News Release: Voters and Candidates Urged to Make Housing Central in Provincial Election Campaign

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For Immediate Release:

Voters and Candidates Urged to Make Housing Central in Provincial Election Campaign

Co-op and non-profit housing sectors outline key asks to address worsening crisis in British Columbia and provide tools for voters to learn about the issues in their community

VANCOUVER, B.C. (October 14, 2020) – With voting day approaching, BC Non Profit Housing Association and Co-op Housing Federation British Columbia are calling on voters and candidates to make housing affordability and issues around homelessness a priority in this provincial election campaign.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the growing gaps and inequalities in our housing system,” said Jill Atkey, CEO of BC Non Profit Housing Association. “We need to double down on our commitments to solve the housing and homelessness crisis affecting so many British Columbians, and we hope that voters will cast their ballots with housing in mind.”

As the non-partisan umbrella organizations for non-profit and co-op housing providers in the province, BCNPHA and CHF BC have outlined three main asks for all parties and candidates seeking to be part of the next provincial government.

  1. Address this worsening crisis by accelerating the province’s investment in the development of 114,000 new affordable homes for British Columbians within the mandate of the next government instead of over 10 years.
  2. B.C. is losing affordable rental homes faster than they can be built – three homes are lost for every new one built. Support a strategy enabling the community housing sector to purchase private rental housing and make it permanently affordable.
  3. Take bold action to end homelessness by 2030 – this includes expanding access to temporary and permanent supportive housing, along with needed wraparound supports, stepping up mental health services, and making safer alternatives to the poisoned drug supply more widely available.

“This is an unprecedented opportunity to realize our goal of a safe, secure, affordable home for everyone in British Columbia,” said Thom Armstrong, CEO of Co-op Housing Federation British Columbia. “It also provides us with a chance to finally address the structural racism and other systemic barriers to social and economic justice in our housing and health systems.”

Building on the success of their Rental Housing Index, BCNPHA and CHF BC have compiled easy to navigate rental affordability data in each of B.C.’s 87 ridings to help local voters evaluate the  affordability situation in their local riding. This was compiled using the most recent Statistics Canada census data to lay out a variety of information including average rental housing costs, housing costs as a percentage of income, as well as overcrowding and other useful statistics to measure housing affordability. The site also features interactive tools to help voters share the data on social media or to contact their local candidates to urge them to make housing central in this campaign and in the next government.

“The data is clear — housing affordability is an issue that impacts nearly every community and almost every voter across our province,” added Atkey. “Now is the time to do something about it – for all voters and candidates regardless of which party they support to ensure that our incoming government is committed to taking meaningful action to solve these critical issues.”

To learn more about this issue and access riding by riding information, please visit: https://bcnpha.ca/make-housing-central-2020/

A backgrounder with the detailed asks can be found following this news release.

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For further information, or to schedule an interview, please contact:

Danielle Palfery

Hill + Knowlton Strategies (for the BC Non-Profit Housing Association/CHF BC)

604-692-4222

danielle.palfery@hkstrategies.ca

Dean Pogas

BC Non-Profit Housing Association

604.363.6590

dean@bcnpha.ca

 

Backgrounder: Detailed Make Housing Central 2020 Asks

  1. Accelerate the province’s investment in the development of new affordable homes for British Columbians
    1. A new government should remain committed to the province’s historic investment in the development of 114,000 new affordable homes over ten years
    2. However, that investment should be accelerated to respond to BC’s deepening affordability crisis, delivering the promised homes by the end of the next government’s mandate
  1. Support a strategy enabling the community housing sector to purchase private rental housing and make it permanently affordable
    1. We can’t build new affordable homes as quickly as we are losing them – in fact, despite historic investments in affordable new supply, we continue to lose three low-cost rental homes for every new affordable home built
    2. Coupled with an accelerated investment in new supply, a well-capitalized acquisition strategy is a key element of any plan to protect rental housing affordability and prevent homelessness
  1. Take bold action to end homelessness by 2030
    1. While new affordable homes are being built, dramatically expand access to temporary and permanent supportive housing, along with the needed wraparound supports
    2. Make safer alternatives to the poisoned drug supply more widely and permanently available, and guarantee access to the full range of substance use and mental health treatment and recovery options for youth and adults
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