[Hpn] Thinking About the Cost of Housing...

William C. Tinker wtinker@verizon.net
Sun, 29 Apr 2007 20:09:43 -0400


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Live Simply, Give Generously, Practice Hospitality=20
A blog for those interested in issues of faith and justice.

http://cbmjustice.blogspot.com/2007/04/thinking-about-cost-of-housing.htm=
l

Sunday, April 29, 2007
Thinking About the Cost of Housing...=20

When I woke up this morning I turned on the tv news and caught the end =
of a special report on housing in Canada. The gist of it was this: as =
you move west the cost of housing is literally through the roof. That's =
if you can afford a roof at all! The report looked at how much house you =
could get in different cities for $350,000. By the time you get to =
Edmonton, there's not much available at that price. They did show a =
small home - apparently not all that well kept - for $350,000. It was =
listed as a "tear down", meaning that for $350,000 plus the price of =
tearing down the house, you could have a lot for construction of a brand =
new "dream home". In Vancouver, $350,000 could get you a living space of =
about 700 square feet. You get the idea.

As I sat there watching, I couldn't help thinking of the 14,000 =
Canadians who are currently homeless on any given day - living on the =
street or in charity shelters or in makeshift "tents" under bridges or =
in back alleys. And I thought of the one billion people in the world who =
do not have basic decent shelter. Images of the shanty towns I visited =
in Nairobi flashed through my mind. Then I thought about an ad on tv =
that I find particularly disturbing - I can't honestly remember what =
store is being advertised (some sort of direct sale box store) but a =
young couple is boasting about the $750 faucets they got for just $350 =
(or something like that). I'm thinking, $350 for a faucet!? Have we =
totally lost our minds?

In Canada, the poverty level (measured as a Low Income Cut-Off or LICO) =
is based on the proportion of income spent on food, clothing and =
shelter. If an individual or family spends 20% more of their income on =
food, clothing and shelter than the average in that area, they're =
considered poor. It's a relative measure. In cities like Montreal, =
Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver, poor people spend half of =
their income or more on housing alone. So, I think to myself, what's =
going to happen as more and more people migrate from rural areas to =
urban centres? Are there creative solutions that might alleviate the =
pressure and preoccupation people have when it comes to finding adequate =
shelter?

I spent about 10 days out west last fall and, as you can imagine, =
everyone was talking about the cost of housing. In East Vancouver, I =
visited a church that opens its doors a couple of nights a week to the =
homeless. And I heard about a couple of businessmen from that =
congregation who had bought hotels in East Vancouver, renovated them and =
used them as single occupancy rental units for low income housing. I was =
impressed that they would put people ahead of profits... This winter I =
met a couple of people that are involved in an organization called the =
Multi-faith Housing Initiative (MHI)in Ottawa. Their ultimate objective =
is to encourage churches to find creative ways to meet the housing needs =
of people in their communities. The organization owns a couple of =
properties - a home and six units in a condominium complex - which they =
rent to low income earners. But even more importantly, the MHI is =
encouraging churches and their congregations to get directly involved by =
using church property and individual homes for low income housing =
alternatives.

Oh - one other thing about East Vancouver... because of the cost of =
housing, people are beginning to live in various kinds of "community" =
arrangements, sharing space and expenses. And, they're discovering some =
of the non-fiscal benefits of living in community. To be fair, they've =
been driven to it out of necessity, but maybe we could learn from their =
experience. Interestingly, the church has become something of a hub in =
the neighborhood and has gradually developed innovative responses to =
other community needs. Hm. I wonder... might this model work in other =
places? For those of us who are Christians, doesn't it remind you of a =
few verses in Acts where it seems that the believers in Jerusalem were =
actually living in community - "selling their possessions and goods, =
they gave to anyone as he had need..." (Acts 2:45). Hm. I wonder...

William Charles Tinker=20
New Hampshire Homeless=20
Founded 11-28-99
25 Granite Street=20
Northfield,N.H. 03276-1640 USA=20
Advocates,activists for disabled,displaced human rights.=20
1-603-286-2492=20
http://www.missingkids.com=20
http://www.nationalhomeless.org=20
http://www.newhampshirehomeless.org=20
newhampshirehomeless-subscribe@topica.com=20

