NDP housing critic David Eby

NDP calls B.C. housing plan a step back

Housing Minister Rich Coleman returns to direct social housing investment; NDP's David Eby says some rents will go up

The B.C. government is committing to put an additional $335 million into social housing projects over the next five years, most of it from transfers of property to non-profit societies.

Premier Christy Clark announced the social housing program before this week’s provincial budget, calling it “the largest single social and affordable housing investment in the province’s history.”

That description was targeted by the opposition, who said it represents a reduction in the commitment made in the government’s 2015 plan. NDP housing critic David Eby said Monday the announcement by Clark and Housing Minister Rich Coleman came after the government was caught redirecting proceeds of social housing sales to general revenue.

“Under this program, the province sells public assets, social housing across the province, to non-profit organizations,” Eby told the legislature. “Unfortunately, when they sell this social housing, they do not and they cannot, because of the economics, guarantee that all of the units will continue to be rented at non-market rates. That’s rents affordable by seniors, to people with disabilities, to families living in poverty.

“A significant number of these units will be rented at what he called market rates, which is a fancy way of saying rates that are not affordable to the people who used to live in those units.”

The B.C. Liberal government’s plan to invest directly in new social housing is a change from Coleman’s past policy to focus on rent subsidies rather than direct spending on social housing. The province currently pays rent assistance to nearly 30,000 low-income seniors and families, and funds another 41,000 in independent social housing.

The latest commitment is to expand social housing with $50 million in the fiscal year that starts April 1, another $50 million the following year, $75 million in 2018-19 and $90 million each of the next two years.

Coleman said the money comes from the province’s non-profit asset transfer program, begun in 2014.

“Its success is allowing us to reinvest money back into affordable housing across the province, while also helping non-profit societies secure the financing they need to be sustainable,” Coleman said.

The B.C. government defines “affordable housing” as costing 30 per cent or less of the household’s gross income.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The website Chigoby is among eight scam online retailers that have been identified by the Better Business Bureau. The site was fraudulently using an Abbotsford residential address, but has since switched to one in Poland.
Eight scam online-shopping websites fraudulently use Abbotsford address

Better Business Bureau says victims lost hundreds for non-existent or poor-quality products

Last year, the Mission Christmas Bureau celebrated its office opening with an open house. Covid-19 has forced the organization to switch to online registrations this year. / Kevin Mills File Photo
Registration for this year’s Mission Christmas Bureau will be completed online

Bureau gearing up to make Christmas possible for hundreds of local families and children in need

Barry Shantz in 2015 in front of a homeless camp at Gladys Avenue and Cyril Street. Abbotsford News file photo.
RCMP officers cleared in killing of Abbotsford homeless advocate

Barry Shantz was shot following a mental health crisis at his home on on Jan. 13, 2020,

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Oct. 18

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Local photographer Wolf Drescher spotted film crews set up along Esplanade Avenue in front of Canwest Art Gallery on the Lake on Thursday, October 1. Film production crews working on ‘Solitary’ will be around the area until close to the end of the month. (Contributed Photo/Wolf Drescher)
“Solitary” Update: Dramatic action scene to be filmed in Agassiz

‘Solitary’ will film a break-in, getaway at Kent Outdoors

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

In this file photo, snow is seen falling along the Coquihalla Highway. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Weather statement issued for Coquihalla, Hwy 3, as arctic front approaches

The early season snowfall expected to hit Fraser Valley, Friday, Oct. 23

(Pixabay)
Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

The Surrey Eagles are currently seeking billet families for its players in advance of the 2020-‘21 BC Hockey League season. (Garrett James photo)
BCHL team in ‘desperate’ need of billet families for upcoming hockey season

COVID-19 pandemic has made finding homes for players difficult: billet co-ordinator

John Horgan brought the NDP campaign to Langley on Wednesday, Oct. 21, just three days before the B.C. vote (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Horgan brings NDP campaign to Langley

Predicts gains, says people are looking at the party ‘differently’ after three years

A glimpse of some of the 480 (approx) cars written off as a result of the acid spills along the Trail highway in 2018. Photo: Trail Times
2 years after huge highway acid spill, Kootenay Ford dealer’s frustration grows with ICBC

Trail AM Ford owner Dan Ashman says he just wants fair compensation from ICBC

Mail-in ballot from Elections BC (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
At least 26% of eligible voters have already cast their ballot, Elections BC says

Voters can cast a ballot until 8 p.m PST on Election Day

Most Read