What does the BC Budget Update mean for housing for low-income people?
Vancouver, BC, Unceded Coast Salish Territories – On Sept. 11 the new BC government brought down a budget update that says how they intend to tax and spend money until next February when there will probably be another budget. What did the budget say about housing, homelessness and renters rights?
The budget says the government will invest $208 Million over 4 years, or $52 million a year on building “affordable” rental housing. They say that this will provide 1700 new units, although it appears that the province is only providing $122,000 per unit. A single unit of social housing built on city-owned land costs about $200,000 so the province must be relying on other “partners” like cities, or nonprofit groups to provide the rest. Just for comparison, the Alliance Against Displacement says we need 10,000 units of social housing a year in BC, not 1700 over 4 years.
The budget says it will provide $291 million over 2 years to build 2000 units of modular housing for people who are homeless. The budget also says the government will spend $173 million over three years to staff these modular units.
For comparison, Vancouver has 2138 counted homeless people as of last March. The city has called for 600 units of modular housing per year for 3 years. The province’s commitment is for about 130 modular units in Vancouver per year if Vancouver gets its share of modular housing money based on Vancouver’s population (13% of the population of BC lives in BC.) So the provincial commitment is way lower than what is actually needed.
Vancouver renters experience a median rent for a one bedroom apartment of over $2000 a month. We desperately need rent control based on the unit, not the tenant, so landlords can’t raise rents between tenancies. There was nothing in the budget about this. It only says that the government will increase the amount of money it spends on the Residential Tenancy Branch.
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About Carnegie Community Action Project
The Carnegie Community Action Project (CCAP) is a project of the board of the Carnegie Community Centre Association. CCAP works mostly on housing, income, and land use issues in the Downtown Eastside (DTES) of Vancouver so that the area can remain a low-income friendly community. CCAP works with English speaking and Chinese speaking DTES residents in speaking out on their own behalf for the changes they would like to see in their neighbourhood.
Lama Mugabo, CCAP Organizer
Lenée Son, CCAP Coordinator