Affordable Housing

On Thursday, January 12th, 2012 in Get Involved
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As of 2010, Canada had between 150,000 and 300,000 visible homeless, between 450,000 and 900,000 hidden homeless, 1.3 million households residing in substandard housing in need of major repairs, and 3.1 million households residing in unaffordable housing (requiring greater than a 30% share of income).

Help Elizabeth push the government to take immediate steps to ease the crisis of homelessness and housing affordability by creating a National Affordable Housing Program, and by reforming the tax system to provide tax benefits to rental investors for the construction, maintenance and upgrading of affordable rental housing.

Sign below or download this petition, have as many people as possible to sign it, and mail it – postage free – to either her Ottawa or Sidney offices. With as few as 25 signatures, Elizabeth can present your petition to the government in the House of Commons.

Online Petition

1709 people have signed this petition. Add your voice to the growing number of Canadians speaking out about this issue.

We call on the Government of Canada to, in accordance with the Plan on Housing and Homelessness created by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, take immediate steps to ease the crisis of homelessness and housing affordability by creating a National Affordable Housing Program, and by reforming the tax system to provide tax benefits to rental investors for the construction, maintenance and upgrading of affordable rental housing; and to consider all measures that would maximize the affordability of market rental housing.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Elizabeth-Wallace/722221052 Elizabeth Wallace

    It’s scandalous that Canadian society has allowed so many people to become homeless. We need to care for the less able and fortunate; it is in our own best interests to do so. Affordable housing need not cost a fortune and stable housing has been shown to reduce crime, reduce the burden on healthcare and manage mental health issues.

  • Heidi

    there are ways to build low cost housing so inexpensively but without government intervention, I can, especially for seniors, please ask me how as we are building our prototype in Oshawa

  • Charlene

    I think it’s great to come up with a solution to homelessness but I do believe that it’s unfair that they create low income housing in areas where it can devalue surround properties/areas. Vancouver is a very desirable location to reside (prime real estate) and a lot of people work very hard in order to live there. I don’t think it’s fair that the government build new low income housing in Vancouver. We already have enough locations for that within Vancouver. I think they should start building low income housing further out (Mission/Chilliwack etc.) As more people are being pushed to live further away from Vancouver due to housing prices it doesn’t make sense that low income/homeless citizens get a piece of prime real estate while other non low income/non-homeless citizens are forced to move further out.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lisa.a.allan.3 Lisa Ann Allan

      So only rich people are good enough for Greater Vancouver? Maybe you should be checking out the Conservatives web site instead…

    • http://www.facebook.com/lisa.a.allan.3 Lisa Ann Allan

      PS Working single parents, seniors, people with disabilities and mental health disorders make up much of the low income rental market. And none of those types should even be able to walk the streets of precious Kerrisdale or Point Grey, now should they?

      And on another note, while your Lower Mainland is mecca right now, if and when peak oil/peak resources/food shortages/sea level rises happen, it’s going to be one of the last places on earth you’re going to want to be. Don’t believe me? Do some research. You’ll see.

    • deh3

      Property values, particularly low density properties, are largely a reflection of what the optimal size of building which can be constructed on the site, given government intervention through zoning, development charges, property taxes and land transfer taxes. The more profitable it is to build upward rather than outward through changes to government intervention, the higher the property values.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Slyone Sandra Wosk-Smale

      You pompous ass… how the hell do you think the prices got so high.. Off the backs of those so called homeless people thats how.. They once had houses just like you only they might have lost their jobs or gotten sick or had some bad luck and lost it. People like you should be banned from commenting on things you know nothing about unless you start having some compassion for those that have nothing. Even the homeless has to work so why the hell do you want them way out in Chilliwack if they get a job in downtown Vancouver.. So they can take the bus and you get to walk? How pathetic you are..

