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HORGAN: Working together, to deliver housing for people

B.C. Premier John Horgan
Image Credit: FLICKR/B.C. NDP
August 17, 2018 - 12:00 PM

 


OPINION


Housing affordability is the biggest challenge facing people in B.C. every day. For years, the crisis was ignored while prices surged beyond incomes, and hurt people, businesses and communities.

Our government is making different choices to make life better for everyone in B.C., not just the few at the top. That includes the largest investment in affordable housing in B.C.’s history - more than $7 billion over 10 years will help to build 114,000 homes for people.

To stabilize B.C.’s real estate market, we’re taking decisive action to tackle demand by taxing speculation, closing loopholes, and cracking down on fraud, including money laundering that has been linked to organized crime and skyrocketing housing costs.

To provide people experiencing homelessness with a place to call home, we’re building more than 2,000 units of modular housing in 22 B.C. communities. From Surrey, to Vernon, to Powell River, we’re working with local partners to lift people up. I’m already hearing stories about people getting back to school and work. People are getting the support and services they need to start a new, better chapter in their lives.

Building on the success of this program and the incredible interest from local governments, we have recently launched the Building BC: Supportive Housing Fund to deliver an additional 2,500 new homes with 24/7 support services for residents.

The program is also expected to create 2,050 direct and indirect jobs with manufacturers from Kelowna, Penticton, Courtenay, Westbank, and Kamloops building the modular units.

These programs are part of our 30-point housing plan to tackle the housing crisis and bring relief to British Columbians. We’re directly funding 37,000 new affordable rental units. We have opened a new Housing Hub to leverage partnerships to build even more affordable homes. We’re boosting rental assistance for seniors and working families. We’re retrofitting and upgrading existing affordable housing, and more.

To improve security and fairness for renters and landlords throughout the province, we’ve created a Rental Housing Task Force and increased funding to the Residential Tenancy Branch. We also closed the fixed-term lease loophole and the geographic increase loophole. This means landlords have clear guidelines and renters have more protection from unfair evictions and rent increases.

To make sure women and children fleeing violence have somewhere to go, we’re building and operating 1,500 units of transitional and second-stage housing. This is first time in 20 years that thousands of women and children fleeing domestic violence have been given substantial support in transition and supportive housing.

The housing crisis in B.C. didn’t appear overnight, and it won’t be fixed overnight. But we’re working hard to deliver affordable housing for people in communities in every part of B.C.

It’s part of our commitment to make life more affordable, improve the services you count on, and build a strong, sustainable economy that works for people.

This is only the beginning. We’re going to keep working for you, to build a better future for everyone in B.C., together.

— John Horgan is the Premier of British Columbia and leader of the B.C. NDP party


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