Canada

Dan Humano: Housing is a national problem, especially in BC

British Columbia leads all Canadian provinces in the percentage of residents living in affordable, inadequate, or inadequate housing.new data shows

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New figures show that BC leads all Canadian provinces in the percentage of residents living in affordable, inadequate or inadequate housing.

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The findings may not come as a shock to residents of a city as affordable and famous as Vancouver, but the latest census figures are a keen reminder of the depth of the challenge across the state and nation. let me

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Across Canada, 1 in 10 households are in “core housing need,” according to information released Wednesday. That means they spend more than 30% of their income on shelter, live in overcrowded homes, need major renovations, or a combination of these factors. increase.

BC’s percentage is 13.4%, the highest of any state.

Only Nunavut reports a higher level of core housing need at 32.9%, and while the region is experiencing a housing crisis, its high level of need is primarily due to overcrowding and dilapidated housing. and is not affordable.

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Of 13 Canadian cities, 12 are in British Columbia reporting the highest need for core housing, including large cities such as Vancouver and Surrey, suburbs such as White Rock and Langley, and population 665 such as Greenwood. It contains a small community of people.

One of the key takeaways from the latest figures is that the national level of households in core housing need has actually dropped from 12.7% in the 2016 Census to 10.1% in 2021. Families suffer from inadequate housing — findings call for serious caution.

The census will take place in mid-2021, according to Andy Yang, director of urban programs at Simon Fraser University. After COVID-19 prompted an unprecedented government response, including direct financial support that benefits many low-income households, especially renters.

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“If anything, it proves social policy that what we should do to address affordability and poverty is to give people money. They won’t use it for alcohol – they’ll use it for rent and food,'” Yang said.

Canada’s response to COVID-19 “shows that improved remittances can reduce poverty,” he said. That’s the story. ”

“But what will it look like in the future when income support and transfer payments end and inflation comes?” Yang said. “I think we still have a lot of work ahead of us before anyone can say Canada is affordable.”

Andy Yang, Director of City Programs, Simon Fraser University (2017, Coal Harbour).
Andy Yang, Director of City Programs, Simon Fraser University, Coal Harbour, 2017. Photo by Mark Van Mannen /PNG

Canadian housing expert Steve Pomeroy agrees that core housing need rates have fallen significantly across the country, but must be recognized as a ‘statistical anomaly’ due to COVID . He said the positive trend of reducing the need for core housing “will be significantly reversed once we see the end of all these gains. …that wipes out these ostensible gains at affordability. So the affordable part is a little smoke and mirror talk.

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Pomeroy, Professor at McMaster University in Hamilton and Executive Advisor to the Canadian Housing Evidence Collaborative, said: “We should do more.”

Pomeroy also noted that British Columbia reported a much smaller decline in major housing demand between the last two census than other provinces or national level.

British Columbia reports steeper declines in homeownership rates than most other states, significantly higher rents, and enormous wealth generated by property owners. and it’s important to understand how they are related, says Paul Kershaw, an associate professor at the University of British Columbia.B.C.

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New figures show Canada’s home prices are clearly decoupled from income, a phenomenon that was severe in Metro Vancouver many years ago but is now a “national phenomenon.” .

When house prices started shattering local incomes in the Metro many years ago, Kershaw said, “I didn’t raise any alarms as many of us got richer, myself included.” .

Kershaw, who purchased his home in Pitt Meadows 18 years ago, said:

Paul Kershaw, associate professor at the University of BC.
Paul Kershaw, associate professor at the University of BC. Photo by Jason Payne /PNG

Homeownership rates are declining across Canada, according to this week’s Census release, with more in British Columbia than in most provinces, with the biggest drop among young people.

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That’s no surprise to Kershaw, founder of Generation Squeeze, a nonprofit that studies the challenges facing young Canadians. But, he says, it shows that “the timing lottery – when someone becomes an adult as an adult – is really changing the class dynamics of our society.”

This doesn’t mean that people who bought homes a generation or two ago did something wrong, Kershaw said. . In a way that hard work doesn’t pay off like it used to? ”

dfumano@postmedia.com

twitter.com/fumano


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Dan Humano: Housing is a national problem, especially in BC

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