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Public and Social Housing

Posts concerning housing for people with very low or no income.  The housing is provided separately from the speculative private housing market on a permanent basis.

Could Social Housing Kickstart COVID-Stalled Building Industries?

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For decades, many governments inclined to goose their housing industry have favoured assistance to new homeowners, rather than stimulating the economy by supporting new rental housing construction. Australia has...

A Fifty Year 0ld Pointer Towards Both A Renewed Environment And Global Health

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In a new/old Treehugger article, The Architecture of the Well-tempered Environment: a late review, author Lloyd Alter pokes fun at his reaquaintance with an article some 50 years old. That...

COVID-19: Getting To The Bottom Of The Nursing Home Story In Ontario

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In Ontario, Canada, there have been two COVID-19 stories: one in the community and one in long term care homes. The number of outbreaks, and higher frequencies of COVID-19...

Take A Trip Into Democracy’s Dark Ages — Already Here And Spreading

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From a romantic point of view, America's flower-child city has everything. San Francisco has atmosphere, sea views (when the fog has lifted), quaintness, vibrancy, and most of all success...

Housing Crises: Developers Love The Problem, Not The Solution

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To hear the housing industry talking about it, they are the embodiment of all that is right about Adam Smith's economic theories. They build only to satisfy a public...

COVID-19 Brings New Urgency World-Wide For Rent Controls

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Before COVID-19, there was evidence that investor influence, which dammed up attempts to prevent rent control measures, is crumbling. The past year in the United States, Oregon led the way...

COVID-19: Together Is Coming Apart

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We're all in this together. This sentiment is expressed by children and adults in the posters and signs that are going up to help us get through COVID-19. If...

Homes For The Homeless: Mission Impossible Or Impossible Missionaries?

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In the United Kingdom, COVID-19 has demonstrated the awesome power of a government with a clear objective and the means to achieve it. Under the direction of the national...

Housing Ombudsmen: Whose Ombuddies Will They Actually Be?

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The ever-growing low-income housing crisis is largely due to the uncontrolled free-market commodification of housing that raises rents and purchase prices beyond the reach of those with small, or...

The West Has Elevated Nations Of Millions. Why Not Its Own Homeless?

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A must-watch Ted TalkThe Best Stats You've Ever Seen uses global statistics in an extraordinary animated way that is highly visual and actually understandable! The talk and its attendant animation punctures the...

A New Irish PPP Approach For Meaningful Volumes Of Social Housing

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This website has been rather relentless in its criticism of social housing built by public private partnerships (PPPs), which tag a small social housing caboose onto the back end...

Let Banging On Pots Be A Brief Stand-In For A Gift Of A Fine Social Home

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A group of UK housing associations are proposing a 'Homes For Heroes' housing initiative modelled on the social housing drive following World War I. Banging pots in appreciation daily...

COVID-19 — England Steps Up Fight Against Domestic Violence And Sexual Slavery

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The National Government in England has joined other countries in announcing additional funding for programs to assist people who experience domestic abuse, which has risen significantly during the COVID-19...

From Australia, A 2-Step, Costed, Plan To House EVERYONE

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Without any true desire by governments to make the changes needed to end homelessness, the problem has been growing towards a crisis in many nations. That was before COVID-19. Now,...

Australians Resist COVID-19 Path To Eliminate Homelessness

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Lucky (or well-managed) Western Australia with its flattened COVID-19 caseload curve. It is no longer freaking into the air — a startled cat — like all the rest of...

The Question Of Handouts For . . . Evil? . . . Essential? Landlords

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For anyone who is a renter (as this writer is) there's never any difficulty to finding some transgression, small or large, over which to gnash teeth. (For example my landlord's...

Scotland: COVID-19 Is Bringing Modest Good News To Some Renters

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At the price of losing what may be an all-important local industry — tourism, renters in holiday destinations are seeing the impact of dramatic economic changes upon landlords. This is...

Reviving Adam Smith

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A researcher at University College London draws attention to Adam Smith's theory of economic rent. Smith is widely known as the the father of free market economics. The theory...

Resilience, Mandatory Savings And Successful Social Housing

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Resilience, mandatory savings and social housing might appear to be strange bedfellows, but an article linked below from Nigeria explains how mandatory savings steered into a national housing fund...

What Is Social Exclusion, Anyway?

