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Homelessness & Affordable Housing

Poverty reduction means having a city that is inclusive to everyone in that we all share in the prosperity and diversity of our community. We need to foster a worldview that gives dignity and respect to all. The causes and solutions of homelessness and poverty are complex. Factors such as lack of affordable housing, cost of food, discrimination, ableism all contribute to the growing poverty we see today.

 

37% of evictions are due to sale of a property and 26% of evictions are due to the landlord wanting the unit.

 

Purpose Built Rentals

Building more housing overall is a step toward combating homelessness and poverty. Increasing the amount of purpose-built rentals by using city-owned properties and developer initiated projects will add to the housing supply overall. According to Statistics Canada, Canadian Housing Survey the top two reasons renters are evicted is that the landlord is selling or plans on using the space for family. Renters can have the security of knowing this would not happen living in a purpose-built rental. While purpose-built rentals may still be at market rate, allowing variances on height or community amenities in exchange for a minimum amount of affordable housing is reasonable. We then need to make allowances on a case by case basis.

 

The Missing Middle Housing Initiative has been criticized for not including affordable housing specifically. The policy can be expanded to legalize low-rise apartments across the whole city in order to take significant steps towards eradicating homelessness; however, at the doorstep, I’m hearing residents feel that this change would be too radical for Victoria. I hear you. Passing the Missing Middle can be a first step.

 

Recovery Housing

Victoria needs to create supportive recovery housing in small clusters in every neighbourhood using a wrap-around model of care. The distributive model of homes in every neighbourhood where there are 4-5 previously unhoused individuals supported by social workers, outreach workers, and psychiatric nurses if necessary would help the vulnerable recover and move toward finding purpose and vocation. Integration of all peoples despite income creates diverse communities where neighbours can help each other according to ability and resource. We all need a village and neighbours that walk their dog or garden in their yards can be meaningful interactions as folks recover in stable housing. Having a place to go before and after treatment is crucial for the recovery success of an individual.

 

Public Transit

Providing free bus passes for low-income individuals, not just seniors further alleviates day to day costs of getting around the city. Increasing reliable public transit options so that individuals don’t need to sustain the costs of owning and maintaining a vehicle helps fight poverty further.

 

Youth

Increasing services and support for youth, especially youth aging out of the foster care system is vital in breaking the cycle of poverty. According to a local charity for youth homelessless, 156 youth are homeless in Victoria and 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ2S+. The City of Victoria needs to work with the province of BC to provide support to youth. Removing barriers for developments such as the HeroWork partnership with Threshold Housing, a housing complex for youth in need are steps forward. If elected, I would vehemently support similar initiatives.

I propose:

  • Increasing low-income housing developments on city-owned properties
  • Providing free bus passes for low-income residents beyond low-income seniors and those on disabilities (similar system to current low-income recreational passes)
  • Building intentional purpose-built rentals
  • Integrating recovery homes throughout the City of Victoria
  • Supporting partnerships with charities and corporations that are increasing services and homes for those under the poverty line

Read more about my platform: