On Monday, November 28th, MP Elizabeth May will table an affordable housing petition in the House of Commons. She and newly elected Vancouver City Councillor Adriane Carr have been working to draw attention to this cause. “The housing crisis in Canada is getting worse. There are more than a quarter of a million people in Canada who do not have a proper roof over their heads at all and more than three million whose budgets are strained to the limit trying to pay for housing. The federal government must step up and take action,” said May.
The Wellesley Institute reports that as of 2010, in Canada there are between 150,000-300,000 visible homeless, between 450,000-900,000 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).
The petition to be presented by May calls on the Government of Canada to create a National Affordable Housing Program and to reform the tax system to provide tax benefits to rental investors for the construction, maintenance and upgrading of affordable rental housing.
“The federal government must consider all measures that would maximize the affordability of market rental housing,” said May.
“Rental and real estate prices have skyrocketed to a point where the lack of affordable housing options jeopardize Vancouver’s liveability. With Vancouver having one of the lowest vacancy rates in Canada, the highest average rents in Canada ($1,181 per month), and a dependence on rentals of condos which, according to CMHC, rent for 45% to 60% higher than purpose built apartments, it is clear that we need federal tax incentives now to support the construction and maintenance of affordable rental housing,” said Adriane Carr.