Guest Editorial From MP Jenny Kwan – Right to Housing

We republish this articleA�from Ms Kwans’ Winter 2017 Newsletter as a guest editorial with the kind permission ofA� of Jenny Kwan’s Office” Visit Jenny’s website for more information.

Jenny Kwan our our MP (NDP) for Vancouver East. From the community to being an MLA in the BC Legislature (re-elected 4 terms), and since 2015 representing us in the House of Commons. A�Jenny has made a difference in the lives of people in Vancouver East. Standing on the shoulders of the people before her, she is continuing to build a multicultural society where everyone, no matter who you are and where you come from, has the opportunity to succeeda��a Canada where social, economic, and environmental justice will always prevail.A� A�She currently serves as the NDPa��s Critic for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, as well as Critic for Multiculturalism. She serves as Vice-Chair of theA�Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration.A�

Housing has long been declared a basic right by the United Nations, and Canada has signed and ratified a number of international human rights treaties that identify the right to adequate housing as a fundamental human right. The NDP introduced Bill C-325 to enshrine the Right to Housing for all Canadians in the Canadian Bill of Rights. To my dismay, every Liberal MP joined hands with the Conservatives to vote against the bill.

The 2017 Homeless Count found that in Metro Vancouver, there are currently 3,605 people who are homeless. Since 2014, the number of homeless people in Metro Vancouver has increased by 30%, and that number is constantly growing. Of the population, half of them have been homeless for over a year; 16% are young people under the age of 25; 21% are seniors; 21% either have a part-time or full-time job.

With the rental vacancy rate sitting at below 1% for years, many renters are living in constant fear that they may be the next victim of eviction. Many are paying more than 30% of their total income on rent. Families and individuals who have been living in the riding for generations are finding the dream of home ownership in the communities where they grew up further and further out of reach.

This housing crisis did not occur overnight. In fact, I would argue that our housing crisis began in 1993 when the Liberal government cancelled Canada’s national affordable housing program. Had the Liberals not cancelled the program, today we would have half a million more units of affordable housing across Canada than we currently do. In B.C., we would have an additional 100,000 units. Just to illustrate the point, for the homeless population, with 100,000 units of affordable housing, we would be able to house every single homeless person in Metro Vancouver 27 times over. Just imagine what that would look like for our community.

The Liberals say they have a housing plan, but 90% of the funding promised in the 2017 budget will not actually be spent until after the next election. A�The Liberals say housing is right but under their plan, those who need safe secure affordable housing now will just have to wait. Canada is one of the worlda��s richest countries, there is no goodA�reason why thousands of people should be clustered into overcrowded shelters or into sprawling tent cities, or have to couch surf or sleep in their cars or on the street.

Publishers Note:

I found this on a wall recently and is just another view on the issue of homelessness.

Ominousness is a pollical environment resulting from government sellout and foreign invasion.A� They do not want to deal with it any more than they are.A� Theya��ve made quite the industry out of it.A� Now how many people make a living that we are here.A� Maybe not solely because, but stilla��A� cops, lawyers, social workers.A� So if you are ass clown who calls about tents in the parkA� STFW

 

Thank you Ms Kwan, we look forward to hearing more and sharing more of your work in The Crows.

 

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