Save the Vulcan! 200 working-class Oakland artists are crowfunding to save their homes and fight the-rent-is-too-damned-high

[Editor's note: Xeno Evil is an Oakland artist fighting to save their home; I'm happy to help them with their campaign -Cory]

The historic Vulcan Lofts in Oakland, CA are up for sale and nearly 200 working-class Bay Area artists are at risk of losing our homes. In order to save the Vulcan, we’ve founded a tenant’s union, hired several attorneys, and petitioned the City of Oakland to put the building under rent control. Our hearing with the rent board is coming up very soon and we need to raise $50k in the next month to cover legal costs. Please support us by donating to our cause and sharing our crowdfunding campaign with your network. We love you. Read the rest

Silicon Valley real estate asking prices fall 12% from peak

There are more houses for sale in San Mateo County, Santa Clara County and San Francisco County than at any time since 2013; inventory in December was up 113% year-on-year, and asking prices have fallen by 12% since their peak. Read the rest

Millennials will be able to buy homes soon, thanks to Boomer senescence and mortality

Fannie Mae predicts a "coming exodus of older homeowners" as Boomers die, downsize or enter retirement homes, which will dump a ton of housing stock on the market and crash prices, finally making homes affordable for millenials. Read the rest

Couple built a two-story house for $12,000

Sam and Simone realized they could build a house for the same amount they would have spent on a year's rent in Australia. So they did, in one of their parents' backyard. It looks great.

From Living Big in a Tiny House:

In this video, we discuss how they were able to construct their tiny house for such an affordable price and tips for building tiny houses for less. Especially in a country like Australia, where the material cost of building can be very high!

As students of wildlife and environmental sciences, the couple now have plans to regenerate the property where the tiny house is parked. They are also using the tiny house as a base to launch a new online business. I hope you enjoy this full video tour of this stunning tiny home.

Read the rest

Welcome to the grim new car-dependent exurban villages of housing-crisis Britain

The UK's housing crisis is much like the one in certain American cities — nimbyism, runaway housing prices, political paralysis — but with a British flavor of madness that allows for deeply unpleasant solutions. The local delicacy: car-dependent exurban developments made of uncanny cookie-cutter housing clusters in the middle of nowhere, with no shops, pubs, schools, cafés or public transport, surrounded by highways and austerity.

Jenny Raggett, researcher at Transport for New Homes, said: "We were appalled to find so many new housing developments built around the car with residents driving for almost every journey.

“As those cars head for our towns and cities they clog up existing roads. Commuter times get longer and longer. Car-based living of this kind is not good for our health or quality of life.”

Pictured above is a street view of Prior's Hall Park, near Corby, a new subdivision surrounded by three industrial parks and apparently inspired by childrens' drawings of bricked-up Victorian tenements. Welcome to the center of the venn diagram of J.G. Ballard, Minecraft and $6-a-gallon gasoline. Read the rest

HUD accuses Facebook of Fair Housing Act violations

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) filed a complaint [PDF] against Facebook on Friday. HUD accuses the social media company of violating the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination in print and online advertisements on the basis of race, religion, physical ability, gender, and other attributes. Read the rest

Very small Silicon Valley bungalow going for $2.6 million

In Silicon Valley, people with six-figure jobs sometimes live in vans, so how can they scrape together financing for the $2.6 million asking price for this 897-foot bungalow in Palo Alto? Just imagine what it's like for working class people, some of whom have to commute so far from affordable towns that their employers let them sleep in the parking lot. Via San Francisco Chronicle, VTA bus driver Adan Miranda is now getting kicked out of his employer's parking lot to make room for developers: Read the rest

To solve America's housing crisis, build public housing

You know what works better than giving tax-credits to property developers, or mandating a few poor-door accessible affordable housing units in a new luxury high rise? Just building affordable housing on public land that's publicly managed. Read the rest

Toronto's real estate market is imploding

Toronto is one of the many great world cities that has been rendered nearly unlivable by real-estate speculation, both from onshore investors and offshore ones. Read the rest

Yale student who secretly lived in ventilation shaft

In college and grad school, I knew several students who couldn't afford housing and "lived" in the student lounges (showering in the rec center) and one guy who pitched a tent in the hills near campus. But this story of Allan Kornfeld who lived in a Yale ventilation shaft from 1963 to 1964 is the closest I've seen to Lazlo Hollyfeld's secret lair in the classic 1985 film Real Genius.

