Habitat for Humanity

Look what this group is doing around town.

Before and After Habitat Tucson Helps Veterans


Since 2011, The Home Depot Foundation has invested more than $160 million to provide safe housing to veterans, and along with the help of Team Depot volunteers, has transformed more than 26,700 […]Read More

All Marikay wants is a safe home


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Residents in Amphi work with Habitat to uplift their neighborhood


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Volunteers Help Veteran After Stroke


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Critical Home Repair Feels Like A Blanket of Hope


“The weight on our shoulder was, ‘How are we going to pay for this?” says Albert, “And then we thought—why not try Habitat?”Read More

Serving Those who Served: John Johnson


A veteran who served in the 82nd Airborne Corp, John Johnson was struggling with the repairs his aging home required. A friend called on John’s behalf and Habitat Tucson’s Home Repair Supervisor […]Read More

Elizabeth Skidmore – Living with Dignity Thanks to Critical Home Repair


Elizabeth had not had heating in her home for the last 11 years. She recalls her house getting as low at 32 degrees – literally freezing. Elizabeth would have to bundle up in her husbands’ old […]Read More

Addressing the Growing Crisis of Critical Home Repair


Habitat’s Home Repair Specialist, Shianna Searcy, says, “The cost of living is increasing, but most people are on fixed incomes and cannot keep up with expenses. Some are barely […]Read More

Grateful for Help


Patricia is an 87-year-old Airforce Veteran living in Tucson. She told our volunteers how thankful she was for their help repairing her home.Read More

Strong links between high-priced housing and Homelessness.


Also, the homeless situation is completely out of control in LA. California based real estate companies are pushing their way into Arizona so they can repeat their nonsense all over again here.

Home / Blog / Affordable Housing / New Research Quantifies the Link Between Housing Affordability and Homelessness

New Research Quantifies the Link Between Housing Affordability and Homelessness

Written by Joy Moses December 13, 2018

Over the last couple decades, rents in America have been on the rise. Housing experts describe “severely cost-burdened households” — people who are spending far too much of their income on rent. Citizens rightly insist “the rent is too damn high.” Researchers and citizens alike suspect this status quo is hurting the nation’s efforts to end homelessness. A recent study, Priced Out: Rising Rent and Homelessness Across America, affirms the suspicions.

The study, commissioned by real estate company Zillow and conducted by a team that included Alliance Research Council Co-Chair Dennis Culhane, confirms a link between escalating housing prices and homelessness. This link is especially present in some of the nation’s largest cities. Affordable housing, therefore, is a critical solution to homelessness.

The Tipping Point

Priced Out reveals a tipping point among rising housing prices. When housing prices force typical households to spend more than 32 percent of their income on rent, those communities begin to experience rapid increases in homelessness. This finding puts a new perspective on a measure already in common use: Government agencies and researchers have long been guided by the notion that individuals and families shouldn’t be spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs. We can see that there are broad consequences of passing that threshold.

A Tale of Two Cities: Los Angeles and Houston

Delving into the realities of actual communities is the best way to understand the study. Comparing Los Angeles and Houston is helpful.

L.A.’s housing costs are well over the tipping point. Median-income residents spend more than 45 percent of their incomes on rent. In 2017, the city and county had the second largest number of people experiencing homelessness in the country and one of the highest homeless rates in California. L.A. is not alone. Other major cities have median rents well above the national norm. Only 15 percent of Americans live in such areas but those areas account for 47 percent of the homeless population.

Circumstances in Houston are quite different. Homelessness rates are lower than the researchers expected based on housing costs. Houston belongs to a group of communities in which the relationship between affordability and homelessness is weaker than in places like L.A.

Why? The Zillow team suggests that these communities possess specific assets and/or liabilities that cause them to defy expectations.

For example, in recent years, Houston overhauled its homeless services system. After being targeted for an intervention by HUD, the city made effective use of data and improved agency coordination. While speaking at a recent Zillow event, a representative from Houston’s coalition for the homeless stressed the importance of redirecting extensive resources from programs that weren’t producing permanent housing results to ones that are.

This tells us that an effective crisis response system is an essential tool for combating the affordable housing crisis.


