Victoria MP Laurel Collins and New Democratic party housing critic Jenny Kwan are calling on the federal government to help make housing more affordable.
On Thursday (April 13), Collins and Kwan hosted a press conference at Fernwood Square and a roundtable at the Fernwood Community Association to hear concerns from housing providers in Greater Victoria.
“People and non-profits on the ground who are delivering housing are saying that this is a crisis that needs to be addressed,” Kwan said. “They want the federal government to get back to delivering housing. They want capital investments by way of a grant and not a loan. They want subsidies to be in place so we can keep units affordable. We are pushing for the federal government to take action to address this housing crisis.”
Collins said the concern she hears most from her constituents is that people are struggling with housing.
“I hear this daily from folks in my community,” Collins said. “People are living on the streets or they are afraid that they won’t be able to afford rent next month. Many folks have given up on the idea of ever owning a home. Housing insecurity in Victoria is a huge concern. Grandparents are seeing their children and their grandchildren move away because they can’t afford to live here.”
Kwan added that we need to stop allowing profiteering on housing to take place.
“Corporate landlords and real estate investment trusts are trying to increase their profitability. They look for buildings that are underperforming. They swoop in and purchase them and try to push out long-term tenants that are there. Once they’re out, they jack up the rent.”
Kwan said the federal government needs to view housing as a basic human right.
“What we need to do is stop treating housing as a commodity,” Kwan said. “The provincial government is doing their best to address the housing crisis. They can’t do it alone.”