Housing crisis: Election candidates present ideas to make homes affordable

Houses on reserves continue to be cramped in many cases, while in cities and towns people struggle to find an affordable place to rent or buy. Why do communities continue to face housing shortages, and what is needed to make homes more accessible for people?

Blair Herbert, Liberal, Cowichan – Malahat - Langford

Firstly, what we are experiencing here is a shortage of supply up against increased demand.  COVID caused us to reflect on how/where we live, with many making a change to live here.  
Secondly, housing is a provincial/local government responsibility, and some local governments have restricted expansion of housing supply.  Local governments need to plan for future demand and develop policies allowing for expansion.  
All along, the Liberals have supported Canadians in home ownership through their National Housing Strategy and First-Time Home Buyer Incentive.  Re-elected Liberals will build on those successes through their three-part “A Home for Everyone” plan.  

Alistair MacGregor, NDP, Cowichan – Malahat - Langford

Canada is facing a housing crisis because successive Liberal and Conservative federal governments have failed to address the situation in a meaningful way. New Democrats will address the Indigenous housing crisis and put an end to chronic overcrowding and long-wait lists by working with Indigenous communities to implement co-developed, fully funded Indigenous National Housing Strategy. A New Democrat government will create at least 500,000 units of quality, affordable housing in the next ten years. We also believe that $5,000 in annual rent subsidies should be made available to low-income renters who are struggling with their housing costs. 

Lia Versaevel, Green, Cowichan – Malahat - Langford

There is an imbalance in wealth and resources that results in inadequate housing. Shelter has become a source of revenue and investment instead of a home. On reserve housing was not created to cultural standards. Housing that was meant for southern suburban lifestyles was imposed without consultation, and has resulted in more loss of culture and community, more fires, breakdown of septic and electrical systems, never adequately insulated to deal with temperature extremes. Intergenerational housing which accommodates people of all abilities and ages is more sustainable, but rarely built. The devastating legacies of residential schools translates into isolation and dissolution of family ties. We must ensure a Universal Basic Income as well as vacancy controls so that people are not left homeless or cramped in spaces that are too small with nowhere to grow food. As housing is built or replaced, traditional features of design and architecture must be incorporated. We must work with all levels of government to ensure that bylaws accommodate these designs for community.

Susanne Lawson, Green, Courtenay – Alberni

Housing is on everyone’s minds and is becoming a burden on our youth and elderly trying to find a home as well as others. We need to encourage tiny houses complete for individuals and seniors, built locally and placed in areas set aside for this. We need to get people together to help build homes, especially for young families and seniors housing. We need to eliminate empty houses and rebuild, tear down and construct simple housing with local teams of people for materials and doing construction.  Funding for local housing initiatives is needed. Foreign or outside ownership must be reduced and local people have first right of refusal for access to places available.  Limited pricing and realtor integrity is needed to stop speculation and bidding wars.

Gord Johns, NDP, Courtenay – Alberni

I believe everyone should be able to find a safe and affordable place to call home, on or off-reserve. No one should be forced to live in housing that makes them sick. New Democrats will address the Indigenous housing crisis and end chronic overcrowding and long wait-lists by co-developing a fully funded Indigenous National Housing Strategy with First Nations within our first 100 days in office. Tackling the mold crisis has to be a priority and communities must have the resources to make homes greener and more efficient while keeping good jobs, training and investment close to home.

Jessica Wegg, Green, North Island – Powell River

In this electoral district, a huge cause has been the mass exodus of people leaving cities to work remotely from here. We start by legislating housing as a legally protected fundamental human right and go from there:
• Appoint a Minister of Housing and create a housing strategy
• Achieve housing for all through market regulation and public investment in housing
• Tax non-occupied unites
• Offer tax incentives for landlords to offer reasonable rent
• Curtail hedge fund and investor ownership of homes
• Provide financing to non-profit housing organizations and co-ops to build green homes for seniors, people with special needs, and low-income families

Rachel Blaney, NDP, North Island – Powell River

All of our communities are facing a housing crisis, and while I commend the BC government for their efforts to address it, they have not had a willing federal partner. It’s time to end the housing crisis for good, with safe and affordable housing in every Indigenous community, on and off reserve. New Democrats would put an end to chronic overcrowding and long-wait lists by working with Indigenous communities to implement an Indigenous National Housing Strategy within our first 100 days in office. We would also immediately step up to tackle the mold crisis affecting tens of thousands of homes, and provide support for First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples to ensure that their homes are safe, healthy and energy efficient.

Conservative combined answer:
Mary Lee, Courtney - Alberni
Shelley Downey, North Island - Powell River
Alana Delonge, Cowichan - Malahat - Langford

We are not building enough homes to meet the population growth and under the Liberals, the problem has only gotten worse. Our country needs a robust housing plan that gets homes built. Canada’s Conservatives will tackle the nation-wide housing affordability crisis by removing barriers at the municipal and provincial level that are preventing new supply from coming onto the market. We will ban foreign investors from buying homes if there is no intent to live in Canada. The Conservatives will also enact a For Indigenous, By Indigenous strategy – long called for by Indigenous housing advocates - that involves empowering Indigenous communities with the autonomy to meet their own housing needs.


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