Skip to main content

Everyone Needs Affordable Housing

We all need a home, a shelter from harm, a place to return to, cupboards for the archive of our lives, tables to prepare and eat food, a bed to sleep in, and a toilet. If we are lucky we hope for beautiful views and good neighbours. Regardless of whether you earn $10,000 a year or $100,000, whether you need five hundred or five thousand square feet, whether you own or rent, you need a home you can afford.

Affordable means more than money. It means the ability to sustain the place, to maintain it as a shelter from chaos or threat. It means the capacity to nurture those other beings who share it with us. This is a basic need we worked out centuries ago. No civilized society believes it’s okay for some to be left to live in the forest or storefront doorways because they can’t afford a home, so why would anyone think we don’t need affordable housing?

What cleavage in our common sense would lead anyone to be against affordable housing? Who benefits from the lack of it?

In the public domain of conversation, ‘affordable housing’ has come to mean housing for those who, for some reason of luck, health or happenstance, have less income than the price of a home. If you can’t afford a home then you can’t afford peace or self-esteem, and in the process you lose community support. Friends and family that most of us take for granted, become distant, lost even, because the desperation felt by those who are homeless is heartbreaking and difficult to endure. Loved ones want to rescue, help, advise, even take control sometimes, but as long as a person is homeless nothing seems to help. We all grieve and squabble to fix it.

The state none of us can afford for long is to see others suffer. Those who suffer are marginalised, placed out of sight and out of mind. I know this because I was homeless when I was twelve. My parents split up. They were not bad or irresponsible, but through a series of events they could not control, found the emotional cost of living together was unaffordable.

Suddenly my mother, brother, sister, and I found ourselves living in the homes of our relatives. Suddenly we were a burden. Then we followed our mother to a house where she would clean for a widower and his children. Soon after arriving, my mother feared the home-owner expected her services in bed too. Furthermore we felt the resentment of the children whose home we had invaded, so we lived in one bedroom as quietly as possible.

Now we were the recipients of freely given advice from self-appointed experts, indicating the many ways in which we were to blame for the predicament we found ourselves in. Our world held us in judgement, and wherever we went we carried the marks of failure, and entered a new landscape of pot holes and opportunists.

However, we were lucky. With the help of others, we found a temporary home above the local clinic, and didn’t need the numbing effects of alcohol and drugs to survive the chill of storefront doorways.

When we have food and shelter, when we are not worried where the next mortgage payment, meal, or couch will be found, we have the capacity to explore who we are within our community. Sure there are some who can do this in dangerous and dire conditions, but most communities are built on the civil engagement of people who are not heroes, but who have found compassion and creativity because their own pain is manageable.


  1. Beautiful, compelling, poignant. Thank you.

  2. Thank you for visiting Annamarie.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Ultimate Goal of Patriarchy is the End of Life

I want to clarify the line between men in general and patriarchal values propagated and imposed on human society.

In order for patriarchy to succeed, it had to kill more efficiently than the nine months gestation it took for a woman to give birth.  So the craft of war  became more than simply defending territory. It became the ritualized erasure of our human nature for the rule of centralized power. 

And no, it hasn't succeeded in diminishing the human population on this planet but it has succeeded in sustaining an ideology of what it means to be a man. 

Civilizations built on myths of great conquerors. Histories about the exploits of the greatest killers. Inventions of race, religious ideology and ritual that transformed the teachings of thoughtful prophets into crusades. Endless games of winning and losing.
Men who celebrate life through medicine, science, education, art, philosophy and poetry must be dismissed as soft, shamed as effeminate. 

Men who have been raised with love, love …

Anonymous Sources

Where does "Greatness" come from? The imagination? Facts? Confidence? A willing suspension of disbelief in a slogan that makes us happy? A capacity to judge well? An ability to observe and find solutions that benefit most if not all? Taking responsibility for the community? A masters degree from Oxford or Yale?

Let me offer the opinion that greatness comes from extraordinary effort or talent.  Greatness as it may exist in our anonymous ambitions does not win fame except in isolated circumstances.  That is to say, fame is not a realistic goal for an individual.

Greatness is like a dove in the imagination, an angel, a temporary insight, a fleeting epiphany. Something aspired to in the privacy of our minds.

Greatness was an ambition I held when I was a teen and had no proof that I was good at anything or useful to the world at all. After repeated criticism and dismissal from the community around me where I attempted to win something, anything, like a medal, a competition, or a…

Torturing Youth is Okay with us?

“More than two-thirds of Canadians feel Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the wrong choice in awarding a $10.5 million settlement to Omar Khadr, according to a new poll by the Angus Reid Institute.” CBC News
But we don’t see the survey questions in this article. How was the poll actually worded? Reading one article might make us believe we are well informed, but how does a single poll actually tell us how people feel?  
“And while the survey shows that a majority of Liberals and New Democrats are opposed to the government's decision, how the numbers compare to previous polling suggests that views on Khadr have hardened over the last decade — and that he remains a divisive figure.”
How can a single poll tell whether Khadr is a divisive figure or not? What information do respondents have to make such a claim? 
The article then switches to a former US special force soldier who was blinded in one eye during the 2002 firefight in Afghanistan involving Khadr.  Of course he would be critica…