Taking Control

Taking control to ensure needed affordable housing does get built can require innovative ideas and actions to counter prejudice about affordable housing and the citizens who need it.

Affordable Housing Squeaky Wheels: Safety & Results in Numbers?

How many public housing tenants does it take to screw in a lightbulb? In the wrong light, this question might be viewed as a joke. To make it more serious,...

Landlords Beware! Berlin’s Revenge Of The Renters Gets Green Light

The unremitting bumpiness of a worldwide affordable housing crisis hit a smooth patch momentarily with referendum news from Berlin that puts corporate landlords on notice that real change might...

Ideas To Make Canada’s Housing Market More Affordable For People With Very Low Incomes

A year in to the COVID-19 emergency, the Maytree FoundationHere's how Maytree describes itself: "Maytree is committed to advancing systemic solutions to poverty and strengthening civic communities. We believe...

Ending Homelessness Two (Or More) Ways: Canucks Vote Now

As Canada sails into a snap election, a move approved only by a quarter of the populationRead at CTV News: Just 26 per cent of Canadians support a federal...

Stand And Deliver, Landlord! Berlin is Considering Legal Highway Robbery

Berlin, Germany is a city/state of many renters, ever-rising rents, and few means for renters to challenge the economic self-interests of landlords. Years of protests about increasingly unaffordable rents across...

Hong Kong: How To Reclaim Those Idle Fields of Developer Dreams

There is almost nothing as powerful as a free-market speculator in a democracy where the laws of the land favour — to the point of worship — the predatory...

Berlin: If Housing is “Essential,” Expropriating It Could Regulate Rents

Expropriation of private property is legal in many countries. If the needs of a community are considered paramount, they trump the rights of individuals and corporations. In many western...

Can New Zealand Fix Multiple Housing Crises By Applying The 4 D’s?

Why should anyone except New Zealanders care about New Zealand's ownership housing crisis, its rental housing crisis and its rent-geared-to income (social/public/state housing) crisis? Well, New Zealand's housing history roughly mirrors...

Helping To Target Assistance To Eviction-Threatened Renters

Advocates across the U.S. are calling attention to renters and their financial struggles during COVID. Some renters who are in arrears have been protected by eviction bans, although the...

Webinars And Remote Meetings – Getting on with Housing Business When You Can’t Get Together

There is no question that the internet has made it easier for people to stay connected during the COVID pandemic compared, for example, to how it was during the...

Is Your Lived Experience Valuable But Ignored? Convert It To “Lived Data”

For many who hope to influence how governments and other institutions provide their services, the term "lived experience" is gaining prominence as a means of determining just what kind,...

Mediterranean Holiday Homes To Be Expropriated For Social Housing

Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, Formentera. Familiar names to holiday makers who flock there in summer. These are part of the Balearic Islands off the Mediterranean coast of Spain — just...

Playing Chicken With People Who Need Housing

Toronto City Council has crunched the numbers and come up with a plan to build more supportive housing in that city. The plan will provide homes designed for people...

Green New Deal For Housing Part 5: Indigenous Approaches

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

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

Leilani Farha may no longer be the UN's Special Rapporteur on Housing,To check out the Special Rapporteur's mandate, see the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights: Special...

Truly Affordable Housing? Public Sector Can Do it Better . . . Or Maybe Not.

Who can best build truly affordable housing for low- and no- income citizens? The private sector? That's been a popular government assumption, tried and tested in Public Private Partnerships...

Wanted: Canada’s First Official Housing Advocate

Recruitment for Canada's first Housing Advocate is underway. The deadline for applications is December 31, 2020. The Housing Advocate's position was created as part of Canada's commitment to make housing...

Cold Multiplies The Danger Of Ontario Homeless “Living In The Rough”

2020 has brought more flurries than usual to the Canadian city of Hamilton. With the onset of the pandemic, commendable flurries of activity have removed people experiencing homelessness from...

Council-Built Housing: Pure Tomfoolery or Plain Good Sense?

Could your local city or regional council build its own housing? Why would it want to? One compelling argument is that, when it comes to truly affordable housing, it may...

Housing UK Homeless: Creeping By Baby Steps To National Responsibility?

In a 1939 alternative universe of extreme federalism, United Kingdom's Home Counties voted to go to war with Nazi Germany. Scotland did not, which is why, in present-day Schottland, loyal...

