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Author Topic: Social Housing
lagatta
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Babbler # 2534

posted 09 January 2006 09:54 AM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Here is a Winnipeg study about Social Housing, safety and security for women.
quote:
Mounting evidence shows that women with low incomes have acute housing needs, are at greater risk of living in unsafe and unhealthy environments, and require specific supports to achieve stable and affordable housing. This stems from the high incidence of poverty among women; one in five Canadian women live in poverty. Women who are Aboriginal, visible minorities, immigrants or refugees, disabled, senior or youth have higher levels of poverty, and therefore have more difficulties finding and affording suitable housing.

The housing crisis in Canada has been linked to the federal government's withdrawal from housing in the 1990s. The proportion of female-headed renter households paying 30% or more of their household income on housing increased from 38% to 47% between 1980 and 1995, and female-headed households comprise 45% of Canadian households with core housing need. As a result of the withdrawal of federal funding, there has been no expansion of social housing in Manitoba and a decrease in the total number of low-income rental units (...)


So, what can be done to increase funding for social housing (public, co-op, non-profit-corp) and what would be the best forms of social housing and best ways to approach this problem?


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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Babbler # 478

posted 09 January 2006 10:06 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Those are huge numbers, aren't they.

For personal reasons, I take this personally. Yes, that is partly a joke, but it is, like, a bitter joke.

But I shall try to be impersonal. One bit of history I can contribute:

The Finance Department in Ottawa has a very long history - very long, as in from the 1920s/30s - of ideological opposition to social housing. Even given governments / finance ministers who were relatively open to encouraging social-housing projects, the culture of that department has usually managed to sabotage long-term social-housing planning.

One of Ottawa's main ways of sabotaging social housing has been to download responsibility for it to the provinces. All the provinces have always been disastrously bad at housing: the provinces is where social housing goes to die. Municipalities are or could be better, but they never have the money or the power.

Small groups of activists have often had localized success in getting these projects through. Interestingly, we have a history of some creative private developers who have been seriously committed to social-housing policy.

What we don't have is organization at a general-enough level to affect the politicians. And, of course, we don't have enough informed politicians.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
jrootham
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posted 09 January 2006 11:30 AM      Profile for jrootham     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
All the provinces have always been disastrously bad at housing

Digression, this was one thing the Rae government did right. There were 17,000 units of co-op housing in the pipe when they were defeated.

Don't know why the prairie NDP governments are bad at it. In the long term, it saves money.


From: Toronto | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Scott Piatkowski
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posted 09 January 2006 11:41 AM      Profile for Scott Piatkowski   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by jrootham:
Digression, this was one thing the Rae government did right. There were 17,000 units of co-op housing in the pipe when they were defeated.

Sorry, but they deserve credit for their philosophical support (which was admittedly tough to maintain, with both the Tories and Liberals arguing for an end to the program) more than in the actual implementation of the jobsOntario Homes program. If the Rae government hadn't been so slow in getting the shovels in the ground, Harris wouldn't have been able to cancel more than a handful of those 17,000 units. The Rae government deliberately dragged their feet as a misguided cost savings measure (misguided because the bulk of the costs were to be amortized over the life of the mortgage, whereas most of the benefits -- jobs in construction and affordable housing unit for people in need -- would have been realized right away.

Those who think that I never criticize the NDP may want to bookmark this thread for future reference


From: Kitchener-Waterloo | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
jrootham
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posted 09 January 2006 11:56 AM      Profile for jrootham     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, OK, they weren't perfect. But better than the alternative. Even dragging their feet things would be a LOT better now.
From: Toronto | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Scott Piatkowski
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posted 09 January 2006 12:08 PM      Profile for Scott Piatkowski   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by jrootham:
Well, OK, they weren't perfect. But better than the alternative.

Agreed. In fact, that basically sums up my overall position on the Rae government.


From: Kitchener-Waterloo | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 09 January 2006 12:11 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
For some historical and international perspective, social housing in Red Vienna between the wars remains one of the most ambitious schemes ever developed, calling upon architects of the first rank.

Perhaps some babblers may recall the film "Julia" starring Vanessa Redgrave and Jane Fonda, and the scenes in social housing estates where the workers are defending them from the fascists?

(By the way, among the fascists many crimes - they more than doubled the rents...)