    • sickatheart

      Charlene: You sound like one of the greedy…they have to devalue the properties because the inflation is otherwise manipulated to a too-high level due to the demand of the already wealthy who are greedy for more. The ‘supply & demand’ economy created also by the rich as they could foresee and forecast the future through it, leaving the rest of us middle and low income’ers behind eating their dust is the result, to the extent that even with jobs that are underpaid in this inflated society, homelessness is the outcome. Those who were homeless due to illness prior to this are even worse off now if you can imagine it. Government is here to serve and care for the people and not just live handsomely off of them.

    • Stace

      If you are low income how do you get around for work etc. if you are sent away? No access to transit etc. Are you a CON troll?

  • Nedene

    Thank you for making these Petitions available to sign online. It helps those of us who cannot get out to make our voices heard. Good on you, Elizabeth, keep your head straight and you’ll make it to the top!

  • Thomas L. Van Dusen

    I hope that something can be done for the Homelessness.More affordable Housing is needed. And better training to obtain more jobs. But then again, we need the jobs when we are finished with our education and training. I am on Disability Pension, and I have subsidized housing so I am fortunate. I went on Disability Pension, in 1992, I started doing volunteer work in 1993. I am still volunteering in 2012. I hope that some answers come about for more jobs and affordable housing. Thank-You Elizabeth May.

  • Christine

    I sure hope they can find a solution for this very horrible problem. No one should be without shelter EVER!

  • http://www.facebook.com/rhonda.mansfield.507 Rhonda Mansfield

    done !!!

  • Jon Lutjen

    Stopping the mixed message about homelessness should be on the list too. Most people in homes figure homelesness is created out of shere lazyness and lack motivation. 2/3 of homeless people are there because the system failed them. When I lived in Calgaryfrom 2000/2005 there was a family living in a tent by the Bow river and the reason the did this was to rent out there house while they camped out for the summer months because both parents anual income would not support there home and family and the problem has only gotten worse for this family 8 years later I am sure. Cost of living increase without wage increase has put many families on the street. Another big portion of the homeless are the mentaly incapable part of our society that are homeless since they closed down the mental intitutions nationally years ago and these people ended up either in jail or homeless on the streets while a very small portion ended up capable to live on there own. Our politicians and the leaders in charge let this happen because greedy bankers can’t profit way into the future off of people whom not are in debt. So I believe someones successes in this country have put a few people on the streets too, that is why people were protesting at occupy. Our leaders created 2/3 of homelessness out of there shere love of profit and money which is way more important then human lives to them until, there ass is on the line, then there will be change! Taxes are paid to cover this and where is my tax dollars going if it is not to cover the social aspects of our society, but in the end is paid to some fat rats pension that can afford it, because homelessness put a roof over there heads!!!

    • sickatheart

      Dear Jon Lutjen, My father earned a high income for about 1/3 of his working life. He died at age 53 penniless in a small apt. because the multinational corporation he worked for didn’t need him anymore and dumped him with no pension or termination paycheque despite the millions he made for them -so he sued them. His bank-accounts were immediately frozen as security to cover any court losses -which money no one ever saw again. He filed 19 lawsuits in all and did not live to see the end of them. During his wealthy years he paid phenomenally high taxes because he was honest and naïve. He got nothing for his efforts. This was in Quebec btw…need I say more? His yearly taxes could have fed hundreds of people but instead it went to a greedy well pensioned government that wound up not even having to pay-out his CPP – not even to heirs since it is not inheritable.
      Mind you, the greedy shaft each-other too if that’s any consolation. PMO Harper is a good example of that. What a smarmy way to govern a country.

  • William

    I’ve been rent all my adult life . I’m 50 now and still can’t afford to get the down payment but gee i’ve been paying on rent now for 35 years. I would like to see more rent to own be made more avable.

  • Erika Gaschntiz

    I live in one of the richest cities in Canada and we have so many working homeless that it’s disgusting. Children go to school with empty lunch bags only to come home to a homeless shelter or community group living on abandoned buses. It’s shameful how we treat those in our community. Everyone deserves a roof over their head and anyone who is willing to work should not be punished because they aren’t a millionaire We need to take care of each other. I want my taxes put back into my community.

