Why do we have housing? Amidst all of the press about rising or falling housing prices and rents, we’ve lost a piece of the plot. We need housing. It sustains us.
- Secure – here for us tomorrow and the day after that and the month after that and the years after that
- Habitable – dry, warm, free from pests, disease, mold, and damp, accessible to its residents, and structurally safe
- Useful – has safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, the means to store, prepare and consume food, the means to carry out personal hygiene and the means to dispose of waste safely, and space to sleep, and to socialize
- Connected – to employment, education, activities, and care
A growing number of people do not have housing with these elements. This is more prevalent among people who are poor, also for people with disabilities, people of colour, people of indigenous origin and people who identify as gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, trans-sexual or two spirited. Sadly, this is not new: it has been going on for some time.
The significance of who has suitable housing and who doesn’t are issues that we can take up and do something about.
Lately, a lot of eggs have gone in to the classical economics ‘supply and demand’ basket. With the ‘free’ market and profits as the central focus, issues of housing and who does or doesn’t have access to it have been considered peripheral.
The workings of the free market and profit do not necessarily provide solutions. They definitely do create problems. Our communities and countries are webs of social networks and obligations that we construct and can modify. We can decide that the market isn’t doing enough and that we can and should do extra-market things or shape the market differently.
We can decide that it’s in our community’s interests to have a thriving population. We can decide that having a home is essential to a thriving community. We can put resources in to providing housing that is secure, habitable, useful and connected. And we can decide to prioritize our actions to focus on supporting the people who are excluded by our current operations.
This blog focusses on housing for people who don’t have it and those who are struggling to hang on to it. We report successes. We also report the limitations of private market solutions and stop gap measures that fall short.
We welcome your thoughts and insights on the value of this initiative and stories that need to be told. And we’d be pleased to hear from anyone who feels they may have articles or insight pieces to contribute to our enterprise. Just contact us.
NB: You might wonder at the archived articles in this blog. affordable housing action.org began with a focus on affordable housing. Around the 1,000 posts mark, it became clear that the term ‘affordable housing‘ has taken on so many definitions that, most of the time, it fails to help people without housing, or those significantly in danger of losing it. The archives reflect that earlier definition.