Across this country, we have an affordable housing crisis.

People are living in tents. People are “couch-surfing”. Home ownership is all but a dream for many.

Imagine what our communities would look like if an additional half a million units of affordable housing were built across this country.

The reality is that families, individuals, single parents and seniors alike are unable to obtain safe, secure, and affordable housing. This is a very real struggle for so many in Vancouver East and across the country. This national problem is of crisis proportions and is steadily worsening. For example, 2018 statistics for the City of Vancouver showed the highest number of people living homeless since the first regional homeless count in 2005. Indigenous peoples face even larger barriers to securing safe affordable housing, and accounted for 40% of the homeless people living in the region, despite being only 2.2% of the overall population. These numbers are unacceptable, because each number represents people in our community who are in crisis.

Our current housing crisis started in 1993, when the Federal Liberals cancelled the National Affordable Housing Program.

As a result, this country lost out on half a million units of affordable housing that would otherwise have been built.

The impact is real and significant.  I have met school children who tell me that they are worry about their housing situation.  Women who were fleeing domestic violence are left with no choice but to return to the abuser because she cannot secure housing.  Families had their children apprehended for no other reason other than the fact that they could not meet their housing needs.  The homeless population are becoming more desperate.  In one instance, I learned that a fight broke out because people were fighting for awning space in an attempt to stay dry as heavy rain poured down. It is high time for government to deliver what so many across the country have called for – a National Affordable Housing program.

Housing is a human right
Speech delivered on January 31, 2019 in favour of the NDP Motion to take immediate action on Canada’s Housing Crisis.

IN THE NEWS: Van Sun - Ottawa bumps up social housing funds for shortchanged B.C.

Two years ago, NDP MP Jenny Kwan protested that the federal Liberals were directing less than one per cent of their social housing budget to B.C., despite the province being home to 11 per cent of the nation’s population.
The stark imbalance has improved since Kwan aired her complaints.
“Since exposing that B.C. only got 0.5 per cent of the funding, I’m glad to report that more funds have begun to flow to B.C.”

MEDIA RELEASE - Corporate pandering by Liberals and Conservatives puts housing prices out of reach

New Democrats propose real solutions to cool the housing market and provide affordable housing to Canadians
NDP Housing Critic Jenny Kwan and NDP Finance Critic Daniel Blaikie called on the government to help Canadians trying to afford a decent place to rent instead of allowing rich investors to buy up units and drive prices sky-high. Kwan and Blaikie shared Peggy Rafter’s story. Peggy is a low-income senior, who is facing renoviction from an apartment she’s lived in for 30 years. They were also joined by Bader Abu-Zohra, a local housing advocate and Co-Chair of the Ottawa-Vanier ACORN chapter.
"Huge corporations and wealthy investors are making big money by putting people like Peggy out of a home," said Kwan."The Liberals have to stop rewarding rich investors for buying up rental units and then jacking up the rent. This is what the financialization of housing means and it has to stop.”

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