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Imagine three sets of people who are asked to describe their housing search: The first set are one person households looking for a one bedroom apartment. One is employed,...

COVID-19 — Government Killed Work. Should It Kill Rent, Too? If So, How?

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Shelterforce takes a lengthy look 'from the left' at the plight of renters without income to pay their rent. It focuses on rent cancellation for the duration of the...

Need An Extra Tax For The Poor? In The UK It’s ‘Too Many Bedrooms’

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What better time to be thinking about a better social housing future than standing in a quicksand of failure from the past?

COVID-19 And A Tested Program That Helps Tenants To Pay Rent

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This is a shout out to the Rent Assist program, which operates in the province of Manitoba. It helps all tenants with low incomes to pay their rent and...

Renter Or Owner-Frog Cozy In Warming Water? Stop The Future Now!

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Do you own? Or rent? (That would seem to cover most of you.) Take a look at your future as the commodification of housing ever-so-gradually turns up the heat....

Staying Home Is Not The Centre Point Of All COVID-19 Responses

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Governments in Canada's far north have taken a different approach to the COVID-19 epidemic.  They are encouraging residents to resume traditional practices of living on the land, rather than...

Homeless Services For Indigenous People In Canada Get A Boost

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A group of researchers in Canada has just issued a guideline for those assisting Indigenous people experiencing homelessness. This assistance is most timely, as Indigenous people are eight times...

A New Yorker Update On The Slow-Rolling Rent Non-Payment Disaster

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Shades of a long-gone American social safety net, shredded away in an 'every man for himself' world of modern profiteering where no human necessity is safe from predation. Ideas of...

Political Shaming Has All But Killed Social Housing In America

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Whatever the many reasons behind the collective government destruction of social housing in America, the mechanism of that destruction was straightforward — shaming. Shaming those who lived in social housing...

COVID-19: Nursing Home Care — A Tale Of Two Provinces

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Meet Laurie and Kim. They are over 80, and need help with activities daily living and the care of a nurse. They both live in privately operated nursing homes...

For North American High Rise Social Housing Haters: Small Can Be Beautiful

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Or, in the case of one particular social housing project in France, small can be pig-ugly, at least in the view of this affordablehousingaction.org writer. But fortunately we all...

Tracing NY COVID-19 Death: A Broken Trail Towards Housing?

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New York is suffering a tragedy befitting a country, not a city. This small, though densely packed, corner of the United States has the dubious honour of being harder...

Social Housing: Why Women Get Evicted When Some Other Dude Did It

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You've lived in the same home for over 20 years, and always paid the rent on time. So why has your landlord decided to evict you? You live in social...

COVID-19: Brought To You By Bats & Pangolins . . . Or. . . Inequality?

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An intriguing article in The Guardian dares to turn the cause of pandemics on its head. It offers historical evidence that, whatever 'bug' might trigger an outbreak of illness, the...

Canada’s Alternative Budget Urges Feds To Step Up To The Social Housing Plate

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The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives issued its 2020 alternative budget just as the COVID-19 pandemic was declared.The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives/Centre Canadien De Politiques Alternatives is a...

Government Will Protect Your Homes When . . . What? Evicted Already?

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Are you encouraged by national and regional government crisis measures to forestall evictions and mortgage foreclosures? Think again. There seems to be an inclination to believe that, by stalling the inevitable,...

Homeless? Have We Got A Solution For You! (The Usual One)

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Why bother to report yet again about riding people who are homeless out of town on a rail? After all, somewhere at this very moment an official is probably...

Rent Strike ‘Cause We Gotta: Is It Just Lipstick On A Pig?

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April 1 arrived with a whimper from renters. Across the U.S., COVID-19 related circumstances meant that at least 30% of renters could not pay rentSee in CNN: New Data...

Learning From The Past: Historic Housing Design For Health And Safety

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From the trivial to the profound, from in-house to community-wide, here's a small collection of historical building and community design features from the past that might inform housing and...

Strange COVID-19 Bedfellows Press For Social Housing

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Who wants to build social housing? Not the housing industry. They've been quite upfront and vocal over the past few years about the housing they would prefer to build...

COVID-19 Exposes Glaring Weakness of PPP Housing Supplements

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A great leap of faith permitted 'small-government' politics to largely abandon responsibility for social housing. Supposedly, one way or another, private enterprise can do things more economically and efficiently and...

