Bobbi, one of the most recent Campbell River Habitat for Humanity homeowners, opens the door to her new home while her youngest daughter looks on in excitement. Photo by Ron Odowichuk

National Housing Day a chance to examine Habitat’s model

By making homeownership a realistic possibility, model is making a difference

The provincial government says it’s never been more important to recognize the issues surrounding housing.

“Homes are where we make family,” Premier John Horgan said Wednesday, which was being recognized as National Housing Day. “They are the foundation of community.”

He also admitted that “too many British Columbians are struggling to find housing they can afford.”

Later that day, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced his government’s much anticipated National Housing Strategy, in which he committed his government to recognizing housing as a “fundamental right,” implementing a new low-income housing benefit as well as the construction of 100,000 new affordable housing units across the country. The strategy has an attached price tag of $40 billion over 10 years.

Here at home, Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North (VIN) says they are doing their best to be part of the solution locally using its own model, recognizing the profound impact that Canada’s affordable housing crisis is having in our community.

According to recently released results from the 2016 census, one in four Canadians spend 30 per cent or more of their income on housing costs. Spending more than 30 per cent, according to some housing advocates, puts people at an increased risk of homelessness. In Campbell River, a lack of decent and affordable housing options has meant that people in the community are struggling to make ends meet, often while living in sub-standard housing.

“At Habitat we work daily to build more homes for local families in need of a safe and affordable place to live. Every home that we sell ensures another home is freed up to the overall housing continuum,” says Pat McKenna, Executive Director for Habitat VIN. “We recently completed the first two of 11 units in Campbell River, and in 2018 we plan to begin phase one of our 10-unit build on Lake Trail Road in Courtenay.”

Based on a partnership between the family, the community, volunteers and the private sector, Habitat for Humanity brings communities together to help build strength, stability and independence through affordable homeownership, McKenna says. Habitat’s model bridges an important gap in the housing continuum. On one side of this continuum is social housing and rental housing, and on the other side is market homeownership. Habitat for Humanity bridges that gap, he says, providing an opportunity for families that would otherwise have no chance at homeownership. Habitat does not give away free homes – Habitat homeowners pay for their homes, through an affordable mortgage that is never more than 30 percent of their income. But by providing families with access to affordable homeownership, McKenna says, Habitat is an important part of the solution to Canada’s housing crisis.

“As we mark another National Housing Day, we are renewing our commitment to this community that we will continue to work toward a world where everyone has a decent place to live,” McKenna says. “Habitat’s model of affordable homeownership helps low-income families purchase a home. But to make this vision a reality, every level of government needs to invest in a variety of housing solutions. It will also require the continued support of the community, corporations and other non-profit organizations to make access to decent and affordable housing a reality not just for some, but for all.”

The province, for its part, says they have been working to make housing more affordable, as well, and will continue to do so, but details about just how they intend to do that will have to wait for the spring budget.

“Fixing the problem won’t be easy,” Horgan says. “Making homes affordable for families will require partnerships at every level of government,” but adds the government’s spring budget “will contain further measures to address housing affordability by increasing supply, addressing demand, and delivering on a comprehensive housing strategy for British Columbia.”

Just Posted

Cole Slaney leads the Campbell River Storm on and off the ice

“He’s always the last off the ice,” said Elizabeth Cudmore, the Campbell… Continue reading

Where do Campbell River council candidates stand on municipal tax increases?

Differing views on how too keep taxes down – or whether that is even possible

Campbell River candidates shovel their way through snow removal question

How do the candidates feel about the city’s current snow removal policies and what would they change?

Confusion in Campbell River on first day of cannabis legalization

Some users puzzled as dispensaries close just before pot becomes legal across Canada

Aquaman star spotted around Campbell River as production ramps up on See

Jason Momoa, best known for his role in Game of Thrones, is in town to film television series

Fashion Fridays: You can never have enough shoes

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

5 races to watch in B.C.’s municipal elections this Saturday

This year’s election results across more than 160 cities in B.C. will start pouring in after polls close Saturday at 8 p.m.

Annual pace of inflation slows to 2.2 per cent in September: Statistics Canada

Statistics Canada said Friday the consumer price index in September was up 2.2 per cent from a year ago compared with a year-over-year increase of 2.8 per cent in August

First Nation female hockey player a force on the ice

Bree-Anna Henderson continues to lead as one of the top scorers in her last year of hockey.

Record-breaking $113 million Lotto Max jackpot up for grabs

This is Canada’s highest top prize offering ever and includes 53 Max Millions

Nanaimo RCMP warn public after nine-year-old girl approached by motorist

Incident happened Wednesday morning near Park Avenue School

Migrants, police mass in town on Guatemala-Mexico border

Many of the more than 2,000 Hondurans in a migrant caravan trying to wend its way to the United States left spontaneously with little more than the clothes on their backs and what they could quickly throw into backpacks.

Trump: ‘Severe’ consequences if Saudis murdered Khashoggi

Pro-government newspaper Yeni Safak on Wednesday said it had obtained audio recordings of the alleged killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

Feds dead set against ‘ridiculous’ quotas to replace steel, aluminum tariffs

Donald Trump imposed the so-called Section 232 tariffs — 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum — back in June on national security grounds.

Most Read