Role Models

Those who toil with particular distinction in the crisis world of affordable housing

Keeping Up Appearances: How Much Does That Matter To the Unhoused?

Where to find answers the question posed in the headline above? If we were to depend on a 'scientific' approach to the answer, we might be waiting a long...

An Invitation To See The Faces Of People Who Are Unhoused: Kelly And Ron

Meet Ron and Kelly. Affordablehousingaction.org can make this introduction thanks to the fine work of Steve McKenzie, a portrait photographer. Steve's portraits come with notes: 'Ron and Kelly were sitting...

An Invitation To See The Faces Of People Who Are Unhoused: John

Meet John and his cat. Affordablehousingaction.org can make this introduction thanks to the fine work of Steve McKenzie, a portrait photographer. Steve's portraits come with notes: I've met John before....

Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin: A Case Study In Saving Homes To Build Community

Hospitals have discovered that there is more to the cost of demolishing houses than the demolition and disposal feeTry: Urban Redevelopment: A Case Of Failing To See Who’s There...

An Invitation To See The Faces Of People Who Are Unhoused: Rod

Meet Rod. Affordablehousingaction.org can make this introduction thanks to the fine work of Steve McKenzie, a portrait photographer. Steve's portraits come with notes: "I met Rod just south of Wacker...

An Invitation To See The Faces Of People Who Are Unhoused. Willie

Meet Willie. Affordablehousingaction.org can make this introduction thanks to the fine work of Steve McKenzie, a portrait photographer. Steve's portraits come with notes: Steve: '"Can I please have a blessing?"...

Growing Racial Diversity Powers Social Housing Leadership In England

The Housing Diversity Network was founded in 2002 with a mission of supporting racial diversity. The Network supports organizations in England that want their board and staff teams to...

An Invitation To See The Faces Of People Who Are Unhoused. Ronnie

Meet Ronnie. Affordablehousingaction.org can make this introduction thanks to the fine work of Steve McKenzie, a portrait photographer. Steve's portraits come with notes: "Ronnie was on Michigan Avenue near Nordstrom's,...

An Invitation To See The Faces Of People Who Are Unhoused: Wakili

Meet Wakili. Affordablehousingaction.org can make this introduction thanks to the fine work of Steve McKenzie, a portrait photographer. Steve's portraits come with notes: "Wakili is a gentle soul who reminded...

An Invitation To See The Faces Of People Who Are Unhoused: Jessica

Meet Jessica. Affordablehousingaction.org can make this introduction thanks to the fine work of Steve McKenzie, a portrait photographer. Steve's portraits come with notes: "Jessica was walking near the northeast corner...

An Invitation To See The Faces Of People Who Are Unhoused: Calvin

Meet Calvin. Affordablehousingaction.org can make this introduction thanks to the fine work of Steve McKenzie, a portrait photographer. Steve's portraits come with notes: 'Calvin was on the southwest corner of...

Young and Unhoused. No One Has Fewer Resources To Survive And Prosper

Surely, the problem is beyond managing! We're talking about the growing number of older teenagers and young adults who are unhoused in the United States. Some no longer have family...

Helping America’s Unhoused Clean Up Their Act

Daily living is challenging for people who are unhoused: Where will I sleep tonight? Where can I get something to eat? Where can I get a shower? Is...

An Invitation To See The Faces Of People Who Are Unhoused: Michelle

Meet Michelle. Affordablehousingaction.org can make this introduction thanks to the fine work of Steve McKenzie, a portrait photographer. Steve's portraits come with notes: 'Michelle was on Wacker, near Madison Street....

An Invitation To See The Faces Of People Who Are Unhoused: Albert

Meet Albert. Affordablehousingaction.org can make this introduction thanks to the fine work of Steve McKenzie, a portrait photographer. Steve's portraits come with notes: "Albert rolled up in his wheelchair and...

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...

Dipping From The Well of Knowledge About The Right To Adequate Housing

We're Canadian and have published posts about Canadian Leilani Farha during the time she held the position of Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing. As such, we've...

New Tools To Add Housing That Meets Local Needs

The Fair Housing Alliance (the Alliance) recently published a statement that identifies holes in the housing supply in Ontario, Canada. In round numbers, 640,000 homes are missing in the...

