Darryl Schmidt Asks:
What are your plans to increase affordable housing if any?
The NDP's Homes for BC plan--with a budgeted investment of $300 million over 3 years--will help make accommodation more affordable for British Columbians. Here are some details:
• Freezing rents to the end of 2021 and capping increases after that: To make life more affordable for renters – particularly during the hardship caused by COVID-19 – we will freeze rents until the end of 2021. After that, the action we took to limit rent increases to the rate of inflation will be made permanent.
• Providing a renter’s rebate:
We will bring in an income-tested renter’s rebate of $400 a year for households earning up to $80,000 annually that are not already receiving other rental support.
• Reducing construction costs to make homes
By bringing down costs for developers, we can bring down the cost of housing for people. We’ll streamline and modernize housing construction by eliminating outdated parking minimums in projects close to
public transit, develop a single-window provincial permitting process, and work with communities
to streamline approval processes at the local level.
• Controlling the rising cost of strata insurance:
We’ve begun tackling this problem already by closing loopholes in strata insurance and beefing up regulatory powers – and tasked the BC Financial Services Authority to investigate and find new ways to help bring insurance costs down. If rates have not corrected by the end of 2021, we will develop a public strata insurance option, similar to Saskatchewan.
• Continuing to deliver a steady supply of new affordable homes:
For years, when housing related revenues were soaring, BC Liberal government investments in affordable public housing fell short. The resulting lack of affordable housing has hurt people, communities, and our
economy. Our government has started to turn that around, with more than 25,000 affordable homes – including co-op housing – complete or underway across the province in just three years. But there is more work to do. At stake in this election is our 10-year housing plan, and the 114,000 new, affordable housing it’s bringing to tens of thousands of British Columbians. We will continue rolling out our Homes For BC plan, the largest investment in affordable housing in our province’s history.
• Providing more homes for Indigenous people
in BC : We will deliver the remaining units in our $550 million commitment to building 1,750 new
homes, both on- and off-reserve – and pressure the federal government to do its share in providing urgent housing for Indigenous people.
• Getting more affordable housing built through Housing Hub partnerships:
Through the Housing Hub we launched in 2018, we’ll provide additional low-interest loans to add tens of thousands more homes for middle-income families. We’ll expand the role of this innovative team to partner with non-profit and co-op housing providers to acquire and preserve existing rental housing.
We’ll also instruct the Housing Hub to look for new pathways to home ownership through rent-to-
own or other equity-building programs.
• Building more supportive housing:
With 2,800 units of supportive housing already built in just a few years, we’ll increase that total to at least
5,000 units through our 10-year Homes For BC plan – helping to curb existing encampments and
prevent new encampments from being created. Kamloops has benefited from this investment with new supportive housing under construction on St. Paul Street.
• New rent supplements for people moving on from supportive housing:
We will provide rent supplements for residents of supportive housing who are ready to move on to independent living – freeing up space in existing supportive housing.