It’s time for a government that takes the housing crisis seriously

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John Horgan Leader of the B.C. New Democrats
John Horgan Leader of the B.C. New Democrats
John Horgan
Leader of the B.C. New Democrats

Housing is a human right.

That has been confirmed by our courts, but more importantly – it’s something we know in our hearts. B.C.’s housing crisis has resulted in real human suffering.

Without housing, none of us can thrive. When families struggle to afford housing, it impacts every part of their lives. Many people – mothers, fathers, students, workers – are worrying right now. Worrying about how they will afford rent, groceries, and electricity.  They are worried about how much money they have to spend on gas, on bus passes, to get to work, because they can’t afford to live closer. They are worried about spending more time on the roads, stuck in traffic, than at home, with their children. They are hopeful for solutions. But the Christy Clark government is missing in action.

Christy Clark waited until rental vacancy became an emergency and home prices skyrocketed before she would admit the problem exists.  And even when she did admit what we all knew for years – that the housing crisis is real and it’s hurting people in our communities, she didn’t act with urgency. No, she slapped a tax on Vancouver properties, and then shut down the legislature so she could take the autumn off to start her election campaign.

Families didn’t get to take a break from worrying about housing. Families didn’t get to take a break from rising rents. After years of neglect by this government, the housing crisis continues.

People are paying the price – so that Christy Clark can look good right before the election. She doesn’t care that every day she waits to take action is a day that people spend worrying about how they will make ends meet. For her, it’s just another political game.

After years ignoring the problem she wants people to believe her now when she promises to solve a housing crisis she ignored until it became an emergency.

British Columbians deserve a government that takes their problems seriously – before they become emergencies. ​

I have a real plan that will help families afford safe, healthy housing.

I’m committed to stepping up to fund co-op housing when the federal agreements expire.  I am ready to work with communities on tax solutions that will cool an overheated market and raise funds for affordable housing across this province. I have a plan to help universities be part of the solution, by letting them finance and build student housing to take the pressure off our cities.

I want to close the loopholes in our residential tenancy laws to protect renters from being evicted or suffering unfair rent increases.

Housing is a human right. We have to treat it like one.

After years of a government that only serves themselves and their rich friends, B.C. is quickly becoming a province where only the wealthy can thrive. I want to change that.

Safe, affordable and appropriate housing can and must be available to every one of us. Together, we can make that a reality.