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<H1 class=3Dtitle><A href=3D"http://cbmjustice.blogspot.com/">Live =
Simply, Give=20
Generously, Practice Hospitality</A> </H1></DIV>
<DIV class=3Ddescriptionwrapper>
<P class=3Ddescription><SPAN>A blog for those interested in issues of =
faith and=20
justice.</SPAN></P>
<P class=3Ddescription><SPAN><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2><A=20
href=3D"http://cbmjustice.blogspot.com/2007/04/thinking-about-cost-of-hou=
sing.html">http://cbmjustice.blogspot.com/2007/04/thinking-about-cost-of-=
housing.html</A></FONT></SPAN></P></DIV></DIV></DIV></DIV>
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<DIV class=3D"widget Blog" id=3DBlog1>
<DIV class=3Dblog-posts><!-- google_ad_section_start -->
<H2 class=3Ddate-header>Sunday, April 29, 2007</H2>
<DIV class=3D"post uncustomized-post-template"><A =
name=3D6049676725747941976></A>
<H3 class=3Dpost-title><A=20
href=3D"http://cbmjustice.blogspot.com/2007/04/thinking-about-cost-of-hou=
sing.html">Thinking=20
About the Cost of Housing...</A> </H3>
<DIV class=3Dpost-header-line-1></DIV>
<DIV class=3Dpost-body>
<P>
<P>When I woke up this morning I turned on the tv news and caught the =
end of a=20
special report on housing in Canada. The gist of it was this: as you =
move west=20
the cost of housing is literally through the roof. That's if you can =
afford a=20
roof at all! The report looked at how much house you could get in =
different=20
cities for $350,000. By the time you get to Edmonton, there's not much =
available=20
at that price. They did show a small home - apparently not all that well =
kept -=20
for $350,000. It was listed as a "tear down", meaning that for $350,000 =
plus the=20
price of tearing down the house, you could have a lot for construction =
of a=20
brand new "dream home". In Vancouver, $350,000 could get you a living =
space of=20
about 700 square feet. You get the idea.</P>
<P>As I sat there watching, I couldn't help thinking of the 14,000 =
Canadians who=20
are currently homeless on any given day - living on the street or in =
charity=20
shelters or in makeshift "tents" under bridges or in back alleys. And I =
thought=20
of the one billion people in the world who do not have basic decent =
shelter.=20
Images of the shanty towns I visited in Nairobi flashed through my mind. =
Then I=20
thought about an ad on tv that I find particularly disturbing - I can't =
honestly=20
remember what store is being advertised (some sort of direct sale box =
store) but=20
a young couple is boasting about the $750 faucets they got for just $350 =
(or=20
something like that). I'm thinking, $350 for a faucet!? Have we totally =
lost our=20
minds?</P>
<P>In Canada, the poverty level (measured as a Low Income Cut-Off or =
LICO) is=20
based on the proportion of income spent on food, clothing and shelter. =
If an=20
individual or family spends 20% more of their income on food, clothing =
and=20
shelter than the average in that area, they're considered poor. It's a =
relative=20
measure. In cities like Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary and =
Vancouver, poor=20
people spend half of their income or more on housing alone. So, I think =
to=20
myself, what's going to happen as more and more people migrate from =
rural areas=20
to urban centres? Are there creative solutions that might alleviate the =
pressure=20
and preoccupation people have when it comes to finding adequate =
shelter?</P>
<P>I spent about 10 days out west last fall and, as you can imagine, =
everyone=20
was talking about the cost of housing. In East Vancouver, I visited a =
church=20
that opens its doors a couple of nights a week to the homeless. And I =
heard=20
about a couple of businessmen from that congregation who had bought =
hotels in=20
East Vancouver, renovated them and used them as single occupancy rental =
units=20
for low income housing. I was impressed that they would put people ahead =
of=20
profits... This winter I met a couple of people that are involved in an=20
organization called the Multi-faith Housing Initiative (MHI)in Ottawa. =
Their=20
ultimate objective is to encourage churches to find creative ways to =
meet the=20
housing needs of people in their communities. The organization owns a =
couple of=20
properties - a home and six units in a condominium complex - which they =
rent to=20
low income earners. But even more importantly, the MHI is encouraging =
churches=20
and their congregations to get directly involved by using church =
property and=20
individual homes for low income housing alternatives.</P>
<P>Oh - one other thing about East Vancouver... because of the cost of =
housing,=20
people are beginning to live in various kinds of "community" =
arrangements,=20
sharing space and expenses. And, they're discovering some of the =
non-fiscal=20
benefits of living in community. To be fair, they've been driven to it =
out of=20
necessity, but maybe we could learn from their experience. =
Interestingly, the=20
church has become something of a hub in the neighborhood and has =
gradually=20
developed innovative responses to other community needs. Hm. I wonder... =
might=20
this model work in other places? For those of us who are Christians, =
doesn't it=20
remind you of a few verses in Acts where it seems that the believers in=20
Jerusalem were actually living in community - "selling their possessions =
and=20
goods, they gave to anyone as he had need..." (Acts 2:45). Hm. I =
wonder...</P>
<DIV style=3D"CLEAR: both"><FONT face=3DArial=20
size=3D2></FONT></DIV></DIV></DIV></DIV></DIV></DIV></DIV></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>William Charles Tinker <BR>New =
Hampshire Homeless=20
<BR>Founded 11-28-99<BR>25 Granite Street <BR>Northfield,N.H. 03276-1640 =
USA=20
<BR>Advocates,activists for disabled,displaced human rights. =
<BR>1-603-286-2492=20
<BR><A =
href=3D"http://www.missingkids.com">http://www.missingkids.com</A> =
<BR><A=20
href=3D"http://www.nationalhomeless.org">http://www.nationalhomeless.org<=
/A>=20
<BR><A=20
href=3D"http://www.newhampshirehomeless.org">http://www.newhampshirehomel=
ess.org</A>=20
<BR><A=20
href=3D"mailto:newhampshirehomeless-subscribe@topica.com">newhampshirehom=
eless-subscribe@topica.com</A>=20
<BR></FONT></DIV></BODY></HTML>

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