The CARES Act: Evictions, Foreclosures On Pause For Some. Then What?

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An article by three U.S. Law Professors explains how the federal CARES Act only momentarily addresses the threat of eviction and only for a select group of owners and...

A Chorus Calling For Social Housing In Victoria, Australia

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Over 250 individuals and groups have given input to an Inquiry Into Homelessness that is being conducted by the Victoria state government in Australia. Public housing is prominent among...

Sure, You Could Afford The Rent, Just. Until COVID-19 Ate Your Veggies

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Food distribution in North America is a complex, sophisticated business that runs smoothly in all but the worst times. These ARE the worst times. What Has Food Distribution Got To Do...

English Tenants Earn The Right To Kick The Tires On Housing Rentals

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In the midst of the COVID-19 uproar, a new law benefiting English tenants crept into being with little fanfare. Tenants and landlords have for 35 years been 'protected' by the Landlord...

Covid-19 Comic Relief: How’s Your Diphtheria?

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Okay, its a little off our usual topic but we note, courtesy of the The New York Times, that chilblains are the latest in a growing list of signs...

New Scottish End-Homelessness Recipe: 1. Find The Right Disease

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And it seems that in the United Kingdom including Scotland, the national government has found the right disease. Only COVID-19 found the government, rather than the other way around. Nevertheless,...

Sharing Shelter With A Corporation: Irreconcilable Differences?

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Thinking about sharing as a way of keeping a truly affordable roof over your head while maintaining some control through home ownership?

COVID-19 Offers A Way To Wrestle Land Out Of Free Market Stratosphere

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Investors grow cautious during global calamities. These days, land and housing prices will be falling, at least momentarily. Two articles from opposite sides of the Atlantic discuss the possible window...

Different Strokes For Different Folks: Social Housing Design Lab, Mexico

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Looking for a some rays of sunshine that reflect a better housing future for low income families? Different climates, different histories, different social and cultural communities: a Mexican 'laboratory for...

Is The Foundation of North American Health A Hospital, Or A Home?

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Two hard core All-American values — Freedom of Choice (for those who have money) and Equal Opportunity (for those who have money) have been important philosophical bulwarks against leftist...

Health Crisis to Homeless Crisis: The U.S. Eviction Gathering Storm

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Yes, the American Congress has banned evictions during the COVID-19 crisis. A fine symbolic gesture for a legislature increasingly unable to pass legislation at all. But what good is...

COVID-19 Calls For Start, Not Stop, Of NYC Housing Health Initiatives

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Medical facilities are working overtime to preserve human health during COVID-19. Staff are putting their lives on the line to save others. Let's not lose sight of the basic foundations...

Proven Yet Abandoned: Lofty Public Housing Aspirations Can Be Regained

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In the final quarter of the 20th century, public housing on both sides of the Atlantic fell victim to 'Thatcherite' small-government philosophy. Governments don't belong in the housing business....

COVID-19: Building A Life Line For All Tenants

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A group of agencies have started a petition to help Canadian tenants during and after the COVID-19 response. Some provinces have placed a temporary ban on evictions during COVID-19. Regardless,...

Urban Changes During And After COVID-19: Sightline Does 15 Quick Takes

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Sightline Institute is an American think tank. Its mission is to make the northwestern United States a global model of sustainability — strong communities, a green economy, and a...

Public Housing: Who Benefits? In The US, Even the Residents Are Betrayed

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In America, it's hard to imagine a bright future for public housing, notwithstanding that few if any alternatives appear to match its capacity for sheltering low and no income...

Lawbreaking Landlords And Agents Demand Renters’ Retirement Funds

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In the midst of a world-wide crisis, jobless and penniless Australian renters are encountering rottweiler landlords chasing a bite of renter 'super' (Aussie slang for superannuation). The government, having...

Canada’s COVID-19 Pandemic Triggers A Curtain Call For Social Housing

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The following article provides a clear and detailed history of one country's journey from some of the most affordable housing in the world, to some of the least. It reflects...

A Wooden High-rise Tower Will Offer Support to LA Homeless

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In March we posted a story about the possibilities of 'returning' to wood construction for social housing, as it was now being treated seriously as an alternative to more...