Irish Grow Impatient With Housing Development “Help”

Is it a new development to help Dublin solve its social housing crisis, or a developer boondoggle to turn a tidy profit with slight-of-hand shell game in which it's...

Equality In Education Takes a Surprise Turn Towards Internet Access

COVID-19's focus on home has brought a lot of issues to light. Our homes are one of the reasons some of us are more likely to contract the virus...

Long View Reasons To Build Public Housing Now

A new book, "Housing Policy In Australia" calls for a national housing program and building more social housing. This is a direction the current government has stubbornly resisted. The authors...

A 12-Step Program For Woke Housing-Crisis Nations, Courtesy Of Ireland

Much of the world, if not all, is addicted to housing, even to the point of declaring it a human right. It seems to be part the natural human...

Millions of Europeans Suffering Common Affordable Housing Crises

The following article provides readers with an insight into the current state of national housing crises across Europe. For largely unilingual North Americans, the article is a window into a lot...

Watch Out, Politicians! The Housing Crisis Is Coming To Bite Your Ass!

During the 2016 American Federal Elections, we called Affordable Housing the 'Elephant in the Room'.See: The Elephant In The US Election Room: Affordable Housing For all that it was...

Can Renters Survive Without Commodified Housing? Berlin Aims To Find Out

The vast majority, 85%, of Berlin's citizens are renters. These days, rising rents are squeezing the life out of them. So Berlin is looking to impose a rent freeze...

Columbus, OH, Teeters, Then Topples: Housing For The Poorest . . . Or Federal Funding?

That there is a 'need' for housing across the American nation is largely self-evident. Housing developers would be heading out of business otherwise, and the largest of them at...

Is Opportunity Knocking For Affordable Housing In Canada?

In October 2018, Canadians went to the polls. No party emerged as a clear winner. Advocates with long experience are saying this presents an opportunity to make housing more...

Housing De-Commodification vs Disneyland: Goofy Wins Out!

It's not our fault. More reputable media made us do it. So we are reporting a 'Mickey Mouse' affordable housing solution in the world's most expensive city, Hong Kong. The...

Looking Down Your Nose At Poor Folks’ Housing Woes? Yes, It Is Your Problem.

You don't have to be wealthy to look down your nose at others. For example, a movie title was co-opted to describe an entire generation of unionized British industrial...

UK Affordable PPP Problem: “One Of Our ‘P’s Is Broken”

Incompetence? Bad Faith? Obsessive fealty to shareholders?  Whatever the reason, local United Kingdom councils are starting to finger one of the 'P's in their Affordable Housing Public Private Partnerships...

Beijing Rains On The Affordable Public Housing Parade

For the past few decades, governments and businesses alike have made forceful claims that private enterprise can manipulate the free housing market to better house the world, from the richest...

2019: The Year Of Housing In Abundance?

Groan. Mutter. Snarl. Pardon us while we work up a mad-on at the headline of an article from Sightline: "2019: THE YEAR ABUNDANT HOUSING TURNED THE CORNER" Surely Sightline means:...

Affordable Housing: A Rose-Coloured Glasses Moment To Wrap Up 2019

It's a world in which a great many nations pay lip service to the human right to adequate shelter. There are some, including the United States, that don't acknowledge...

Pittsburgh Plays God With Poor Folks. Feds and State Leave Them No Choice.

A slightly more fast and loose post, ranting completely understated

Housing: Asset Or Necessity? Disobedience May Define It, Along With The Future of Capitalism

Two homeless mothers together with children have occupied an empty house in Oakland, California. Currently, there is more housing held empty by investors speculating in Oakland than there are...

British Council Housing, Born 100 Years Ago. Success? Failure? Somewhere In Between

Governments are vital agents of social and economic change, not foot-dragging deep state bureaucracies committed to interfering with visionary private enterprise. Really? Mariana Mazzucato, an American economist, has earned growing international...

Is Government, Not Free Enterprise, The Engine Of Innovation?

Could the solution to the world's collection of increasingly serious affordable housing crises find a solution in the risky, adventurous initiatives of your everyday garden variety government? The free-enterprise promoted...

With the State Paving The Way, San Francisco Plans A ‘People’s Bank’

In April of this year, we featured a post on the City of Los Angeles's flirtation with the idea of a public bankPublic Banks: What Are They? What Might They...

