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.

 

Just Posted

Airport registers modest passenger increase

Manager anticipates further growth in 2018 as expansion project nears completion

Nearly $500,000 available for internships with First Nations government

Funds announced through partnership with Northern Development and Government of Canada

Kitimat registers biggest drop in property assessments

The residential property in the north with the highest value was $2.892 million

Former mayor Ray Brady passes away

“What I can say is that he was passionate about his beliefs and he would fight for them.”

CDC’s housing section looking for new home

CDC executive director says it has until Jan. 31 to move out.

Airport registers modest passenger increase

Manager anticipates further growth in 2018 as expansion project nears completion

RCMP nail sex toy thief

Shop owner plays a role in arrest

Ice-cream-eating bear draws controversy

An Alberta Wildlife Park posted a video this week of one of their bears going through a Dairy Queen drive-through

Fernie, RCMP go to court over city log books in fatal ammonia leak probe

Log books center stage in clashing of investigations between the city and RCMP

B.C.’s biggest pot plant planned for Oliver

Co-founder Tony Holler said the 700,000 sq. ft. facility would produce 100,000 kg of pot per year

High-end whisky seized in B.C. bar raids

Raids end in seizures at Victoria, Nanaimo and Vancouver whisky joints

Double-doubles and demonstrations: Employees rally outside Tim Hortons

Protests held in response to Ontario franchise owners cutting employee benefits and breaks

Train derails in Northwest B.C.

CN reports no injuries or dangerous goods involved after coal train derailment.

Las Vegas shooter acted alone, exact motive still undetermined: Sheriff

Stephen Paddock was behind the gunfire that killed 58 people including two Canadians

Most Read