Domestic Abuse: Can/Should Social Landlords Handle It Better?

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The COVID-19 response draws attention to our homes and how we live together. Some issues that we were struggling to fix before have been made even worse. Domestic violence...

Rent Strikes: Could They Become An Antidote To COVID-19 Calamity?

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Governments and business interests have conspired over the last few decades to break union influence over workers and prevent costly strikes that drive up wages. Some might argue those efforts...

Gender Responsive Standards For Housing, Please!

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A groundbreaking meeting was held recently between two UN bodies, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and UN Women (UN/Women). The two groups are talking about developing...

COVID-19 Tenant Defaults: BC Provides Relief, Not Just Delay

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The provincial government in British Columbia is implementing a program that will assist tenants in the private market to pay their rent. This program complements other measures including a...

Hong Kong Social Housing: Different Strokes House 50% Of Folks

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During the 20th century, different nations found different reasons to develop different forms of social housing. Exceptionalist America more or less did theirs one way for one reason in one...

US & Canada Forbid The Financial Waterboarding of Tenants. . . For Now

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The North American bioregion known informally as Cascadia presents a useful focus on how well the Canadian and U.S governments are handling housing stability in the face of COVID-19....

Commodification To The Max: Renting In A Wildly Uncontrolled Market 

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Not all that long ago, religions assumed responsibility for the less fortunate with local governments picking up the slack.

Evict Millions? Not Now, But Probably Tomorrow. Ilhan Omar Objects.

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There are a growing number of warnings about a gathering storm of tenant evictions unless some action is taken to move the focus of the American Congress away from...

Sorry American Renters, Banks Must Force You To Die Homeless

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Try not to be distracted by bank histrionics. They need you to die, not themselves. Die? Yes. There are solid statistics to back it up. Housing is a vital health...

COVID-19 Reveals Serious Flaws in Federal Systems of Government

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One of our writers (a renter), emailed her Canadian Federal Government Member of Parliament this past week. It was a personal concern: why had recently announced federal COVID-19 emergency...

Financing Social Housing

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In the years following WWII, national governments directly funded and built social housing that was affordable for people with very low incomes. The policies, programs and funding that enabled...

COVID-19 Response: How To Make It So

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How long does it take to find housing for people who are living rough? Would you believe 48 hours? Faced with the COVID-19 crisis, the national government in England took...

What Can Be Done About Criminality Linked to Housing Instability?

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Housing insecurity and criminality are linked. How, and why? For decades in North America, many were quick to answer. People who are housing insecure — low and no income tenants...

COVID-19 Silver Linings? Not Without Some Changes To Our Cityscapes

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In between involuntary gorging on a feeding frenzy of bad news, some media outlets are searching for the silver lining in the current corona virus pandemic. Several stories have emerged...

American Public Housing? Thumbs Down! Social Housing? Thumbs Up!

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In North America there are two ways of dealing with the term 'public housing.' One, which we've chosen of late, has been to blur the distinction between it and...

Modern Urbanism: Hoods Without Neighbours

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Somewhere nearby, I can hear people beating on pans to praise health workers beset by COVID-19. From my balcony in urban Toronto, I can't see any of them. I...

Bad Tenant Disease: Will Govt Bow To Canberra Neighbourhood-Poisoning

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Will the government inevitably bow to developers eyeing The Causeway — a public housing estate extraordinarily close to where it's all happening in Australia's capital city? What an extraordinary profit-making...

COVID-19 While Living In The Land Of Second Class Citizens — Rental Housing

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Renter status? Over the last half century or so, free market renters have been viewed by governments, and indeed citizenry as a whole, as not-quite-ready for prime time. Not, of...

US Public Housing. Learning To Avoid It? Or to Build It Better?

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Three decades or so ago, it suited the political times to declare American social housing dead. If not entirely gone and forgotten, still-remaining projects have ever since been treated...

COVID-19 & Evictions: HUD Pokes Its Head Out Of The Foxhole

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In the midst of the world's COVID-19 pandemic, congratulations to HUD (The U.S. Department of Urban Development) for seeking legislative power to prevent evictions by state and local Public...

Winning Housing Crisis Whack-A-Mole With A Social Housing Mallet

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Axios.com has received wisdom from realtor associations, builder associations, and renter associations in order to frame a case for social housing. No, they haven't noticed what they've done. But they've done...