  • bernard

    long overdue, this country needs to develop a conscience and a heart. thankyou greens for suggesting this excellent idea.

  • fed-up

    Its time for the Government to held accountable for the hardships of people living below the poverty line.

  • the commie pinko kid

    Homelessness is a consequence of the untaxed greed of a few.

  • deh3

    Homelessness and affordable housing are largely a municipal, and to a lesser extent, provincial responsibility, due to the extent to which governments intervene in land use, through height and minimum setback restrictions, segregation of residential and commercial use of land, minimum automobile parking requirements, development charges being too low for low density and too high for infill, basing property taxes on the value of land and building rather than land alone, apartment property taxes being higher than residential property taxes and land transfer taxes, which cumulatively make it more profitable for build outward rather than upward. Danny Handelman

  • http://www.facebook.com/Slyone Sandra Wosk-Smale

    I am getting older and can no longer maintain my home but have no place to go. So either I pay rent or am homeless.. How can I live on very little money compared to the cost of living . I can’t even find a job at my age of 58.

  • http://www.facebook.com/erin.renman Erin Renman

    Measures to address myths about the causes of homelessness would go a long way in shifting public opinion, and in turn political will. We’ve gone too long allowing ourselves to believe that poverty is caused by laziness or that it’s somehow deserved.

  • CenturionFalcon

    This is so long overdue!

  • j horsfield

    It benefits all of society to eliminate homelessness. It is something that can and should be done. Unfortunately, we seem to be coming,more and more, a society that just doesn’t care about those that don’t fit in well or find life a bit of a struggle. I hope this works.

  • L.Slanina

    I’ve lived in a co-op for over 23 years…..what a blessing that I wish was an option for anyone who needs it.

    • PatG

      Now that all the government funding for co-ops has been discontinued, many, perhaps most, of the co-ops will have to revert to using “market” rates for occupancy because they will need to apply to regular commercial banks for loans for upkeep and maintenance which subsidized co-op rental rates would not be enough for. So, once again the neo-cons in this government (and those neo-cons in opposition – Libs and NDPers – who are wanting to form the next government) are destroying (with their ridiculous “balanced budget” nonsense) one of the very few viable options for those living on the edge.

  • Desperate

    There are so many layers of society that need affordable housing. As a senior on a fixed income, just above the poverty line, the horrendous rent increases for 500 sq ft and the continuous rise in the cost of living will soon squeeze me out of my community in which I have lived for so long and go where? The SAFER program has not increased their ceiling of $700/mo since 2005! Good luck trying to find a safe and decent place to live for $700/mo anywhere. When you apply to “Affordable Housing” rest assured you might not live long enough to get a place! So this means that within the next four months I must move far, far out of Vancouver where I am totally isolated from the support of family, friends and community?

    • sickatheart

      Dear Desperate:
      I am in your situation financially and feel for you. I purchased a tiny detached house in 1992 for $27,000. in a good neighborhood of Winnipeg, believing I was securing my future, giving myself a place to live, starting out as cheaply as possible with a fixer-upper and have been happily fixing ever since. Now it is worth about $135,000 -150,000 which is on the low end so that ALL proceeds of a sale would have to go to another home – in a tough neighborhood or I would have to live 2 hours away in some small town. There would be no surplus to have as a safety net. Due to soaring utility costs, property tax costs, insurance costs, food costs etc…I am living hand to mouth and see my future as being the same as your own – pushed out of my house because of the greedy politicians, Real-estate Boards and the uncaring rich developers. What we need to do is find a way to start up a commune of seniors, or together purchase older motels with kitchenettes by pooling resources. You have International Communes in Vancouver. Google them and see if they would offer you anything to look forward to. There is one outside of Winnipeg where the occasional hovel (but cute) comes up for sale at about $2500.00 (that’s 25 hundred ). I am going to check into it more – like how close is the nearest hospital? Keep your chin up. You will find others in your situation wherever you have to go.

  • Margaret Bingham

    There will be a lot more people put on this list when the seniors mostly single) who are living in an apt. that is the best deal in Guelph have to move out because it is no longer affordable. These particular seniors are still well enough to live on their own but cannot afford to live in a condo, which is all that is being built these days. These people will need to move into a Senior Apt. Bldg. which is geared to income. These types of apts. are very scarce and the ones that exist are filled to capacity with very long waiting lists. It seems that these types of Seniors Apts. have not been built since 1968 at least not very many that I know of. Something has to be done about this
    before it is too late for us, as I wouold be one of these seniors.

    • sickatheart

      The seniors buildings that are new in the last 10 years in Winnipeg are charging upwards of $1000 per month rent. Older seniors apts are around $600 but with a 5 year waiting list with wheelchair applicants being first served. Who will build at the present-day cost of living? no one. The Real Estate Boards in the different provinces have to stop pushing the values up. They are manipulating to ensure higher incomes for agents and sellers. There are many new infill homes being built in established areas on narrow, cheap lots by the already rich, then sold at a whopping $300,000 price tag. I have considered selling my small house but there would not be enough money for me to live elsewhere.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rainpoole Penny Poole

    I love Elizabeth May– keep leading– keep sharing– keep asking for our support because we are there for you girl!

  • Maggie

    THIS IS URGENT, ELIZABETH, AND YOU & YOUR TEAM SEEM TO BE THE ONLY ONES IN GOV’T WHO WANT TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT. There are many peoplemy age who have to live on very little money, mostly senior women. They did work all their lives at the only jobs they could get because we couldn’t afford
    to go to University. They did not get a pension, nor a severance when they had
    to retire at 65 years of age. They barely got a thank you. Now there aren’t enough Senior Citizen Apts. based on income to accommodate all these people.
    Why did the gov’t quit building these facilities? The last ones, to my understanding. were built in 1968. IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT THIS TYPE OF HOUSING BEGIN AGAIN. THESE PEOPLE CANNOT EVEN AFFORD CONDOS THAT ARE BASED ON INCOME. Please give these seniors and others experiencing hard times due tojob loss, injury or illness a means to live with
    dignity. Then the next topic I want to talk about is how so masny people need to be allowed to die with dignity and not live year after year not even being able to feed
    themselves, What’s the point in living like this????

  • Consilience

    Affordable Housing is one of the Maslow hierarchy of needs. As Canadians, aren’t we suppose to help provide for the fundamental needs of people? Doesn’t secured housing, and employment, provide eventual benefits to a person’s health? Looks like you have the formula right there. Act on it.

  • Marian

    I live in a very affluent area of Vancouver Island. Rents are high. To buy anything, apartment, TH, mobile even, is unattainable. What is left is coops and low rental housing but the wait list is long. This scenario breaks up families.

  • Dari

    I don’t know about homelessness but having to pay more than 80 percent of your full time job pay to have a one bedroom apartment that is not even maintained properly is very hard to understand. Especially if you are a one person household or a single mother. I believe that there should be some law where the landlords are given credit if they have the rent geared towards their tenant’s salaries and help people stay out of the streets.

  • Aleka

    I’m all for this, while we are at it we need to prevent landlords from increasing rent on apartments where they don’t supply proper maintenance or support.

  • Susan Huebert

    Thanks to the Green Party for highlighting this issue. Giving people adequate and affordable housing is an essential part of any civil society, but this has been eroded through decades of rising prices combined with almost non-stop job cuts. This is especially true in higher-paying jobs such as the professions, many of which have essentially collapsed. Getting an education or training is no longer even remotely a guarantee of being more than a paycheque or two away from being on the street. Affordable housing in every neighbourhood across Canada would provide at least some security for people who are struggling to survive.

  • ergodesk

    Technology is now available for anyone to have a Affordable, Super Insulated, Passive, Net Zero Energy Home, what are we waiting for??

  • Marcy

    A lot of people on the streets are also due to mental health issues that are not addressed. The current laws work against getting them help as the bar is so high that abhorrent behavior or being a danger to themselves or others (even though not imminent) does not qualify. Family members get no assistance when trying to advocate on those with issues’s behalf. Bloody shell game going on!