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Rod Manchee
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posted 14 January 2006 01:17 AM      Profile for Rod Manchee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
lagatta asked:
--
So, what can be done to increase funding for social housing (public, co-op, non-profit-corp) and what would be the best forms of social housing and best ways to approach this problem?
–

Before we get to the “how much” of funding, we have to look at the “how it is spent.” One thing that is continuously ignored in on-again-off-again government programs is that housing is a long term asset. Even new stuff without frills is going to lose money for the first decade or so, even if it’s rented at the “market.” But, like housing in the private market, it eventually breaks even, then makes a surplus which the private market takes as a profit and social housing uses to reduces(or even reverse) its reliance on public assistance.

How long this takes depends on what kind of social housing it is: public housing, which usually has most, if not all, of its tenants receiving assistance because they’re pretty poor, will take a long time to break even(or may never do so). Non-Profit housing, which will mix tenants able to pay a market rent(MR) with lower income tenants paying a lower rent geared to their income(RGI - the current standard is 30% of income) will break even and generate a surplus in a shorter period.. Experience over the last thirty years suggests that such mixed NP housing will break even in about 20-25 years and then will produce a surplus which can go to developing more units(at little or no public cost).

What the above means is that any realist appraisal of any of these programs has to consider how they work over a fairly long term, any programs should be designed to take account of the loss at the beginning, but making sure the later gains are re-invested, rather than just going back into general revenues.

The first modern NP program, authorized under S. 15.1 of the National Housing Act(NHA) was replaced, after only 5 years by the (NHA) 56.1 program, far too short a period for it have any measurable effect. Then rather than waiting to show how it behaved over the next 20 years or so(or even modelling how it could be expected to behave), an evaluation was done, apparently to rationalize the new program rather than to really examine the older one.(One standard for evaluation is to examine, then propose changes based on that examination).

There is a lot of Social Housing whose mortgages will be coming due over the next 20 years or so, making a lot of cash-flow from the units available. Some will be needed for up-keep on that stock as it ages, but some could be available for development of new stock. That does not mean that government programs are unnecessary, only that things are not as dire as one might think. But any new program should be much more carefully designed with the understanding that, while these programs may need substantial initial help, they can be designed so that the need for help eventually disappears and, given enough time, that earlier help can be paid back.

And that’s just the economics of the housing itself, taking no account of other advantages(effect on civil order, reducing welfare and public health costs, that kind of thing).


From: ottawa | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 14 January 2006 02:33 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Situation of the right to adequate housing in the Americas says ...

quote:
Overview of Violations of the Right to Housing in Canada

i) Homelessness has Become a National Disaster in Canada There is no reliable data on the number of homeless in Canada but most experts agree that there are now at least 250,000 individuals who experience homelessness each year in Canada.1 This is only the tip of the iceberg, of course, as hundreds of thousands more double up with friends or family or live in overcrowded or inadequate housing. Homelessness in Canada has been identified as a ‘national disaster’ by the mayors of the ten largest cities in Canada. Dozens of people die on the cold streets of Canada’s cities every winter and high rates of tuberculosis, hepatitis B and HIV are now a common feature of an expanding homeless population. Women and children have been dramatically affected by the epidemic of homelessness in Canada.2 The number of single parent households using shelters in Toronto increased by more than 50 per cent between 1990 and 200 (City of Toronto 2003: 41).3 Approximately 32,000 individuals use shelters for the homeless in the City of Toronto every year,



And I read that after GTA amalgamation of Toronto burbs, homelessness shot up to something like 44 000 .. .five years ago! So how up-to-date is the American data on us ?.

Homelessness in a country with more natural resources than we can pawn-off to corporate America is a national disgrace. This is the ultimate in Liberal and Conservative government incompetence in this frozen Puerto Rico. We're swimming in a sea of lumber, and there are tens of thousands of Canadian's who don't have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of. Unbelievable!. The poor in Canada have apparently become just another special interest group as far as our centre and right of centre SOB's are concerned.

[ 14 January 2006: Message edited by: Fidel ]


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
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posted 14 January 2006 06:07 PM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I don't think the answer lies in any kind of central planning scenario. It has to be bottom up if it's going to work.

The long term way would be to require developers to build housing that reflects the economic demographic of the municipality.

That's a long term solution and does little to address housing needs now.

No matter what the approach, I think a good part of the answer will have to come from engineers. Housing is unaffordable because we build unaffordable housing, and I think it's because we build buildings because that's the basic way we've been doing it for hundreds of years.

I'm sure there must be more efficient, more affordable models that take into account local materials and geography.

Doesn't it strike anyone as wierd that building construction is basically the same from Key West to Iqaluit?


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 14 January 2006 06:44 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Tommy_Paine:
I don't think the answer lies in any kind of central planning scenario. It has to be bottom up if it's going to work.

The long term way would be to require developers to build housing that reflects the economic demographic of the municipality.