Business Tax Activists Forced Into Mercy Detour By COVID-19

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Seattle activists intent on forcing major businesses to share in the local housing burden are retooling their council proposal in the light of COVID-19. Just a few weeks ago, their...

NZ: Less Government Self-Puffed, So-Called Housing Solutions, Please.

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Governments around the world have, for the last few decades, abandoned social housing as a kind of 'failure in progress,' helped along by conveniently diverting dollars for truly affordable...

COVID-19: Social Housing As A Fundamental Public Health Need

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With housing a vital containment against the spread of COVID-19, housing is finally receiving national public health recognition both needed and deserved. Shelter, along with food and clean water,...

Home Sweet Social Housing Home

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Nostalgia for something never experienced? Such is the feeling of a Boston Globe article, which yearns for a form of housing never successfully taken hold in North America. The...

COVID-19: Staying At Home To Stay Safe From The Virus May Be The Least Of Your Worries

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Being at home may avoid COVID-19, but it's not safe for people who live with a partner who is violent. The French media outlet MTV found that reports of...

COVID-19 + Social Housing + Fixed Income? Keep Paying Your Rent!

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A timely reminder comes from the Australian east coast. It is directed at fixed income social housing residents and their housing authorities. The advice works for social housing pretty...

How Deregulation Saved Screwed New Zealand’s Homebuilding Industry

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You're not by any chance associated with a city council currently vulnerable to seduction by a housing industry solution to end all housing crises? Surely you've heard the battle cry:...

COVID-19: Our Walls Of Defence Are The Houses Of Our Community

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Retreat to the castle, pull up the drawbridge, deny entry to 'others,' a.k.a. the enemy. We all know the drill for community defence. In this age it doesn't so...

Ivory Towers in Montreal, Quebec: Elevated Beyond Housing Responsibility?

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Congratulations to housing activists from Comité d’action de Parc-Extension in the city of Montréal, Québec, where rapid gentrification and a new campus extension of Université de Montréal are driving...

COVID-19: Advice For Homeless Services

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The Homeless Hub in Canada has published a newsletter with articles and advice about protecting people who are homeless during health emergencies. Needless to say, it is particularly timely...

Better Late Than Never? Credit Reporting Public Housing Tenant Rental Data

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A recent study commissioned by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) introduces the issue succinctly: "HUD subsidizes the rent of nearly one million very low-income households who...

COVID-19: What’s Happening With Eviction In America?

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What's happening on the eviction front? We sure as heck don't have the resources to contact and compile all the many rapidly changing events around the world. Best we point...

Australian Researchers Call For Social Housing To End Homelessness

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In a recent report from Australia, researchers studied the assistance that is offered to people who are homeless and living with a mental illness. The report recommends changes to...

COVID-19: Tenants Face Eviction And Infection

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April 1, 2020. In countries with a substantial share of free market rental housing, that is the first day that rent payments are due in the new and unnatural...

CA Landlords: 2 Birds In Hand Worth More Than 1 In COVID-19 Bush

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With renters in California, like the rest of North America, facing enormous COVID-19 uncertainty, at least moral assistance has shown up from an unlikely quarter. Landlord groups are advising...

Past Pandemics Have Improved Lives. Can It Happen This Time?

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Entire nations that have faced pandemics have momentarily paid a steep price in human lives as well as in social and economic collapse. But these disasters have often provoked...

3D Printed Walls: Housing Technology That Plays Well With Others? Or Not.

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3D Printers capable of creating sophisticated devices such as fireable guns have tweaked the imagination of dreamers. Those with housing on their minds are not only proposing, but actually...

Homelessness: Nothing To Do With You? COVID-19 Says Otherwise

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Concerned public health officials as well as those providing shelter and housing support are scrambling to help protect homeless people from the coronavirus pandemic.Here's just one of many examples,...

When It Comes To Preserving Social Housing, What’s So Bad About RAD?

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Historically, the most effective way of creating new social housing has been national government-funded construction upon land removed from the free market. Sustaining that housing has been another saga altogether....

COVID-19 And Housing Policy – Looking Ahead In The US

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Three researchers have just published an article that proposes changes to housing policy, in light of the COVID-19 epidemic in the US. Ingrid Gould Ellen, Katherine O'Regan and Sophie...
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