Personal Stories

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

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...

Giving Lived Experience Of Homelessness/Precarious Housing Their Due

Lived experience. Think about it for a moment. If you wanted to prevent homelessness, of which you had no direct knowledge, it would seem sensible to get advice from...

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...

An Intriguing Shelter-Almost-In-Place Response to Weather Disasters

Whether a product of climate change or not, some weather disasters have been with us forever. Flooding is one particular inevitability, thanks to human habitation near water for transportation...

Permanently Overwhelmed By Climate Change? For Some It’s Already Happening

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) is featuring a series of explorations about climate change. It recently took that interest south to an in-depth exploration of the impact of two...

Baltimore Evidence That Land Trusts Are Coming Of Age

In the grand scheme of lower housing prices, Community Land Trusts (CLTs) have in America largely been exotic animals worthy of further study, rather than tried and true pack...

Wheelchair Bound, Public Housing 15th Floor, Alarm Ringing, Elevator Dead . . .

There are sound arguments to be made that "The Internet of ThingsFrom Wikipedia: The Internet of Things (IoT) describes physical objects (or groups of such objects), that are embedded...

UK Role Reversal: Granny’s Living In The House. Kids Living In The Granny Suite.

COVID-19 has had some unexpected impacts on family relationships in the United Kingdom. And studies may soon show similarly unexpected consequences in other countries. The entire model of home ownership...

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...

Lived Experience In Politics: A U.S. Man Of The Moment?

"Lived Experience" is experiencing a day in the sunTry: First Voice Advocates Speak Up For Housing. To fully appreciate what lived experience is, it's useful to consider what it isn't. A...

How Victim-Bashing Has Become A US Housing Solution For The Poor

Governments in the United States (and likely pretty much everywhere else) depend on a docile underclass of unhoused and precariously housed citizens. In big cities, those applying for limited public...

Climate Change And The Pandemic Drive Interest In Land Trusts and Co-operatives

News from Reuters appeared recently about low cost housing co-operatives in Thailand, which have been supported by the Thai government since 2003. As a consequence of climate change, more and...

Newfies In Yo Face Gonna Set The Pace, Throw U A Punch By Buyin’ U Lunch

How far can you take hip-hop? It seems to be a career without illegal limits: drugs, gun possession charges, assaults, maybe even the odd accidentally on purpose murder or...

Affordable Housing Details You Might Not Have Considered: Fuel

Affordable housing is not just a collection of construction material and land costs. It’s a purse that must stretch to cover a rental or purchase . . . after...

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...

Paying Rent Leaves No Money For Food? U.K. Veteran Can Help

In 1989, U.S. President George H.W. Bush memorably described a thousand points of light as  "...all the community organizations that are spread like stars throughout the nation, doing good." For...

What is RAD? Is It A Brave New Future For American Public Housing?

The U.S. Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program is a hopeful attempt to combine a failing national housing voucher program with the profound failure of American public housing management and...

Home Based Public Housing Job Training By Torch Light

Hard to imagine benefits from a pandemic. But in the field of education, the reality of structured formal training at home have suggested new horizons for educational opportunity. Home schooling...

Public Housing: A Cause for Optimism, Not Pessimism?

All of us on planet earth are johnny-come-latelys to our own genetic makeup, forged over thousands of years of bare subsistence, scratching a living where we can. Not surprising,...

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...

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...

Can A Corporate “Person” Treat The Homeless As Kin?

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...

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...

Building Kinship to End Homelessness: Connecting Through Shared Joy

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...

Strengthening Community: A Tenant’s Story

This is part of a series about community. Growing and sustaining a community brings benefits to the participants, provides a means of personal development and builds hope and resilience....

Can Biden Resurrect the Undead Section 8 Housing Voucher?

On the face of it, President Biden's new plans to help low and no income citizens in America seems reasonable: more Housing Choice (Section 8) housing vouchers. Unfortunately, housing vouchers...

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...

Building Kinship To End Homelessness: Reaching Out From A Tent

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...

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...

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...

Khaleel Seivwright Has Hit The Big Time! Who? You Need To Know.

At affordablehousingaction.org we were quite taken with Toronto's Khaleel Seivwright when he hammered his way onto the local homelessness scene. So much so in fact that some might consider...

COVID’s Economic Effects Come Home To Roost

Across Canada, we're somewhat envious of the Maritime provinces, which have managed to keep their COVID infection numbers to a minimum. However, COVID's economic effects are definitely being felt...

Building Kinship To End Homelessness: Reaching Out Through Art

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...

Building Kinship To End Homelessness: Connecting Through Archeology

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...

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...

Public Housing As Architectural Activism: A Sydney Working Example

From Sydney, Australia to Ontario, Canada: celebrating a new Ontario Association of Architects president with a Down Under query about the role of architects in public Housing. Are we...

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 US Education Secretary With Personal Roots In Public Housing

Let's get right to the good news. Miguel Cardona, President-elect Joe Biden's choice as Education Secretary, is a public housing alumnus! He apparently describes his earlier self as a...

Connecting Housing And Health – COVID Helps Provide Links

Chelsea, Massachusetts is a neighbour to Boston. Its level of COVID infections is 918/10,000, the highest in the state. Like other communities with high infection rates, Chelsea residents are...

Canadian First Nation Seeks Sovereignty Through Housing

Indigenous people who are resident in modern nations may value their often unasked for (and sometimes unwanted) citizenship. But many, if not most, harbour a strong sense of maintaining...

Would A Spoonful of Superiority Help the LGBTQ+ Community Go Down?

Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), formed to create affordable homes, have been justifying their existence over the past few years by extolling the superiority of mixed income housing. It's an...

Greet Once-Employed, Now Homeless Hoards: No Salary, Not Even Tips

Good Value = Popular = Crowding = Exuberant Conversation = Infected Spittle-Spatter blown away in a patio wind, but sucked into deadly circulation when trapped indoors. The future of...

Step Back From Bad And Ugly Of Public Housing To Celebrate The Good

The demonization of public housing residents in America has been a price paid by "small government" beliefs that the public purse has no role to play in either the...

COVID-19 & The Full Granular Horror of Public Private Housing Partnerships

Years of public housing destruction in the U.S. have been justified by a faith-based principle: that private enterprise can spend public money more efficiently and effectively than governments to...

Are Housing Costs Eating Away At You?

How does spending more than 30% of income on housing affect households with low incomes? How does it feel to borrow money to buy food so that your loved...

An Artist’s Perspective On Community And Housing: Undervalued And Overdue

Artists of many stripes often expect and receive a rough ride when it comes to public understanding and appreciation of their work, let alone in convincing someone or anyone...

Housing Authorities See Benefit In The Education/Training Biz

Crises of affordable housing in many countries are bringing a new appreciation of the importance of government-financed social housing for low and no-income citizens. Where countries such as the United...

Social Housing At Odds With Architect Pride: Recipe For Community Failure?

A daring architectural experiment in Greater Manchester in the 1970's is a cautionary tale for those looking towards a new era of social housing. At a time when shoddy...

Philadelphia Homeless Moms And Children Commandeer City Houses

Over the last few months, the saga of a Bay Area empty house occupied by homeless single moms with children has made national headlines in the U.S.TRY: Evicted Oakland...

Evicted Oakland Squatter-Moms Buy That Vacant House — Updated

Fabulous news for the evicted moms. A totally meaningless victory in a war that desperately needs to be fought against house flipping?

Moab Prof Proves It Can Be Done — Energy Efficiency AND Affordability

Climate change is a new reality facing housing. But with heartfelt cries for housing affordability ringing in government ears everywhere, are costly climate-friendly houses forever to be at odds...

Bureaucracy Loves The Pros Though They Won’t Fix Housing Affordability

Bureaucrats must sigh with relief when one of the half-dozen or so major homebuilders the United Kingdom walk through the door with a project proposal. The same sentiment is undoubtedly...

US Housing Vouchers Don’t Work. Time To Turn Back the Clock For A Better Idea?

The following article begins with a personal adventure in attempting to utilize a Housing Choice (Section 8) voucher in order to rent an apartment. These vouchers were created in...

Evicted Oakland Squatter-Moms Buy That Vacant House

Fabulous news for the evicted moms. A totally meaningless victory in a war that desperately needs to be fought against house flipping?

Welcome To A Magical Orlando Experience: For You, But Not Theme Park Workers

The tourist industry is vital to the economies of many countries. Orlando, Florida is one of those places in the U.S. However delightful it can be for visitors, working...

How Canadian Landlords Skate Around Renoviction Laws

There are legal renovictions and illegal renovictions. Many countries allow renovictions — a term that describes landlords throwing out renters in order to renovate rental housing.For more on renovictions,...

Little To Ask: The Simple Pleasure of Affording To Return Home

Two recent in-depth articles in Shelterforce provide a snapshot of an unexpected argument that has come up, thanks to gentrification. Gentrification displaces long time inhabitants of a neighbourhood, particularly the people...

Repairs R Us: Habitat For Humanity Diversifies Onward

In the free markets of today's democracies, housing is an investment, not a human right. To build housing in this commodified environment is to pursue profit, not to reaffirm...

Guardian Public Service Awards: Good Housing News From A Great Paper

Before getting into The Guardian Housing and Public Service Awards, an affordablehousingaction.org Top Affordable Housing Newspaper award to The Guardian itself. The Guardian is right up there in quality with the top handful...

Resilience: What Is It? What’s It Got To Do With Affordable Housing?

Resilience is a measure of how well a crisis, calamity, or catastrophe can be withstood. As the term is used in this blog, it comes in two flavours. Community resilience...

Canada’s Federal Housing Initiative: Dancing Booties On Feet Of Clay

Faced with country-wide housing crises like much of the world, two years ago Canada claimed it was at last standing up to be counted, after decades of little or...

Harvesting Humans For Profit In The UK

One of the currently most successful human harvesting activities in free enterprise societies can be found in the United States — private jailing. Because the collection and control of humans...

Three Takes On California’s Housing Crisis: Part 2

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.

Wellington, NZ Modular Housing: Still Taxiing Towards The Takeoff Runway?

On one hand, modular housing offers building techniques that can result in more affordable housing construction. On the other, homebuilders prefer to keep using construction techniques they understand which allow...

Homeless While Working: A Growing Urban Tragedy In Advanced Societies

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...

Could Guaranteed Income End Accidental Evictions From Affordable Housing?

My decidedly middle class in-laws recently received a small windfall inheritance. Their action? To splurge on a bucket list trip for Mom, Dad, and two kids to celebrate the...

Sweden Sniffs At Co-Living For Affordable Housing: Social Blessing Or Social Disaster?

With housing becoming increasingly unaffordable, ingenious ways of reducing shelter costs abound. One trending fad featuring in the news media: co-living. A boon? A bust? There are two sides to...

Born Again Social Housing? Is It Possible? Scotland’s Done It

America is where social housing went to die. Poisoned by the cold war that tarnished all things that remotely hinted of socialism or communism, social housing's slow death was,...
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