Berlin Local Government Tackles City Affordable Housing Crisis

Quite possibly Americans will be horrified by the following phrase from a press release: "... local government embarked on the path of re-nationalizing apartments by buying 670 flats at...

How Political Parties Rate Affordable Housing In The Upcoming Canadian Election

Canadians are heading to the polls to elect a Federal Government on October 21, 2019. The media have identified affordability as the top issue. Now the Broadbent Insititute has...

UK Affordable Self-Build: Bootstrapping Your Own Shelter

Living a precarious financial existence? One misstep away from homelessness? Join an growing club, as in many countries affordable housing just can't be found. So here's a question: can you...

Make Me President And I Will..: Bernie Sanders Offers Relief To Renters In Crisis

With affordable housing a hot topic in current political debates, the Democratic candidates have been presenting solutions to America's crop of housing crises. The nation's obsession with the dream of...

Washington Affordable Housing Remedies: The Worrisome Cloudiness of Clarity.

There is a growing, and very welcome, trend for governments at all levels to roughly spell out long range plans or strategies for overcoming housing crises that directly impact...

Social Housing In America: Past Time For A Full-Blooded Rebirth?

America is a country that remains responsive to human needs, even in spite of the fiercest attacks to dismiss them. One example: poll results following three years of U.S....

More Support For Affordable Housing Needed From Canada’s Federal Government

The Broadbent Institute has added its voice to the groups who identify affordable housing as an issue for Canadian voters when they go to the polls on October 21,...

Winnipeg Improves On “Housing First”

Researchers at the University of Winnipeg's Institute for Urban Studies (IUS) have just completed a report about providing Housing First services to indigenous people experiencing homelessness. The report firmly supports...

In London, UK, New Social Housing Projects Stand Up To Be Noticed

The public face of much-touted public private partnerships (PPP) is a local county council. For several decades now, local councils have been expected to maintain rental housing stock for...

Hodan, Please Don’t Go Back Where You Came From. We Need You Here!

Let's talk about a kick-ass Somalian from Minnesota, a new member in the House Of Representatives. We must mean Ilhan Omar, the new member of the U.S. House of Representatives,...

Red Tape: Alberta Conservatives Can’t Define It But They Won’t Put Up With It

The god-like building industry! It is a Prometheus that has sinned by giving mankind shelter. Now it is an industry shackled in punishment for its selflessness by chains of...

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,...

Affordable. Unaffordable. A Tale of Two City States, Singapore & Hong Kong

City states have a unique advantage over cities that exist within a hierarchy of governments, where they seem to inevitably occupy a position of authority towards the bottom. City states...

Britain Looks Back from 2029 At Three Simple Steps That Solved The Affordable Housing Crisis

Looking back from 2029, what were the three simple steps the government took in 2019 to solve the affordable housing crisis? Public Housing: 200,000 new social houses built per...

Houses Of The Future? Sticks Win Out Over Huffing And Puffing Wolf.

A seven story wooden structure built in Italy was rated strong enough to withstand a 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan, which destroyed some 50,000 houses. Watch It Not Fall...

DEW Line Now Tracking Politician Threats To Unaffordable Housing

The DEW Line was a series of radar stations arced across North America to provide Distant Early Warning of a Soviet missile or bomber attack. Now, the DEW Line is...

Chicago Ponders the Problem of Seducing Developers To Support Affordable Housing

What to do when coercion does not convince developers to participate in affordable housing projects, with the result that they wriggle off the hook by paying an 'in-lieu-of-participating' fee...

Outside the Box: Humboldt County, CA Thinks The Unthinkable

Has Humboldt County California gone commie? Or maybe just half as sinful — socialist? The major purpose of government at all levels is to collect individual problems into solutions for...

Supercharged By Boondoggle? Affordable Housing Via The Green New Deal

America faces a bugle call to arms on many fronts such as immigration and terrorism. The call for affordable housing, for all that it is a matter of pressing...

Shaping And Renewing Australian Public Interest In Affordable Housing

Affordable housing activists in Australia are licking their wounds and reprogramming their priorities in the wake of a recent national election. They had eagerly awaited a new government that at...

UK Looks To Adopt Home Ownership Plan Based On What You Can Afford

Swedish construction company Skanska, in partnership with well-known furniture retailer Ikea wants to build affordable housing in Worthing, Sussex, UK. 30% of the BloKlok partnership's modular housing project will be set...

