West Point Grey is out toward University of British Columbia and mostly it embodies the best of things Vancouver has to offer. Unless you are living there in a van. Such folk seem to be all over town now. For the moment, the police are concerned about the phenomenon but there are no plans for a US-style crackdown on van dwellers. As long as the vehicles remain mobile and nuisances are kept to a minimum it appears that this improvised manner of living is set to take hold. Why? Vancouver always had its share of social difficulty. After all, it’s comparatively mild, and it is literally the end of the road in Canada. Now it is also stupidly expensive for most waged workers. Small wonder, really.
image: A Kwanten via Flickr/CC
A draft policy document has been released by the City of Mississauga regarding housing affordability. Basically, the middle class can’t handle it here any more, at least not via wages alone.
Not expecting this to become a big spend ticket soon and even a reasonably well off municipality cannot go it alone on the affordable housing file. Thing is, those middle class workers presumably still have some role to play in the economy. If they aren’t going to be hard pressed, stressed out and even driven off by the cost of housing then something will have to be done.
Nearly a week was required just to get a basic description together of the damage done by Hurricane Katrina to New Orleans, Louisiana in 2005. Assessing Hurricane Harvey won’t be any easier. If Katrina is the template we know that lower income and racialized groups will be bearing the brunt of this, big time.
An item from Thursday’s Washington Post is a good starting point regarding this multi-layered event and its consequences.
Media largely blind to Harvey’s devastating impact on poor Communities.” Hurricanes don’t care if you’re rich, poor, white, or black—but that doesn’t mean that every person is equally vulnerable to a storm.”
Houston’s human catastrophe started long before the Storm. Decades of neglect, inequality, and disenfranchisement mean that all Houstonians, but especially the poorest and most vulnerable, have been left utterly undefended
Consider how inappropriate regional development makes Houston so vulnerable.
See also: (1207) Hurricane Harvey
image: screenshot of newsreel from Texas Archives holdings
Housing has been an issue in Peel Region, this blog’s home ground, for decades. Waiting lists are long and there are issues with building condition. Money from the province of Ontario is no doubt going to be welcome. This article raises the question of distribution as Toronto appears to have been allocated much of the anticipated funding, with Peel and other places less firmly mentioned. Peel Living, a social housing provider, is the Greater Toronto Area’s number three housing agency.
A seven times Pulitzer prize winning media outlet with a mandate rooted in Christian values ought to have a less shallow take on young people living in motor vehicles, no?
Or, is that asking too much? We get it, that people can live in something other than a detached house for a stretch, that life is an adventure and a little creativity can maybe go a long way. Odd circumstances are not necessarily a sign harm is being done. But, this piece is, well, read it for yourself and trust your instincts.
Why it’s becoming cool to live in your car – or a 150-sq. ft. apartment. High housing costs have prompted some in the middle and upper classes to rethink what they value – and be willing to give up the rest
Three pieces about the big concrete buildings. Two practical, one more emotional, human. Important stuff.
Zoning changes give new life to Toronto’s ‘apartment neighbourhoods’: Hume. Hundreds of apartment highrises in Toronto were built with assumption that residents “would drive where they wanted to go, so services weren’t necessary”
More than just ‘neighbours’. As the seniors in her building begin to leave her life, Katarina Ohlsson tries to find the word that encapsulates their importance
image: Craig Sunter via Flickr/CC
Urban street people in difficulty require major help and commitment of resources. Which leads us quickly to important moral and logistical propositions most of us are content to have nothing to do with. Recent work suggests over $50,000 per year is required.
image: via Flickr/CC
Is it just us or is there something ominous about the content at the link below? For working people in Canada the jacking up of rents that has gone along with the real estate bubble is akin to a substance toxic indeed.
Something’s happening in Canadian real estate that hasn’t been seen in 47 years
image: Tom Woodward via Flickr/CC
Consultations within Canada’s federal poverty reduction strategy can count an impressive and sensible report from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities among the front rank of contributions they have seen. For us it worked pretty well as summer reading material, too!
Ending poverty starts locally. Municipal recommendations for a Canadian poverty reduction strategy
fcm.ca (17 page .pdf file)