Kornfeld had hidden the entrance to the ventilation shift by covering the entrance with brick-patterned wallpaper. He left his DIY dorm room after graduation and shared his story with the press.

"It was a little cold," he said.

More at Weird Universe: "Unauthorized dwelling at Yale"

Read the rest

Artist transforms London garage into quirky firetrap

Not to rain on anyone's parade, but this whimsical artist's home featured on Barcroft TV looks as if it breaks pretty much every building code in the book. Read the rest

Inside Hong Kong's insanely cramped and illegal "coffin homes"

Photographer Benny Lam spent several years documenting grim living conditions in Hong Kong where people live inside tiny "coffin cubicles" within illegally divided apartments. The images are grim glimpses of life in the city with the most expensive housing market in the world. The photo series is titled "Trapped." From National Geographic:

Pushed out by soaring rents, tens of thousands of people have no other option than to inhabit squatter huts, sub-divided units where the kitchen and toilet merge, coffin cubicles, and cage homes, which are rooms measuring as small as 6’ x 2.5’ traditionally made of wire mesh. “From cooking to sleeping, all activities take place in these tiny spaces,” says Lam. To create the coffin cubicles a 400 square flat will be illegally divided by its owner to accommodate 20 double-decker beds, each costing about HK$2000 (over $250 USD) per month in rent. The space is too small to stand up in.

Read the rest

The once-dreamed wonders of trailer life

Trailers have a mostly negative reputation, these days, drawing working-class resentment and middle-class contempt. But they once embodied a compact, affordable rendition of the American Dream. So let's talk about "Tiny Houses" and how it navigates a stigma that must end...

The trailer-trash myth took off after World War II, when soldiers coming back from the war were faced with a housing shortage. Much of the travel-trailer and mobile-home industry got its jumpstart at that time. Confronting the housing situation, a lot of returning servicemen chose to move into RVs and mobile homes, at least for the short-term. It’s unfortunate that our veterans were also then associated with this notion of being “trailer trash.” In the ’40s, people living in “regular” homes also looked upon those in RVs and mobile homes as “trailer trash” because they had to go to the outhouse or the campground wash facilities just to use the toilet. We have hundreds of postcards in our trailer-themed collection just about outhouses.

Trailers are stigmatized because the poor can afford them, and when the first generation of Tiny House dwellers start selling up in earnest, Tiny Houses will be stigmatized too. Read the rest

Vancouver housing co-op rescinds family's apartment because unborn child is a girl

Kristjan Gottfried and Michelle Hurtig were first the waiting list for Vancouver's Marina Housing Co-operative, a nonprofit when the volunteer co-chair of the admissions board told them that their new home couldn't be confirmed until they found out the sex of their unborn baby. When they found out they were having a girl, they were refused a place to live. Read the rest

Downtown LA: high vacancy rates and catastrophic homelessness

Downtown LA's vacancy rate is 12%, which is the highest it's been since 2000 and triple the overall rate for LA -- and downtown LA is also the site of LA's skid row, whose population surged by 20% last year, thanks to a dramatic increase in homelessness among veterans and under-24s. Read the rest

Living Tiny

This week on HOME: Stories From L.A., a member of the Boing Boing Podcast Network:

HGTV and glossy magazines have sparked a boomlet of interest in tiny homes, but they've also made them look fun, cute and easy. The realities of a tiny lifestyle can be more daunting. Municipalities often don't know what to make of tiny houses, and living in one legally is, in many places, challenging. There's a lack of infrastructure for people who want to build them. And although they're in many ways an imaginative solution to some of the most vexing urban housing issues, they don't yet have a high profile in cities. Is there a place for tiny homes in Los Angeles? One woman thinks so, and has founded a collective of like-minded people to make it happen.

Photo by Ben Chun: Creative Commons

This is the fourth episode of Season 5. You can catch up on the whole series at the iTunes Store. While you're there, please take a second to leave the show a rating and review. And you can subscribe right here:  

iTunes | Android | Email | Google Play | Stitcher | TuneIn | RSS Read the rest

Trump's no-experience, fake-degree wedding planner will be in charge of billions in NYC housing spending

Lynne Patton has no experience with housing policy, claims to have a law degree from a university that says she dropped out after two semesters, claims an affiliation with Yale that no one can explain, and is implicated in the Eric Trump charity scam that directed cash earmarked for children's cancer research into the Trump Organization's pockets -- and as of July 5, she'll oversee billions in spending in the New York housing authorities. On the plus side, she reportedly did a great job as Eric Trump's wedding-planner. Read the rest

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