Housing advocates demand B.C. election commitments 0
Downtown Eastside resident Fraser Stuart holds a prop iceberg Monday that outlines the number of homeless and at-risk people in B.C. The prop was part of a press conference at the Carnegie Community Centre. (CHRIS CAMPBELL/ 24 HOURS)
B.C. has a housing “crisis” and political parties must make clear their solutions before May’s provincial election, a newly formed collection of housing advocates said.
On Monday, the Social Housing Coalition BC issued a list of demands, including the construction of 10,000 new units annually, during a press conference at the Carnegie Community Centre in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
Other demands by the advocacy group included protecting the existing inventory of social housing from higher rents, eroding conditions and expiring operating agreements.
The coalition likened the situation to an “iceberg” and demanded recognition of tenant unions, housing rights for temporary migrant workers and taxation to fund new social housing.
Coalition member Ivan Drury said Victoria has done little on the issue of social housing, with politicians mostly recycling project announcements.
“There’s a shell game around the construction of social housing.”
The government is currently renovating 13 single-occupancy residential hotels in Vancouver, but Drury said the rooms would not be expanded in size or include bathrooms or kitchens.
“So they’re remaining tiny, squalid rooms in insecure buildings,” he said. “It’s absurd to count them as new social housing.”
Housing minister Rich Coleman and NDP opposition critic Joe Trasolini were unavailable for comment by the 24 hours deadline.