The housing crisis is a direct reflection of wealth inequality in BC.
As the gap between rich and poor grows, so does the gap between those who own homes and those who don’t. British Columbians who don’t make enough for the ‘living wage’ don’t have many options for their home. Most of them end up in a home that is more than they can afford, overcrowded or needs significant repairs. Those who can afford housing are often high-income earners who could further benefit from renting or selling their property.
The growing wealth inequality in our province is having negative impacts on everybody. It’s not just the young people who can barely afford their rent: it’s their aging parents, whose children cannot afford to live close by or help them as they age. It’s businesses who are facing a labour shortage as employees can’t find homes near work. It’s people, it’s communities, it’s our economy.
Wealth inequality is even more extensive for equity-seeking groups. In particular, systemic racism, such as being denied a mortgage based on group characteristics like your race (“redlining”), has shut BIPOC (black, Indigenous, people of colour) groups out of the housing market at disproportionately higher rates than others. Many immigrants and people of colour face discrimination from banks, landlords, developers, and online.
Without making significant changes to wealth inequality and distribution, the housing market will continue to be out of reach for most British Columbians. We need measures that stop real estate from concentrating in the hands of the highest bidders and block everyone else out. We need support for lower-income British Columbians to meet the ‘living wage’ and afford safe, stable housing. Most importantly we need action from the government now.
Holding the government to account
We're collecting the stories of those who have been affected by the housing crisis. They help inform our work in the legislature, our advocacy on housing, and party policy. Click here if you would like to share your story with us.