North Island/Powell River MP’s right to housing bill to be debated in the House of Commons

Next week parliament will be debating Rachel Blaney’s private members bill on the right to housing.

Just to be clear, she said, her private members bill is not about giving away houses.

“It’s about looking through a framework of the right to housing, to create regional analysis and supporting communities and finding solutions that work,” she said.

Towards the end of her summer vacation, Blaney sat down with people in the riding to discuss housing.

“The most concerning reality was understanding the range of people in need of housing and the fact that group of people is growing and broadening,” she said.

Blaney heard from businesses who are having trouble attracting employees because there is nowhere for them to live.

“We hear from people with mental health issues and we heard from people who support people with mental health issues who are falling through the cracks and without appropriate housing, significant challenges in finding the support that they so desperately need,” she said.

She talked to couples who were both gainfully employed but unable to find affordable housing. She also heard from seniors who are nearly homeless, or who are homeless and couch surfing.

“We heard from young people who are working towards buying a house but the high rentals are so prohibitive to them saving the amount that they need to actually purchase the ever increasing, expensive, homes in our communities,” she said.

Blaney also talked to municipal leaders who are working to address the housing issues, but that have very limited resources to do so.

And these housing difficulties are showing up in communities across the country.

She said that research over the last 20 years indicates that less and less homes are being purchased for the purpose of renting and over the last 30 years there has been a decrease in supportive housing, co-op housing, affordable housing and low-income housing projects funded through the government.

“When you have those two things working together there is an absolute reason that we are facing the eminent challenges that we are facing today around housing,” she said.

Blaney first tabled the private members bill on Dec. 5, 2016.

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