, COVID Triggers Better Homeless Lives. Can It Continue?

By now, most are aware that the unknown dangers of a COVID pandemic swept many, many people living rough off the streets and into the comparative luxury of hotel...

Reno Tenant Farewell From U.S. Public Housing: Magic Carpet Or Toe Of A Boot?

At least two models of public housing tenure exist. One was exemplified by an American home-building experiment that began during the Great Depression of the 1930's. The initial objective...

Finding Money To Build Housing For People Who Are Homeless

It takes a lot of money to fund a housing project for people who are homeless. Where does it come from? In the U.S., there are consultants who specialize...

Food Hero Receives Award For Leadership During Public Housing Lockdown In Melbourne

In July, 2020, a Melbourne, Australia, drama played out in a group of public housing buildings — a drama that may fairly described as an incident of official panic. Faced...

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)...

Homeless In Humboldt County: A Video Testament To People Who Matter

A group of Humboldt State University (HSU) Students have conceived an ambitious plan to document homelessness in Humboldt County, California. The following article link will take you to a...

Sudbury, Ontario Homeless Services: To Cap or Not To Cap? Ask A 9 Year Old

It should come as a surprise to nobody that Canada has one of the colder climates in the world. It ranks number three after Antartica and Russia. As for for...

Homeless: After He Was Killed Many Realized He Was Their Friend

Action to house the homeless may ultimately depend on enough individuals prepared to first cherish them, and then to exercise their democratic will to end homelessness. We're keeping an...

Crippling Real Estate Frenzy, Australian Version Of A Worldwide Problem

A news item about rising housing prices from Australia caught our eye. The reporter, Stephen Long, begins with a discussion of the rise in value of a home owned...

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

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...

Thinking Small And Useful: Helping Senior Homeowners Sit Tight

Recently, we published a post that featured an idea worthy of attention founded on a somewhat histrionic presumption that American democracy is in danger of going belly upTry: Mandatory...

What Moves People to Help The Homeless? A Small Sampler

What moves people to help people who become homeless? Some are moved by hands-on helping, however unusual it may be. Try, for example: London, Ontario: People Worth Crocheting For Homeless...

London, Ontario: People Worth Crocheting For

Here's an unusual "Waste Not, Shiver Not" way to support people who experience homelessness. It's nothing that will solve the the homelessness crisis that is plaguing communities around the...
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