Priced Out sends a strong message to any community concerned about homelessness: we must preserve and create affordable housing.

Key considerations for any community could include:

  • Rewriting local ordinances to reduce barriers to creating housing and prioritize building affordable housing.
  • Using city-owned land for affordable housing development.
  • Exploring new housing models such as single room occupancy units, smaller housing, or accessory dwellings.

Homeless service providers can look to cities like Houston for model practices in responding to homelessness. Through prioritizing Housing First approaches and effective systems management, they too can create community assets that help disrupt the connection between housing affordability and homelessness.

The Research behind Socializing at Work

Omega Z Advisors – Mike Lehr

People with a best friend at work are “seven times more likely than the typical worker to be engaged on the job.” Socializing is one of two keys to job enjoyment. Herman Miller, the office furniture company, found that “fostering better social interaction equals increased contentment.”

The down side is when these relationships are bad. That is when we refer to them as office politics. Office politics are relationships gone sour.

We can use socializing at work as a teambuilding tool.

What Does Socializing at Work Mean?

Socializing at work can mean taking breaks together, sharing work tips and venting. It can mean talking about vacations, families, fashions, sports plus many others. The face-to-face contact that comes with this is very important. Simple social actions correlate to happiness and success on the job. “Those who sat at larger [cafeteria] tables were 36% more productive during the week.”

Socializing at work means sharing. Share ideas, tips and experiences. Share problems and solutions.

Turning Socializing at Work into Teambuilding Tool

People like breaks in training and seminars. They can network. They can socialize. This adds to the event and to job enjoyment and productivity.

There are many other ways to promote socializing at work:

  • Form small project teams of two or three.
  • Create smaller groups within larger teams and committees.
  • Increase the length or number of breaks in meetings.
  • Avoid always putting the same people together.
  • In three-person teams put one quite different from the other two.
  • Sometimes assign seats to break up cliques.
  • Have teams share training, product, service or other ideas before the group.
  • Assign coming up with a meeting’s agenda or content.

General Concepts

The idea is to encourage:

  • Discussion
  • Engagement
  • Diversity
  • Dissent
  • Achievement

Small, diverse teams do well. Once groups get beyond three, it becomes too easy for some to become disengaged.

The task or purpose for the small team does not need to be grand. Teambuilding occurs from the process of working to a goal.

It is best if there is no single, obvious answer. The more teams must work together, the stronger they become.

Management by email affects employee engagement.

How much does management by email affect unit relationships? Mike Lehr – OmegaZ Advisors

Posted ByMike LehrManagement by email affects team building.

Management by email has a direct impact on team building activities.

There are many reasons why managers might prefer management by email (MBE). It is an efficient communication tool. It impacts teambuilding, a critical atom of organizational culture.

Email is a great example of the difference between efficient and effective. Its efficiency comes at the cost of effectiveness. This is seen in building relationships.

The Research

Alex “Sandy” Pentland cites his research in “The New Science of Building Great Teams”. He concludes that “the most valuable form of communication is face-to-face” and “email and texting are the least valuable.”

What does he mean by valuable though? He looks at teams. MBE harms teambuilding. Using email comes at the expense of the teambuilding glue: relationships. This shows up most as lower team engagement.

Digital Isolation

Walter Isaacson writes “Engage Face-to-Face” as one of “The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs”. Isaacson claims Jobs “knew all too well [the digital age’s] potential to be isolating.” Emails focus on ideas and thoughts. These do not flourish if relationships are mediocre.

It is easy to focus on ideas and thoughts. Much of the mainstream business literature talk about the importance of vision, strategy and process. Relationship and culture trump all three though.

Balancing Management by Email with Phone and Face-To-Face

This does not mean we do not use email. Pentland says there is a balance. He does not say what that balance is though. (This is probably for proprietary reasons.)

From my experience and research, in terms of time, a good phone and face-to-face (FTF) percentage will be in the 35-60% range. We can quantify email time as reading time. The average adult reads 300 words per minute.

Emails will still make up most interactions. Phone and FTF will be fewer but longer. Logistics will vary this percentage. For scattered teams, phone will substitute for FTF. Using the same content, phone calls are about half the time of FTF meetings.

