Arguments can, and are, being made that national housing crises do not exist. Some simply reframe a generalized idea of ‘affordability’ to suit the argument. One from the United Kingdom demonstrates that nationally, there are ‘already enough houses to provide a home for every family’ in spite of thunderous demands from experts and housing industry that more housing is needed.1 By and large these arguments are at least entertaining, if not important.2 They share one striking characteristic: all agree that affordability crises most definitely exist for people with the lowest incomes. It would be so reassuring if cities unveiling grand schemes to solve ‘housing crises’ would reflect the urgency of these low income affordability crises.
But no. Cities seem preoccupied with solving a . . . real? imaginary? . . . set of housing crises by slicing up the population into ‘affordability’ streams. They use those streams to shape shiny new housing projects, with a little bit of housing subsidy carved out for everyone.
Has anybody been left out? Well, obviously, the rich! But . . oops!
What about those with no income, or with tiny pensions? How about those working hard at a city’s many minimum wage jobs? Shucks. With all the clever average-median-mean income or cost slicing and dicing, so often those poor unfortunate bottom-of-the-income barrel folks just happen not to make the cut.
Oh, them? Oh, we’ll deal with them somewhere down the road. In Phase Two. Just after we’ve run out of money. Then.
Never mind. While the middle class can shelter under a roof, the poorest of the poor can get by with vouchers. Such is the heart of some of Toronto, Ontario’s recent Housing Now announcements.
Read more at Toronto.com: Residents Worry Housing Now Plan Will Not Fix Rental Crisis In Etobicoke
- See, from the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence: Tackling The UK Housing Crisis: Is Supply The Answer?
- Curious? Here are three examples: America’s Non-Housing Crisis Spreads To Infect The United Kingdom