Vancouver Sun: Let’s make way for the homes we need in B.C. (Op-Ed by Maya Russell)

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Op-Ed by Maya Russell, Vancouver Sun, February 20 (with reference to BCNPHA)

My friend Jana has kidney disease. She lives in a tiny, one-room basement suite in my city of New Westminster, by the grace of an old friend who rents the rest of the house. On her disability income she can just afford this small piece of independence. At 500 square feet under a six-foot ceiling, it’s hardly a luxury. Their landlord recently broke some heart-wrenching news — the house is going on the market. Jana needs access to kidney dialysis three days a week and is looking for where she can possibly afford to live, and still get to the treatments that keep her alive. It’s a terrifying prospect.

My friend Paula lives with three children in a tiny suite. It’s not enough room for her growing kids, but moving is not an option — she needs this housing. In this rental market, the idea of safe, adequate, affordable housing for their family is a cruel joke. The three kids are sharing a bedroom. It’s not just for a few weeks — not a tough spell while mom gets things sorted out — it’s their entire childhood. And there’s no end in sight.

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