Re: Affordable housing should be priority, April 8 editorial.
Kudos to PAN for bringing forward the matter of affordable housing.
As the editorial stands, creating more affordable housing will help three stakeholders. First, speculators could acquire more housing units, thereby increase their assets. Second, more affordable housing will help money lenders increase their mortgages portfolio for the benefit of their shareholders. Third, governments could realize increasing revenues through scalable taxation of unused housing – affordable or not.
Here is some trivia: CMHC defines ‘affordable housing’ as costing less than 30 per cent of median income. In 2011, StatsCan found that 65 per cent of Vancouverites lived in the abode they owned. This means most people don’t have a problem with finding affordable housing.
The fourth stakeholder in the matter of affordable housing is found amongst the 35 per cent of us who don’t own the abode we live in – namely, renters, squatters, homeless and other peasants.
So, how can we peasants get a break, if we want it?
One way not yet explored is to increase the inventory of BC Housing. This can be instantly accomplished. A government can lawfully cause housing that is left unoccupied for more than six months to be allocated to BC Housing inventory for five years. This period can be renewed if the owner of the housing unit is unable to cause it to be occupied within a subsequent allowed time period, say six months.
There may be more solutions out there. However, should we not focus on defining the real problem about housing? Could it have anything to do with avarice, for example?
Walt Johanson, White Rock