A New Home In Nunavut – A Sign Of Something Bigger?

Nunavut Territory is in the far north of Canada. It is home to about 10,000 households, according to the last census. And its housing stock is in need of...

Receivership: A Tool That Could Serve Communities Better?

In Chicago, property owners are responsible to maintain their properties in liveable condition. When a building develops a leaky roof or its foundation is damaged, or the plumbing backs...

U.S. Public Housing: A Century of Barren Landscape? Or Rich Culture?

Pardon us if affordablehousingaction.org has displayed a particular fascination with the U.S. National Public Housing Museum. Public Housing in America was born to fail. Not of course in its earliest...

How To Get The Press To Notice The Unhoused? Become The Press

Outside The United Kingdom, you've quite likely not heard of the newspaper called The Big Issue. Why should you even bother? One explanation comes courtesy of The Big Issue...

Universal Basic Income: Opportunities For Recipients And The Community?

Wales is in the middle of a pilot project that aims to help young adults who have been wards of the crown to avoid homelessness. Guaranteeing a basic income...

Gavin Turns The Other Cheek — Repeatedly — For Xmas Charity Dinners

The news that UK actor Tom WilkinsonTom Wilkinson: The Full Monty actor dies at 75  recently died has, for affordablehousingaction.org, provided not only a sadness that, but also prodded...

Chef: Just A Modest Local Ambition? Not If You Are Ebru Baybara Demir

'Food is a tool for change': that is an opinion, as well as a concept that frames the life experience of Turkish chef Ebru Baybara Demir. Demir grew up in...

The Hurricane Is Over But The Emergency Has Just Begun

We're all familiar with the damage that a hurricane can leave in its wake. People with damaged properties scramble to get temporary accommodation. Repairing and cleaning a property can...

Social Housing Architecture Apostles: Why Nix It When You Can Fix It?

Do you remember Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal, who in 2021 won what's considered to be the 'Nobel Prize For Architecture' — the 2021 Pritzker PrizeTry: Public Housing, “Reverence...

Where Canada Needs To Go Next On Its Journey To The Right To Adequate Housing

Last month, we shared the work of FRAPRU, a organization made up of 80+ national, regional and local organizations active in the Province of QuebecFRAPRU aligns with the organization's...

Responses To Housing Emergencies That Put Housing Access In Local Hands

This post is about two remarkable women who are reframing how we think about housing emergencies. Yasmeen Lari and Marie McGregor Pitawanakwat are from different parts of the world....

Who’s Standing Up As UN Right To Adequate Housing Falls Flat In Canada?

North America's growing rental housing housing crisis can be found expressed in its three major languages, English, Spanish and French. The third language, French, is prevalent in the province...

A Christmas Song Honouring Prince William’s Support For The Unhoused

The Christian celebration of Christmas has long involved music. But over years, decades, centuries, that music has evolved beyond hymns of praise to the birth of a Lord. Nowadays,...

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...

NYC Homeless Shelter in Trouble After 40 Years. The West Coast Wants A More Permanent Fix

Many countries have looked to America as a world leader. Not surprising then that people expect the United States, as the wealthiest country in the world, would be the...

Housing Discussion Forums – Opening Pandora’s Box?

If you are looking for ways to hold discussions about housing issues, you might want to check out the Housing Hangouts that are hosted by the University of North...

Feed The Homeless? Whenever You Say, God.

God, it seems, may have no sense of timing, at least as far as humans might assess the situation. Could this be a problem? Actually, it can be quite...

Hamilton Churches: Picking Up The Pace Of Housing Advocacy In Canada

How do you get people on board with a program to build more housing for people who aren’t being well served by the private market? This question led the...

US Architect Stepping Up To Build Deeply Affordable Housing

We recently reported an interview with UK architect Peter Barber. In it, Barber speaks directly about the need for much more housing for people with very low incomes. Try:...

Borrowed UK Perspectives: Helpful In Redefining New World Affordable Housing?

Here's a post based on material originally aimed at a United Kingdom market, but with most certainly a relevance elsewhere, particularly struggling North America. A winner of the UK's Neave...

Roma: Indigenous Peoples Needing Specialized Human Rights?

Roma are often linked in the English language to wanderers in the British Isles and Ireland, described as 'gypsies', 'travellers', or 'tinkers.' Are they Europe's indigenous people? It's a...

Raising The Flag For Public Housing Tenants And Their Homes

In the article linked below, Nasteho Said brings to life the experience of living in public housing in the US, UK and Australia. Said weaves three events together: ...

John Wheatley Cigarette Card: Never Hit A Home Run, Only Created Social Housing

Have you got a cigarette card of John Wheatley like the one above? Collecting cigarette cards of British politicians probably never had the the attraction of owning baseball cards...

Making More Homes More Accessible To People With Disabilities

Two of the links below are about housing projects that are under construction in America. A non-profit called The Kelsey is behind both of them. The Kelsey is dedicated to...

The Origins Of The Modern Kitchen

Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky is not a household name. And yet, she was a vital presence in housing design for most of the 20th century. Following World War I, Schütte-Lihotzky was commissioned...

Kwajo Tweneboa: Housing Activist Found Worthy Of A Medal, But Gave It A “No Thanks”

The United Kingdom housing activist, Kwajo Tweneboa, has apparently had his fifteen minutes of fame. But he has not quite retired into the fond obscurity that Google and the...

A Veterinarian Pioneers Trauma-Informed Care For Homeless Pets

Trauma-informed care takes account of the possibility that a person who is seeking services has experienced trauma. For people who are homeless, the possibility of experiencing trauma is much...

A Promising Case For Tenants With Section 8 Vouchers In Los Angeles

After a long search to rent a home in Los Angeles using a Section 8 VoucherSection 8 refers to a rental subsidy program in the United States, where qualifying...

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...

Film Celebrates How Determined Housing Activists Triumphed Against New York City

Would you take on one of the world's most powerful mayors of one of the world's most powerful city councils, while it played ball with powerful building developers dead...

Changing The Conversation About Poverty In A Wealthy Country

An eviction can change your life. It certainly changed Matt Desmond's. He witnessed sheriffs evicting a group of siblings who had been orphaned when their mother died unexpectedly. Desmond...

Speaking Up For People Who Are Waiting For Social Housing In Toronto

Some people who are living in social housingThis is housing where rent is geared to income. in the Toronto area feel they should move out in order to...

A New Pipeline For Incarcerated People – It’s Not What You Think

Pipelines are a popular image these days where people get directed to a specific outcome, regardless of what they might want. There's the public-housing-to-prison pipeline and the prison-to-homelessness pipeline....

Churches Roll Out The Housing Carpet

Churches have a history of speaking up for people who are oppressed in society. Faith based organizations have charitable arms that provide services and supports. Religious instruction also directs...

Perspectives On Housing Rights In Canada – Experts Weigh In

Today's post is about housing rights in Canada, where the United Nations' right to adequate housing was affirmed in law in 2019Going forward, this means that Canada's definition of...

Homelessness – We Don’t Need Experience To Take Action

What is it like to be homeless? Even if they want to know, people who have housing may have limited opportunities to find out. This post offers two perspectives,...

Canada’s Capital City: Advancing An Affordable Housing Agenda With A New Mayor

The City of Ottawa has a new mayor, who naturally wants to make an impression on his city. To that end, he's put together a task force to review...

The Value Of Being Guided By Experience When Supporting People Who Are Homeless

How easy is it for people to access the United Kingdom's social "safety net?" Evaluations of this challenge often report that  ". . . a more people-centred response is...

“No Address:” A Search For A New Homelessness Movie Unveils A Hidden Gem

This writer's hat is off is Christos Makridis and his website, Zenger News. Further hat-doffing to Forbes for publishing a Makridis story. His article whets the appetite for a new film...

Can Social Media Smooth The Path To Housing For People Leaving Homelessness?

Time was, if you were short on a household item, you'd ask a neighbour to help you out. In today's world, the idea might seem laughable. Would your neighbour...

A Survey In Search of A Human Right To Shelter: Tiny Temporary Homes

While news of yet another collection of 'tiny homes' is becoming more commonplace in North America, they are by no means a standard method of community commitment to housing...

