New polling shows a majority of British Columbians support progressive policies to address the housing affordability crisis.
The soaring cost of housing is the single biggest component of the affordability crisis in B.C., according to the poll commissioned by the B.C. General Employees’ Union (BCGEU).
“This polling underlines what has become a divide in our society – between creditors profiting on the housing market and working people who must pay significant portions of their income on rents and mortgages,” said BCGEU Treasurer Paul Finch.
Policies recommended include investments in public housing, mandatory inclusionary zoning and tying rent increases to units rather than individual tenancies, also known as vacancy control.
Inclusionary zoning requires 10 to 20 per cent of new market housing developments to be affordable. It has proven successful in the U.S. and England, creating hundreds of thousands of affordable housing units, according to research from the government of Canada.
British Columbians believe all levels of government need to do more to address this crisis – with 78 per cent, 81 per cent and 73 per cent respectively saying that the federal, provincial and municipal governments need to do more.
“All levels of government can implement proven solutions to make our communities more affordable but year after year they fail to take the action needed to make a difference,” said Kari Michaels, BCGEU executive vice-president.
Housing is considered affordable if it costs less than 30 per cent of a household’s income and more than half of the respondents spend more than 30 per cent of their income on housing,
Furthermore, half of the respondents without homes say homeownership is not achievable.
“Unless we take action now, what is increasingly becoming a generational gap will only grow,” Finch said.