Saturday, December 5, 2009

Where We Are Going

Just in case you were wondering...

Diane Finley, posing these days as Human Resources Minister in the Harper Federal Government, has cleared the air.

"By no means are we getting back into the housing business."

Oh, that's nice.

Like we hadn't noticed, Di.

Let's get clear about a few things.

For a great many years, CMHC funded social housing in a wide variety of useful and creative ways.

Those days evaporated about 30 years ago.

Notice the rise in homelessness, did you?

There is no single bigger cause than this withdrawal of basic funding.

Now, the current administration has committed $5-billion over the next five years to provide shelter to the needy, and that is a good thing.

But then?

Perhaps I am not making myself clear on this issue.

I believe the federal Government has the crucial and central role in social housing. I believe we have a moral responsibility in this matter.

It is disgusting to me to hear an elected representative denounce this obligation from on high.

May her brother, aunt or neighbour never find himself in need.


Gary L. said...

"May her brother, aunt or neighbour never find himself in need".

David, you are far more gracious than I!


Anonymous said...

I am very lucky to live in co-op housing. We pay less than $1200 per month for a three bedroom townhome (near schools, parks and amenities) plus utilities. The city property tax is included in our housing charge.

This co-op was partially financed through funding from the CHMC around 30 years ago (in the early 1980'). It has provided safe, affordable housing and a community of mixed incomes (from subsidized members paying 30% of their gross income to working and lower professional classes paying the regular rate - which is still much lower than true market rates).

The members of our co-op are a stable bunch. We know each other and participate in our own community and the community at large.

This is in stark contrast to most townhomes/condos where there are so many units sitting empty (pied de terres for out-of-towners and speculative buys for property investors).

There are members who have young children who were young children living here with their own parents when the co-op was first opened. How is that for a stable neighbourhood!!

As we are paying hundreds of dollars less per month than we would on either market rents or the high costs of regular home ownership - we have more money to spend to stimulate the economy or invest for our retirements or children's higher education.

Keep in mind - this is not "social housing" in the sense that it is only for low income. This co-op is made of a mix of people - the way a healthy neighbourhood SHOULD be. Most members pay full price for their units and others have degrees of subsidy - depending on their individual circumstances. We manage our own property and stay within budget each year.

There needs to be more of this type of housing in Vancouver so that singles, families and seniors can live, work and participate in the city. With more affordable housing options. It is horrifying to hear of working people having to avail themselves of shelters and other emergency housing because of the dismal lack of options.