Young People In Winnipeg: Fixing Service Gaps That Lead To Homelessness

How would you feel if a paramedic advised you to "call us when somebody dies?" Confused: I thought paramedics were there to save lives. Angry: that paramedic should be...

Why Are Babies Sleeping With Their Parents? Sorry, Your Answer Is Wrong

Tenants at the Clinton-Peabody Public Housing Project in St. Louis, Missouri were called to a meeting to talk about premature deaths among infants. The people who organized the meeting...

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...

NIMBY ‘Just Say No’ Doesn’t Cut It. Condo Pitches In To Find Alternatives

It's 'same old same old' NIMBY protest in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Tent encampments under elevated Condo-dweller noses cause an inevitable stink. But a condo in Thunder Bay has added...

Wraparound Supports, Sure! But Home Decorating? That, Too. Better Believe it!

Affordablehousingaction.org has emphasized the importance of ensuring that there are  mental health and drug treatment supports for people who are moving from chronic homelessnessChronic homelessness means homelessness lasting for...

Prince William: The Next Proud Meddler In United Kingdom Politics?

"Who will rid me of this meddlesome prince?Words originally attributed to King Henry II and resulting in the murder of the Archbishop of Canterbury." Those words might well have...

American Music: Legacy of Hollywood Composers? Not For Its Soul. Think Again.

So, why is an affordable housing blog with a home in Canada so enamoured with the National Public Housing Museum in Chicago? Millions of Americans were given the opportunity to...

Bearing Witness To The End Of An Honourable Life

A warning to readers. This post might be a bit of a downer. Being the middle of winter and all, it's a time when tough stuff can be particularly...

Can L.A. Mayor Karen Bass Pull The Plug On Homelessness, Drain The Wound?

Karen Bass is the new mayor of Los Angeles, California. She is putting her career on the line by committing to tackle effectively that city's mega-homelessness problem. Already she's winning...

Struggling To Keep Your Home? You’re Not Alone

Many people are struggling to pay their bills. It's a hard reality to face, often because people believe it's their fault and reflects poorly on their character. Even though...

UK Social Housing Rights Activist Kwajo Tweneboa: Time For A Twofer

It's not often our blog can piece together social housing activism on two continents, same timeframe (more or less), and same activist. In this case, it's the respected young UK...

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...

Will Neoliberalism Self-Destruct? Housing For All Is The Ultimate Challenge

Those of us who are immersed in Western society may well consider ourselves as comfortable frogs immersed in slowly heating water, unlikely even to notice being slowly cooked to...

Calling Non-Profit Housing Providers To Account

Non-profit housing providers are often held up as good landlords. However, as the article attached to this post demonstrates, it isn't always the case. Bathrooms that don't function in...

Gregory Ain, FBI-Hounded Architect With The Fairest Visions Of America

Gregory Ain wanted to build social housing in Los Angeles. During a lengthy, illustrious career he won a Guggenheim grant to research small, inexpensive, single family homes. Ultimately, the...

COVID Avoided Homelessness. Oakland Seeks To Keep Those Good Times Rolling.

Every cloud has a silver lining. COVID's emergency measures to keep the homeless indoors and able to follow social distancing protocols demonstrated an unexpected bonus for preventing homelessness. Not...

Killing The Profiteering Beast: The Inhuman Right to Inadequate Housing

" . . .Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth” was the way U.S. President Abraham Lincoln honoured Civil War...

NY Teachers Go The Extra Mile For Homelessness, But For How Long?

It's fairly clear by now that your average community citizen has some difficulties facing the human wreckage of homelessness. It provokes exasperation, annoyance and open anger among those whose...

P.E.I. YIMBY — Like The Province, Small And Beautiful

Indignant behaviour is undoubtedly worthy of a seat at the front table of the housing crisis. It is such a commonplace entry in the blame game that the acronym...

London, Ontario City Council Pulls Rank on Church Homeless Welfare Staffing

Consider a spat between a London, Ontario church on one hand and that city's council on the other. It brings to mind a recent spat between a historic English...

Want A Civilized, Low Key, Homeless Tent Clearance? Ask A Peer To Do It.

