action over academia
it's time for a reversal
When my grandfathers returned from the war in Europe there were too many people in need of homes and not enough houses. A simple solution was reached: Build houses. In the 1970’s here in Canada we experienced another housing crisis. That time creative solutions emerged including government housing, cooperative housing and collectively purchased lands so that middle class people could build equity based on sweat and effort.
Here in Canada we have an entire industry based on homelessness. A recent homelessness conference that took place in Halifax attracted over sixteen hundred people including academics, activists and members of the non profit sector from across the country. The registration fees alone were between four and eight hundred dollars per person. On top of that, people had expenses - hotel bills, per diems and other associated travel costs.
This annual event typically represents two point five million dollars of economic activity. Two point five million dollars - without even factoring into the formula the compensation packages of those who work in the homeless adjacent industries represented there
The host, the CEO of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness earns three hundred and fifty thousand dollars plus all of the associated add ons that accompany it. At the conference a myriad of papers calling for strategies to ‘find solutions for diverse populations’ ranging from youth to veterans to ‘gendered issues’ in housing were presented.
On finding solutions.
This would be absolutely hilarious if it were not true.
There is one solution to the housing crisis.
It should be pretty self explanatory by now.
Stop funding these crackpot agencies and their conferences and merely build housing.
Seems simple eh?
Not so fast Spiderman!
Nation wide, there are approvals in place for the constant and continual construction of new units. What’s slowing things down then? Perhaps it’s the evil developers?
Again, not so fast fool.
The current issue that’s been at the heart of our housing crisis is that we do not have enough people working in trades. Trades based education typically favors men. There is an unaware bais baked into our education system. Teachers, who have a university education, tend to value the students who are going to university more than the others in their classes.
I worked in schools - high schools for decades. Not only have I observed this bias towards the ‘good students’, but I’ve engaged in it myself. It’s easy to teach the kids who work hard and value the same things that I did. They’re easier to teach having had better experiences with both authority and education.
In fact seventy percent of our educational resources go towards the thirty percent of students who attend university. Of that thirty percent, half of them are successful.
And of the half that are successful, since the late 1990’s over 56% of those have been women.
Richard Reeves recently reported in Of Boys and Men, on a paper released by the MDRC that vocational education, technical education vastly benefits educational and financial outcomes for men. I realize that I’m writing out of both sides of my mouth here in stating research supporting my claim that research needs to take a back seat to action
The bias in education is that technical education is somehow ‘lesser’. The nobility of labour and value of hard work has been diminished by a school system that requires many young men to stay in school too long - young men who would likely far far better with an apprenticeship / technical model during adolescence with an option for more education as their brains mature. It is well known that trends indicate that the brains of boys tend to develop and mature at a different rate and in different ways than girls. (and despite what’s trendy amongst the chattering class, biology matters)
Further, the resources tend to support those who are already doing well and going to do well in life. So, in response to Heather’s comment yesterday: Yes, by all means, write the essay and pick up the hammer.
But right now?
I think that we have far too many people looking at ‘gender, accessibility and housing’ and not enough carpenters. We have far too many essays about ‘food security in diverse neighbourhoods’ and not enough farmers.
This isn’t the first food / housing crisis we’ve faced. It seems that ‘experts’ who proport to be ‘part of the solution’ and the papers they write are actually making things worse.
One of my grandfathers lived with his family of six in a six hundred square foot prefabricated house that went up in a day. My other cut his trees, milled the lumber and built a basement that he, my mom, nanny, uncle, my nanny’s sister, her husband and their three kids lived in the basement of on a mud floor for two years before had the means to finish building the house.
If you want to make change, pick up a hammer.
There is a nobility in labour.
Sweat has a value unto itself.