That's a long term solution and does little to address housing needs now.


That's exactly what they've been pulling for the last 25 years - leaving the problem to "the market". Housing developers are supposed to allocate so many units of row/duplex housing to low income people. But it's not enough. And still, rents tend to rise and low income people end up looking for another place to live. It's obvious that market solutions are no solutions to homelessness and lack of affordable housing in a country suffering from no shortages of lumber or idle labour.


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
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posted 14 January 2006 07:19 PM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm not suggesting "leaving it to the market", I'm suggesting regulating, which by looking at the new developments in my municipality, is entirely lacking.
From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Advocacy2005
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posted 14 January 2006 10:56 PM      Profile for Advocacy2005   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The major problem with social housing is that people are TRAPPED there. If they try to work, their rent goes up. If they are on other benefits, such as ODSP or OW, these benefits also get cut back. Couple this with the cost of working, and then you will realize why it is so hard to get into rent-geared to income housing. I calculated it one time for myself, and found I was losing $1.20 for every dollar I earned, so WHY WORK? The best policy is to ensure that everybody gets enough to get by, and support themselves in market rates (reasonably), and does not have to turn to another form of entrapment to supposedly relieve poverty ... hydro, gas, food, clothing and telephone costs still go up, so I don't see how RGI housing is helpful. People should be able to live where they want (within reason, of course) and stay away from the crime-ridden areas, where many people are in social housing and will likely never get out.

Advocacy2005


From: Ontario | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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Babbler # 5594

posted 14 January 2006 11:16 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Tommy_Paine:
I'm not suggesting "leaving it to the market", I'm suggesting regulating, which by looking at the new developments in my municipality, is entirely lacking.

Ok, I suppose I just didn't fully absorb what you were saying, and I agree. The housing bubble in North America is just further evidence that when anything is left to the market, chaos tends to be result.

A friend was in a city east of Moscow two years ago. 80 rubles for an apartment on average, he says. He says his girl friend was embarassed by the old people begging in the streets, but said he didn't see any homeless people. 80 rubles, that's $3.22 a month for rent!. We need a fucking revolution in this ice hole of a country.


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
arborman
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posted 14 January 2006 11:35 PM      Profile for arborman     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
There is a direct link between the elimination of affordable housing funding and the move in BC from the lowest child poverty rate in the early 90's to the highest at present. 1 in 4 children in BC live in poverty - a staggering indictment of the NDP and Liberal governments over the past 10 years here.

The skyrocketing homelessness in all BC communities is also directly linked to the vanishing affordable housing stock.

Provinces are, actually, directly and primarily responsible for housing. However, they usually dry poverty and blame the feds (a popular move for any province). The feds do have the money, but abandoned housing in the early 90s - thanks Martin - so we now have as a direct result homelessness, skyrocketing property crime, addiction and families in crisis.

Policies actually have effects on the population. Go figure.


From: I'm a solipsist - isn't everyone? | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 14 January 2006 11:54 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by arborman:
There is a direct link between the elimination of affordable housing funding and the move in BC from the lowest child poverty rate in the early 90's to the highest at present.

That's funny, Ontario has endured 50 years of political conservatism interrupted by a brief run of liberal leadership, and we've got more homeless people than B.C. and the rest of Canada combined!. At the federal level, we've enjoyed 75 years of Liberal rule and interrupted by two terms of Mulroney and Campbell. I think the level of homelessness in this country is a stinging indictment of our two old line parties both.


quote:
When in opposition in 1990, Paul Martin said, “The housing crisis is growing at an alarming rate and the government(See Brian Mulroney's record) sits there and does nothing; it refuses to apply the urgent measures that are required to reverse this deteriorating situation. . . . Leadership must come from one source, and a national vision requires some national direction.”

Yet, as finance minister in 1996, he abolished what was left of the national housing program (created by a minority government in the 1970s). With the record surplus in 2000, he delivered a concrete plan for billions in corporate tax cuts, and vague words on building housing.



Federal policies create homelessness - Jack Layton

quote:
1 in 4 children in BC live in poverty - a staggering indictment of the NDP and Liberal governments over the past 10 years here.

And it would be higher if Statistics Canada were to include native poverty on reserves. Child poverty is high in B.C., but the issue of child poverty is nation-wide problem. If you care to know about rich nation trends, the three most western and most politically conservative developed nations tend to nurture higher child poverty overall. I wish you wouldn't blame the NDP for rising child poverty and rising abject poverty in Canada in general, arby, because it's way off the mark.

[ 15 January 2006: Message edited by: Fidel ]


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged

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