Seattle Lawyer Lisa Daugaard is no foe of the police. In 2019 she won a MacArthur “genius” award for her assistance in developing a police-involved court diversion program. It...

Will LA Citizens Vote For Homeless Boinking In Their Adjacent Hotel Room?

Homeless Boinking? We're trying to imagine the worst here. What could be the result of Los Angeles voting to allow the homeless to overnight in unused hotel rooms? With...

Boosting Tenants’ Safety And Stability

Have you ever been in the situation where someone told you with great authority that you had to do some particular thing? Whatever it was, you didn't want to...

Housing Community Design: ‘Right To Contribute’ Beyond ‘Right To Be Heard’

Victor Body-Lawson heads an architecture studio that designs affordable housing in the United States and Africa. He describes a recent moment of pleasure when he read a housing proposal...

Lifting Up A Vision Of Community Through Gardening

Jacob Beaton and Jessica Ouellette were rookie gardeners when they bought a property near Kitwanga in a rural part of British Columbia. In the first year, the garden produced...

There Was A Basic Human Survival Need That Wasn’t Being Met. So . . .

This post features two stories about ways that people help each other out. One started in church. The other began with a question. Back in 2005, Jacqui Haynes noticed that...

Housing And Support – Foundations For Mental Health

The UK government is at work revamping its mental health strategy. Organizations are offering up studies and advice. There are calls to strengthen the connection between mental health care...

Why Not Confront The Sweltering Homeless With Frosty Love?

This summer of 2022, the media in Europe is replete with advice for mad dogs and Englishmen planning to go out in the midday sunRead in The Guardian: Why...

Homelessness And Litter: A Positive, Cheap-At-The Price Tale From San Diego

Disgruntled home/business owners, little or no civic budget, litter mounting up, the homeless lurking everywhere to take the blame for being alive and underfoot: it's a currently familiar tale...

Might Be A Risk As A Tenant? State Will Make It Risk-Free

For landlords, there's no such thing as a no-risk tenant. This writer lives in a 60 unit building and considers the superintendent a friend. The super has plenty of...

Housing Opportunities In The Midst Of Extreme Poverty In Texas

Brownsville, Texas borders on Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico. It sits in the delta of the Rio Grande River. It is low and flat, floods regularly and "gets...

Darn! Another Unexpected Public Housing Good News Story

Happy to be happy? Or happy to be miserable? This writer was most likely enjoying the latter state of mind just a few days ago. He was pacing around...

Gump Is Dead But Anonymous Donors Aren’t, Thank Heavens!

From abundance fifty years ago, the Christmas Island Forest Skink is now extinct. Gump died. She was the last of her kindTry:Extinction obituary: the sudden, sad disappearance of the...

Homeless, Too Young To Be A Mother? Sahana Has Your Back

How can you help if you're only fifteen? Suppose you became aware that some fifteen-year-olds are both like you, and profoundly NOT like you, because they are already mothers...

Bristol UK Social Housing Bootstraps Wind Power

The world is scheduling the abandonment of gas and petroleum power. So bring on electricity! That demand is being energized by activists and, increasingly, by government. And when governments...

Feeling Pissed About We The Police? Have A House On Us.

In North America, we're accustomed to Police Associations as reactive. Defending this officer or that from allegations of this or that. Lobbying this jurisdiction or that to prevent reduction...

The Big Issue: Rewarding UK’s Lived-Experience-In-Chief

It's only taken, what? — 900 odd years or so to make the change, but the United Kingdom has converted at least some corners of the National Office of...

Human Rights And Disabilities – 40 Years of Action

Jan Grue has Muscular Dystrophy. He is a professor at the University of Oslo in the Department of Sociology and Human Geography. Grue was born in 1981, the International Year...

How Much Can A Single Person Help The Homeless?

Americans near one of the world's longest borders as well as Canadians (indeed, most of the country's population), share the same winter weather. The homeless are the most vulnerable...

Hamilton Ontario: Defunding? No. Re-Thinking, Rearranging The Cost Of Policing

A city such as Hamilton, Ontario, with a population of 560,000, fields an emergency call whose sketchy details suggest it might — just might be — triggered by a...
Howdy,