Public policies have consequences on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border. MHProNews recently spoke with a reasonably well to do Canadian couple wintering in Florida. Among the points they shared was that the high cost of housing there was increasingly a problem, notably so in several cities.
That problem has consequences.
We took a brief survey of the numbers from both sides of the border to set the stage and complement two viral videos in this “Waking Up at Walmart” report.
“The number of Canadians who experience homelessness on any given night in Canada is estimated to be minimally 35,000 individuals.” So said HomelessHub.CA. Keep in mind that per WorldoMeter, “Canada[‘s] 2019 population is estimated at 37,411,047 people at mid year according to UN data.”
The video below has had just under 5 million views in a month. It is resourceful videographer/subject is based in Canada, but the scenario exists on both sides of the border. While the person in the video doesn’t explicitly say so, the Walmart he parks and wakes up at is shown prominently in the opening of the video.
An Australian-based network did this Dateline story that is now 5 years old and has topped 5 million views. But a check of Walmart policies are the same then as now.
Here’s what Walmart’s website says.
What causes these and others to be homeless? A variety of circumstances factor in.
But from the perspective of the providers of the most affordable permeant housing – manufactured homes – at least here in the U.S., failure to enforce good existing laws are a factor. With respect to manufactured housing, local zoning and placement barrier issues has human faces.
The federal government has intervened in the affairs of the states for decades, often whenever ‘the feds’ decided that some fundamental right was being abridged.
As the information that follows reflects – including from the recent September 2019 White House homelessness report – while some of the homeless may indeed have a substance abuse problem, others begin because circumstances caused them to be priced out of affordable housing.
So while some build a moat for their personal/corporate profit and market share reasons, others are suffering the consequences that flow from that behavior. That’s not a left-right issue, that’s reality.
Canadian and U.S. Homelessness
Canada’s 37.4 million population puts their nation at somewhat lower than the residents in the State of California, which Wikipedia says is some “39.6 million residents” according to Census Bureau data.
As California’s homeless crisis has grown, their population increase has dwindled to the lowest on record.
Per the LA Times on May 1, 2019 – “California’s 2018 population growth was the slowest in state history, new demographic data show — underscoring shifting immigration patterns…” – or perhaps better said, underscoring problematic public policies and the varied consequences of those policies.
Back to Canada, “It is estimated that approximately 35,000 Canadians experience homelessness on any given night, and at least 235,000 Canadians are homeless in any given year.” So said the Canadian Encyclopedia. MHProNews doesn’t claim a similar level of expertise about Canada or their Z240 law, which is supposedly like the U.S. HUD Code for manufactured housing. But what’s reportedly true on both sides of the largely unprotected borderline is that manufactured homes are often discriminated against in subtle or overt ways.
Compared to the U.S. population of some 321.2 million per the May 11, 2019 report by World Population Review, the Canadian homeless problem would be proportionately equal to about 300,499 in the USA. So they are doing a better job in terms of percentages and raw numbers.
The White House’s “State of Homelessness in America” report in September 2019 said that “Over half a million people go homeless on a single night in the United States.” While Canada is doing better, both nation’s have a serious problem.
It is especially so to those who are suffering in the streets without housing.
From the executive summary of that same White House report, “Due to decades of misguided and faulty policies, homelessness is a serious problem. Over half a million people go homeless on a single night in the United States. Approximately 65 percent are found in homeless shelters, and the other 35 percent—just under 200,000—are found unsheltered on our streets (in places not intended for human habitation, such as sidewalks, parks, cars, or abandoned buildings). Homelessness almost always involves people facing desperate situations and extreme hardship. They must make choices among very limited options, often in the context of extreme duress, substance abuse disorders, untreated mental illness, or unintended consequences from well-intentioned policies. Improved policies that address the underlying causes of the problem and more effectively serve some of the most vulnerable members of society are needed.”
That same document states “We first document how homelessness varies across the United States. Homelessness is concentrated in major cities on the West Coast and the Northeast. Almost half (47 percent) of all unsheltered homeless people are found in the State of California, about four times as high as California’s share of the overall U.S. population.”
It says in part that “The first cause we consider is the overregulation of housing markets, which raises homelessness by increasing the price of a home. Using external estimates of the effect of regulation on home prices and of home prices on homelessness, we simulate the impact of deregulation on homeless populations in individual metropolitan areas. We estimate that if the 11 metropolitan areas with significantly supply-constrained housing markets were deregulated, overall homelessness in the United States would fall by 13 percent.”
But the impact would be greater in cities, says the White House document.
“Homelessness would fall by much larger amounts in these 11 large metropolitan areas, for example by 54 percent in San Francisco, by 40 percent in Los Angeles, and by 23 percent in New York City. On average, homelessness would fall by 31 percent in these 11 metropolitan areas, which currently make up 42 percent of the United States homeless population.”
That tees up the following statement.
National Housing Conference President and CEO David Dworkin’s comment was to the FHFA and the Government Sponsored Enterprises of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But the principle is arguably similar to the case to be made that Manufactured Housing Improvement Act (MHIA) of 2000 – notably the enhanced preemption provision – could be and should be fully enforced.
Manufactured Home Pro News (MHProNews.com) and our MHLivingNews.com sister site have long advocated for the full and proper implementation of existing federal laws that could dramatically shift the crisis in reasonably short order. Passing new laws takes time and has no guarantees, as the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) ought to have learned from their failed multi-year, multi-million dollar efforts to enact the so-called “Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act.”
Instead of chasing that bright object that proved to be an illusion, the challenge of zoning and placement only worsened, as MHLivingNews documented in the “Local Star Chambers” report linked below.
Nor was there progress on the full implementation of DTS while MHI and their power-backers chased Preserving Access.
- Was that by accident or design?
- Who benefited from that failure to implement DTS?
- Didn’t one of Warren Buffett’s own annual letters state that financing makes them more money in manufactured housing than selling or producing homes at Clayton Homes does?
Ponder those questions that the powers that be in MHVille want to distract industry readers and advocates from.
On Wednesday 12.11.2019, MHProNews’ publisher L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach will address the FHFA’s virtual listening session. His planned address will include a revised an updated version of the talk as written published at the link below.
We can’t speak with the same authority about the challenges that exist in Canada. But here in the U.S., at least on paper, laws exist that if fully implemented could deal with much of this issue in a reasonably prompt and positive fashion.
Those responsible for diverting, twisting or are otherwise failing to vigorously promote the enforcement of good existing laws are harming hundreds of thousands of our fellow Americans. To learn more, see the related reports linked above from the text-image boxes or those that follow the byline and notices.
David Dworkin, National Housing Conference, Compared and Contrasted with Lesli Gooch, Manufactured Housing Institute on Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Proposed Modifications to FHFA on Duty to Serve Finance Plans
The man at the end of the SBS Dateline video reminds us that a shift in circumstances could mean that one of those homeless faces might be one of us. That’s your sobering first installment of manufactured housing’s #1 source for “News Through the Lens of Manufactured Homes and Factory-Built Housing“ © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © (News, fact-checks, analysis, and commentary.)
Submitted by Soheyla Kovach for MHProNews.com.
Click the image/text box below to access relevant, related information.