What would you do to immediately improve the situation of affordable housing in our region?
Housing affordability in our region has two components; the rising price to purchase a home, and rental availability. For immediate results, the focus needs to be on rentals. I believe the slogan of the last 15 years “why rent when you can buy” may have been partly responsible for decreasing the supply of rental units. Not everyone wants to own a home; many people prefer the freedom of not being tied down to one place, students come and go, etc. Not everything in life is a financial calculation, there are lifestyles to consider too. I don’t believe handing renters $34/month is the best way to invest our money; it is too small to be effective, it adds no value to anything, and it does nothing to increase the supply.
As a Green MLA I would advocate for creating incentives to reinvigorate the rental industry, both in construction of new units, as well as converting existing buildings to add rental suites. Construction projects take time, but if we can encourage people to invest in opening up their homes to adding suites, homeowners will have added value to their assets and the extra rental supply will keep prices reasonable for renters.