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.