Furstenau: More action needed to make housing affordable, particularly for young people

October 18, 2020

DUNCAN B.C. – B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau says the next government needs to go further to address the housing crisis. Furstenau made her remarks during a youth day of action for the B.C. Greens in her local campaign’s riding of the Cowichan Valley.

“Young people should feel hopeful and excited about their future in this province,” said Furstenau. 

“While we made some progress to cool the market and protect renters during the minority government, many B.C. communities are still far too unaffordable, especially for young people. While the B.C. NDP is promising action on affordability yet again, analysis by CBC published yesterday shows that their touted campaign promise of saving families $3,400 would benefit less than 2% of households.

“We risk undermining any progress if we don’t stay committed to a clear goal - that everyone has a home that they can afford and that meets their needs. This is an issue that affects everyone: from seniors on a fixed income struggling with rising costs, to young professionals who can’t afford to raise a family in our cities, to those with lower incomes facing housing insecurity and in some cases, homelessness. 

“Our communities should be places that are welcoming for people from all walks of life. Where young people feel optimistic and aren’t constantly feeling anxious about their future, where people can afford to live and raise their families near where they work, where everyone has a safe, secure home, and where our neighbourhoods are vibrant and full of life.”

On the issue of affordable housing, the B.C. Greens would: 

  • Take further steps to expand diverse forms of housing in our communities and ensure that our housing is affordable for people who live and work in our cities. These steps include:

    • Taking a housing first approach and accelerate investments to affordable, supportive and social housing on a priority basis;

    • Expanding supports for co-op housing through extending leases for existing co-ops about to expire, create a land bank for new co-ops, and provide security of tenure for co-ops on leased land;

    • Work with local governments to expand the “missing middle”, such as townhouses and triplexes;

    • Establish a capital fund to support the acquisition and maintenance of rental housing by nonprofits to maintain affordable rental units and address the financialization of the rental market; 

    • Close the bare trust loophole;

    • Close loopholes in the speculation tax that allow too many foreign owners and satellite families to be exempt.

  • Introduce a rental supplement that will:

    • Close the gap between affordable rent and what renters are actually paying.

    • Introduce a means-tested grant that applies to low and moderate income earners who are paying more than 30% of their income in rent.

  • Convene a taskforce to deal with the rising cost of strata insurance and develop solutions as soon as the BC Financial Services Authority (BCFSA) finishes their investigation. The taskforce should include insurance brokers, insurers and strata owners.

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