Burnaby joins call for affordable housing

Burnaby is adding its voice to a chorus of more than 140 municipalities across Canada calling on the federal government to keep housing affordable.

At the Feb. 3 city council meeting, councillors passed a resolution supporting a campaign by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to get the federal government to work with provincial, territorial and municipal leaders to create a long term housing plan.

“This is quite urgent and attention needs to be paid at the federal level,” said Colleen Jordan, the chair of the city’s community development committee.

Currently more than 68,000 households in British Columbia receive $170 million in housing subsidies every year.

Across the country, the subsidy totals $1.7 billion.

That money helps build affordable rental housing, support co-ops and other initiatives that can keep a roof over the heads of families struggling to make ends meet.

But many of those subsidies are set to expire this year and the FCM wants a commitment from Ottawa that funding will continue.

“We need a partnership to address Canada’s housing crunch, which is the most urgent financial issue facing Canadians today,” said FCM president Claude Dauphin in a speech to the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association last week.

“We cannot afford to wait any longer.”

Coun. Pietro Calendino said that urgency is especially being felt in Burnaby where “affordability is beyond a lot of people’s means. We’re in danger of putting people on the street if federal housing subsidies are lost.”

In January, a survey by Demographia, an urban policy consulting company, ranked Vancouver’s housing market as the second least affordable in the world.




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