  • sickatheart

    To the people who claim to be able to fix this homeless situation…why do we not know about you? and why aren’t you fixing it then?

  • Kate

    I have been on the Low Housing Victoria waitlist for 4 long years. I needed it when I left an abusive relationship with my son and $73.00. I pay rent that is 3/4 of my Disability income. Now my son has reached 19yrs so we are out of the running for housing. I did not choose to be disabled and not work. Yet I am treated like a non person. There is no non-profit organization that can help us. Next year by July 1, 2015 my son will no longer be a student. This means my income decreases by 1/2. I will no longer be able to pay the rent here. Moving costs money I also do not have. The ongoing stress of knowing that I have less than a year of living underneath a safe, clean roof, has caused my already existing health issues to become exacerbated to the point that my health is now in crisis. There is no one who cares or is willing to fight for me. I am desperate for affordable housing. Yes, I would LOVE to move out of expensive Victoria. But again, its money needed to do this. All my money goes to basic survival. I would be better off is I was a criminal. I would then be housed, fed 3 whole times a day (wow), have dental and medical coverage and even access to a Lawyer so I could fight my ex for what he owes us. These are the choices I am facing and do not any longer know what to do. This is the face of poverty due to no fault of my own.

  • Léa Maro Langelier

    Take Me As I Am

    Find me. Here in the back alley
    Where I’ve managed my way slovenly.

    Where the rainfall, like a crude oil spill,
    Has made the pavement a reflection
    Of what the world has quartered here:
    All those unsightly imperfections.

    Where, like some worn out over-coat,
    Pipes and wires have thread up the walls,
    Multi-coloured like a patchwork
    Of different types of materials.

    Where waste bins inhale for comfort
    Yesterday’s news freely surrendered
    By those suspicious souls hustling
    Through sunken doors not named or numbered.

    Where the vents will exhale and hum
    Their smell of cheap perfume-like breath. Yet
    No one will ever dance with them
    (At least not here). As though against it.

    Where the stairs keep their legs curled up
    From being grasped at violently:
    Though free from rust, it belongs here
    As the main star of the back alley

    Above me. While I wait for you
    Among others that wait for rescue.

  • Jon

    I worked with Toronto homeless for many years. They do NOT want to be on the streets. It is a national shame how we treat the homeless. I started the Seaton House Annex program and we found that it was very easy to get men off the streets, just treat them like they matter. Non-judgemental and caring works wonders.

  • Mo

    I am on disability. I have chronic PTSD. I am dealing with a very difficult situation at the moment that is tied to family and I will not turn to them for assistance. Because of them I just found out my housing situation is ending soon. I am afraid. Am I staring homelessness in the face now? Is this it? I could make $500/month rent work for me and my wonderful dog with a part time job, but god help me if my health changes and I can’t work for a few weeks. I would apply for COOP housing but I can’t wait 3 years to get in. Would I qualify for a housing subsidy? Will I find a clean quiet home that allows a big dog who btw IS my family? The last time I looked for rentals in Victoria I accessed 2% of the market due to my pet family. Most of the homes I looked at I would not let my dog live in, and the ones we did get I had to move out because of bugs/rats, mold, noise and security issues. I moved 5 times in a year and a half. For example, in one place I came home after work to find my dog lying on her bed in the middle of a lake in my bedroom, scared, water streaming from the ceiling. After finding a rat in my toilette and tired of the silver fish that fell on me from the upper level – we moved, again! South Vancouver Island rentals are the worst and Vancouver is unreachable for me now. I am going to have to fight very hard again to find a good home, and I am not going to have the luxury of time. Find a home, then a job, or find a job then a home? Either way I am scared. I worked since I was 11 years old, and I worked very hard! I never thought my life would end up like this.