British Columbia Tax Successfully Cools Vancouver’s $$$$$ Housing Market

There's a long list of cities world-wide looking for ways of reducing overheated housing markets. Vancouver, rated by some measures as the second most expensive city to live in...

Critics Slam All Affordable Housing Solutions. Time For Critics-Be-Damned Experiments?

This article does not reflect upon many interesting facets of London's newly proposed rent controls for the UK's largest city. Instead, we'd like to comment on the meat of a...

Berlin Tries Another Way For Governments To Invest In Affordable Housing

Should Government take any role, let alone a direct one, in creating or maintaining affordable housing? For conservative-dominated capitalist governments, it is a topic of hot debate. That in...

Zombie Properties: What are They? What Are Their Affordable Housing Benefits.

Don't you really want to know what a zombie property is? We confess that we did. A mobile haunted house perhaps, decaying, dilapidated, lurching down the street late at...

Youth Group Weighs In As Halifax Updates Its Zoning By-Law

The Halifax Regional Municipality has decided that its zoning by-laws, parts of which are 50 years old, need updating. Ten years ago it embarked on a review process that...

Visitors Rule Or Locals Rule? Views From The Airbnb Tourist Battlegrounds

Conventional thinking has always been that a tourist destination needs to bend over backwards to service its visitors, however inconvenient this may seem to some natives. But is it...

Washington State Turns The Other Cheek To Help Affordable Housing Pickpockets

Store your wallet on your backside, don't keep an eye out for pickpockets? The result is inevitable. When it comes to cheats picking the pocket of an individual, an...

US Affordable Housing Standard Is Dead. On To A ‘Survivable Housing’ Standard?

Affordable housing lives on in America, as: an Individual concept: e.g. "Every house ever built is affordable to at least somebody." a general segment the housing cost spectrum, determined...

UK Naked Shelter Crisis Obscured By ‘Affordable’ Dance Of The Seven Veils

The 'Affordable' Dance of The Seven Veils is not just a coy ploy in the UK. It is happening everywhere. The housing unaffordability crisis is being masked by cutting...

New Jersey Non-Profit Demonstrates What Community Can Do That Government Can’t

When it comes to affordable housing, New Jersey's bickering between municipalities and the state have set a national benchmark for the lowest possible standard of government commitment to a...

Spokane Police Scratch Own/Community Back By Dabbling In Affordable Housing Biz

Headline: Spokane Police To Turn 5 West Central Nuisance Homes Into Affordable Housing. Nuisance homes: one way of describing derelict, abandoned buildings that become crash pads for drug use and...

Why Can’t California Super-Government Pass Affordable Housing Crisis Bills?

In California, the Democratic Party owns veto-resistant super-majorities in both houses of congress, together with the governorship. American governments just don't get any more powerful than this! And yet, faced...

Housing First, Helsinki Style

The Guardian has just published a story about Finland’s remarkable success in lowering the number of people who are homeless in the capital Helsinki. We’ve covered stories about Finland’s success...

20-20-20 Vision: Screw The Carrot. Montreal Brings The Stick To Affordable Housing.

Forget tempting financial carrots to coax developers into supporting affordable housing. Montreal, Quebec is planning to bring the big stick to multiple housing developments in the city. Incumbent mayor Mayor...

Affordability To The Rescue Of The New Marxists. Who Are They? The 1%, Of Course.

Marx was a classical economist who predicted that capitalism would self-destruct, then offered some predictions about what might replace it. It was Lenin, not Marx, who proposed putting capitalism...

$$$ College Housing? $$ But Scarce Off-Campus? Student Union Eyes Third Way

These days, college and university students are often burdened by loans necessary to higher education tuition. This financial problem is only growing. That's because, for those without a convenient...

Bedtime Stories: Affordable Housing And ‘The Little Engine That Could’

The beating drums of housing industry lobbyists thunder on incessantly, drumming the industry's idea of good sense into the beleaguered brains of city councils worldwide. One example: it only...

Will Democratic Control of State Government Help New York Renters?

For many years, Republican majorities in the New York State Legislature have blocked efforts to provide better protections for the state's housing renters, particularly those  suffering from predatory landlord...

Creating A Tax-Foreclosure Free City: Why Bother?

Most city spending is to the benefit of their citizens. Not surprising, therefore, that cities generally take a dim view of those who do not pay municipal taxes. For...