These interactions do not have to be all business. It is better if they are not. They can be part of an overall teambuilding plan. Discussing vacation and family are effective teambuilding topics. There are many other tools.

There is power in our personalities. It comes to us free of charge. We use that power best in person.

Managers who manage by Email

Do you have a manager who always communicates by email? Do you feel like you can’t get your feet under you?


Posted ByMike

A financial professional emailed me regarding bosses who “manage by email.” She implied that her boss rarely calls  or meets with employees. She asked, “What does this mean?” and “What should I do?”

First, email does provide certain efficiencies over personal interactions (phone calls and visits). However, from a relationship-building perspective the others are superior. Consequently, I advise managers to have at least one personal interaction with every employee every day.

Managers who MBE will do so for different personal reasons. Nevertheless, we can categorize them under one or both of the following:

  • Wanting to minimize their personal interactions
  • Liking something better about email communications

So, what do you do? Begin by uncovering the specific reasons under these broad preferences. Here are a couple sample questions to customize:

  • What are the advantages of emailing on ____ over meeting to discuss it periodically?
  • It seems you prefer to communicate by email; if so, would you share with me why so I can ensure I communicate effectively in them?

Their answers will give you a general direction as to what bosses like to see in their relationships. For instance, if he references efficiency, then speed might be more important than substance in his relationships. If she references documentation, she might prefer accountability, organization and recollection. If he references organizing or forming his thoughts, he might prefer control to spontaneity in relationships.

After gaining this insight, employees can initiate personal interactions and seek to deliver the attributes they’ve identified. Regardless, employees are wise to reverse the tables and make it a point to call or visit their bosses at least once a day. This will not only help protect their jobs but also help employees be happier and more successful in them.

JustAnswer is just another scam.

JustAnswer is just another scam.

I have a sick cat; he has had Calicivirus and has been sick with it for two months. It was a Saturday, the vet’s office was closed and I was tossing and turning about what to do because he looked worse. My options were to take him to Vet ER again (another $150). As I agonized what to do, I realized that the ER room was probably where he got the virus in the first place. A friend who works at clinics says the animals are brought into a ‘holding room’ in their carriers and wait there until they are seen by a vet. In ER, due to volume, that could be two hours. More than enough time for a sick cat to sneeze and for the droplets to carry and infect other cats. So, instead, I thought to call an online service and speak to a vet that way. I found JustAnswer and at first it looked to be $5; that was just to log in. Then it was another $28 to talk to the vet. I did that, got hold of the vet, she gave me a lot of good tips. By Monday morning, I was on the phone with my regular vet and requesting additional meds that I received.

So far, so good. Then today, eleven days later, a $50.00 charge pops up on my bank balance that I don’t recognize from JustAnswer. I contact them and they advise me that the $5 was for a trial membership and here is the important part, if I did not cancel the membership within 7 days, I would be charged a membership fee ($50). Apparently, someone at JustAnswer has been to law school and found out about the strength of unilateral contracts. (I would love to hear from some attorneys from the readership.)

Anyway, after making enough noise about the fee, and telling them they should be ashamed of this behavior, the fee was cancelled and I guess I get my $50 back. The CEO of JustAnswer is Andy Jurtzig, who looks like a nice guy from his photos. The company is making 100 million per year which probably means Andy is making at least 1 million per. More and more, we see companies like this one and Amazon, pulling with all their might, customers into ‘membership’ programs. They have clearly learned that steady ‘membership’ fees are far more lucrative than individual sales.

Years ago I worked as a cashier at a huge furniture retailer. Customers would routinely come in and buy $2000 worth of furniture and then make $10 a month payments. Since the stuff was junk, the furniture would easily break and wear out long before the loan was paid off. Businesses over and over again seek to lure customers into financing schemes which of course, with interest, earn way more revenue than just the simple retail sales. At Macys I have been asked as many as three times during one such purchase if I wouldn’t like to sign up for their credit card. No, no thank you.

I can only say, that people contacting JustAnswer for Vet, MD, or attorney advice probably do so in desperate times. The frantic pet owner or frantic whomever is not likely to focus on the small print. So, you just enjoy your cocktails there in Silicon Valley, Andy, I am just hoping more people will get wise to this racket.