  • Winnie Cornish

    I have faith in you Elizabeth May and your time is now…

  • Johnny Kareem Gagnon

    I’ve been a targeted individual since 1980 when montreal police sold and entrapped me with blank false baptism certificates to begin a criminal career at 19 or 20 yrs. of age , and monitor the false names , also used for global underworld false identities for every crime in the book …. Been tracked and monitored like an animal all my life.In 2006 I inherited $42,531.19 cents from my father ManuLife insurance and tried leaving montreal to settle in Hawkesbury,the montreal corrupt police followed and through their mob and political connections were given support by the Ontario Provincial Police(O.P.P.) to remove me any way they could and have me returned to montreal…. they first arranged a meeting with me at their local bar with the presence of the corrupt montreal police,and ordered me to leave and return to where I came from,and I refused.Within 3 months I was in jail on false charges and while behind bars all my belongings,including my newly purchased van were slolen.
    I returned to montreal where I became homeless for many years off and on and relocated to Gatineau a time later.
    I began speaking of what these corrupt police have been doing to me in Montreal and later in Gatineau,then again they set me up by sending antagonists to harass me and provoking me ,only once I retaliated after two of their controlled delinquents had screamed next to me while I worked on my computer making my music and a fight broke out.Then the corrupt homeless shelter along with their corrupt health institution had asked for a civil judge in a secret hearing with false allegations and testimony to have me psychologically examined by warrant…… of course the policeman from montreal who was part of the corrupt police-mob who sold the blank baptism certificates 35 yrs ago was THERE!
    My story demonstrates how being homeless facilitates the work of corruption by mafia and their corrupt police as in the case of montreal-Commission Charbonneau!

  • PatG

    The high cost of housing is just another Symptom of a market economy gone mad; it doesn’t even make any sense to regulate business. Whether it is real estate or oil and gas or tobacco – industry and business just has so much influence in politics – they really do OWN politicians once they donate money to them and once they are allowed to have preferential access to politicians, lobbying and on committees – and they just get politicians to remove (or emasculate by underfunding) all the regulations which would hold them in check and make them accountable because business does not want to be accountable and does not want any checks on its ability to make more and more money. The only way I can see to stop this is to completely remove essentials like housing and food and water and air and healthcare from the market economy altogether. Let the market deal with the non-essentials, maybe for things like baubles and make-up and jewellry maybe but all non-essentials have to be removed from the realm of profit in order to have any chance of making these essentials accessible and affordable for all.

  • Matthew Thomas Stark

    I believe people have a right to live in communities and be safe. There should be a government office to apply your character to an advisor to set you up with a home or shared home to your needs. Money is nothing, dreams and community build empires that never crumble. No or little rent is needed, the rent collected goes according to scale for hydro etc. the rest all goes to upgrading the home. The longer and the more “rent” applied the more upgrades. Example pay rent for a year at 500$ a month. Get 6000$ towards house supplies upgrades to the home warranted and applied for at the same office. This system for every first person with a place to live can make it unique and left for someone else to live in to keep dreaming. No one needs to own life or living. Life lives and living is the experience. With technology and high robot performance, servitude hours will be reduced phenomenally.
    I have a vision of Vancouver Island BC being its own government and borders by belief in life and sharing of resources with out the cost of 40+ years of full time servitude.

  • pw15
  • DrMJW

    Too many people do not get enough income to pay for even the available substandard housing that is available. Further rent assistance and really, new housing is needed. It would put our skilled trades back to work and would be a great teaching site for limited numbers of good labourers who need a skilled trade to get them into a higher wage bracket. We need affordable housing that is good and sooner than now (rather than sooner than later). Giving federal monies to provinces must come with evidence of proactive movement. Giving money without strings attached isn’t working. Can we make “green” housing funding available directly to builders without letting it disappear into the general fund of the provinces? We need proof the money is getting where we want it to go.

  • Teri Dawe

    I am 65 and yeah I know that sounds to a lot of people like some old gizer… But the problem is I am still working all the time and will be for at least another 1/2 dozen years. One problem is all the years I worked in the forest industry IWA ripped off my pension $ so I would only get $800 month from CPP. Be nice if I could live on that…
    I could go on about a dozen other things…

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