How Housing Investment By Criminals Can Jack Your Own Home Payments

North American boom towns are experiencing a new kind of crime wave that is almost completely invisible to the general public and to authorities as well. If you live...

How Québec And British Columbia Became Canada’s Affordable Housing Leaders

In 1994, the Canadian Federal Government pulled the plug on its social housing programs. Seven years later, the federal government reversed its position and decided to put some funding...

Sell Surplus Land: One Way Small Govt Policies Can Fit Affordable Housing Needs?

Conservatives in power? Recent history in the Province of Ontario suggests that 'small government' will be the order of the day. Divest, download, promote private initiatives, anything to shrink...

Housing Crisis Solution? Govt Subsidies Do Nothing Except Sooth Politician Slumber

To elaborate the headline of this post somewhat, the article linked below calls into question virtually the entire foundation of the U.S. government's contributions to municipal affordable housing subsidy...

Adrift & Engineless, AU City Councils Waggle Affordable Housing Rudders

Many Australian communities still lack serious affordable housing strategies. But even those with the vision and the will to tackle the problem can do little without a healthy shove...

UK Private Landlords De-Sanctified: Eviction Without Cause Will Die

Part of the enduring myth of neo-conservatism is the idea that private enterprise has been given short shrift, thanks to decades and decades of unfair left-wing vilification. "Give private...

Small May Be Beautiful, But Who Says It Is Affordable?

Santa Monica City Council is not impressed with one particular class of tiny homes. Where is their sense of light-hearted romance, you might ask? Tiny homes are a charming feast...

Mountain View, CA: Hardship Posting For Teachers Plays ‘Company Town’

What does the school district of Mountain View in the San Francisco Bay area share with a school district in Kitimat, British Columbia? As far as their most important employees...

With A 2018 Victory Over Health Care, Democrats Eye Lower Rents for 2020

In late 2016, with the U.S. presidential elections looming, we couldn't fail to notice that the elephant in the room that nobody wanted to talk about was affordable housing....

Indigestion And The ‘Irish Dream’: Not So Different From The One You’ve Swallowed

How did the 'American Dream' morph away from its beginnings as a celebration of self-actualization and achievement — something captured by the term "Be Best" (to steal Melania Trump's...

Are Big Landlords Bad For Affordable Renting? Berlin Thinks They Might Be

In Germany's largest city, unaffordable rents made an appearance on the international affordable housing stage in 2018, thanks to activists who were arrested for occupying a Berlin building to...

Rehabilitating America’s Public Housing Potential. You Could Be A Nurse!

Is there a hope for public housing in America? These days, glimmers of light appear on the horizon. In part, they reflect the failure of public/private partnerships — the...

Boston’s Community Preservation Agenda Includes Affordable Housing

With affordable housing now reaching crisis levels in most North American cities, symbolic housing trust funds with startup but no top up are giving way to housing funds that...

Affordable Housing & The Intersection Of Sweat, Debt, War, Good Will, And Where’s Waldo?

Set 1: Construction Labour Where's Waldo? He's the guy you can't find in the affordable housing big picture — the one with the hammer in his hand. Set 1 is...

The Affordable Home-Loving Politician’s Easy Oopsy. Where’s Waldo?

Politics is the art of promising the earth and then delivering a sympathetic next-to-nothing. But only until the next election rolls around. Then it's all back on the table...

Lessons From Homelessness For Affordable Housing

Like affordable housing, homelessness has received its share of media attention and calls for action. Homelessness has also been the subject of innovative programming and research, which are influencing...

A Day Late And A Dollar Short: Looking The Microsoft Gift Horse In The Mouth

A recent pledge of $500 million to help build affordable housing in Seattle led to excited buzz about private enterprise stepping up the the plate for affordable housing, when...

City Of Vancouver Successfully Puts Idle Homes To Work

Getting on for a year ago, we published a story that, among other things, described Vancouver, British Columbia's attempts to penalize absentee homeowners who keep housing empty and off...

Strong Calls For National Affordable Housing Leadership On Both Sides Of The Atlantic

At last! Solutions to the affordable housing conundrum have coincidentally been offered in both the United States and the United Kingdom that match the scale of this ever-widening crisis. The...

Battling Beyond the Back Yard: Affordable Housing Activism Succeeds Outside The Neighbourhood

Affordable housing activism has so far been a powerful force influencing the world-wide affordable housing crisis. One of the most surprising (and in some ways dispiriting) exhibitions of successful...
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