Decent, safe, and affordable housing is an absolute foundation for healthy lives. Research has shown the critical links between housing and health. Without appropriate and secure housing, our health suffers, our mental health deteriorates, we are more stressed. Without affordable housing we may need to skip on food or medications in order to pay the rent. Every single person requires affordable housing in order to be healthy, and yet so many struggle to find decent housing in Canada, one of the richest countries in the world.
As the October federal election approaches, housing continues to be one of the critical issues Canadian face. After over 20 years of minimal attention on the issue, the federal government has finally re-engaged with housing policy and funding. While much jurisdictional authority for housing provision and regulation lies with provincial governments, the federal government, nonetheless, can leverage significant affordable housing infrastructure through its spending powers. Indeed, federal leadership in ensuring affordable housing has been key in the past. Yet, housing experts worry the current initiative promises too little, to be delivered tomorrow and not today.
In May, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden caused a small media storm when comments he made that he had no empathy for millennials who argue they face more difficult economic circumstances than previous generations circulated on social media. Biden was only the most recent public figure to weigh in on what’s become a hot topic over the past few years.
For Black History Month, the Institute launched a policy series highlighting bold policy solutions in order to tackle anti-Black racism, focusing on the need for intergovernmental action. Each submission proposes a plan for governments to work together to tackle a problem; while serving as a guide for advocates working towards [what should be] our collective effort to eradicate anti-Black racism.
When Christy Clark’s government released its budget in February, many advocates were hoping for real action on soaring housing costs. British Columbia’s economy is growing and investments in affordable housing in this budget – for the last full fiscal year before going to the polls in 2017 – had the potential to address the severe crisis many British Columbians are facing.
Leading progressive academic economist Steve Keen gained international recognition after he successfully predicted the 2007 global crisis using an alternative macro-economic model built on the pioneering work of Hyman Minsky and Wynne Godley. His new book, “Can we avoid another financial crisis?” argues that the lessons of the crash have still not been learned by the economic policy mainstream, and that a new crisis looms for some highly indebted countries, including Canada.
Experts have roundly criticized BC Premier Christy Clark’s recent home ownership grant policy. A key part of the negative reaction has been based on fears that interest free grants will increase housing prices and drive a further wedge between incomes and housing costs, a divide already plaguing the Vancouver and lower mainland markets.
On September 22 and 23, the Broadbent Institute hosted Progress Summit BC to chart a progressive path forward for the province in this critical election year. In the panel entitled 'Retrieving affordability: progressive policy solutions for BC’s housing crisis' panelists were asked to outline what practical, progressive, policies can ensure future generations of lower and middle-income British Columbians can live and thrive in their cities. A summary of their remarks are outlined below.