by Paolo Taruc
Leaders of the New Democratic Party (NDP) are calling on the government to do more on affordable housing, amid its claims that the country does not have a national strategy to address the issue.
During a stopover in Halifax as part of his introductory tour, new federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said there hasn’t been a partnership with the federal government providing funding to municipalities and provinces to actually build more units that people can live in.
"We know finding affordable housing is not only an issue here in the HRM [Halifax Regional Municipality], but a major issue for people across Canada," said Singh. "The provinces and federal government need to work more closely together to come up with real solutions for families."
Some 43% of households who rent in the Halifax Regional Municipality spend more than 30% of their income on shelter, according to figures from NDP MLA for Dartmouth North Susan Leblanc. “Everyday, I hear from people who have to choose between paying their rent and putting food on the table… This is a major problem for our communities, and it’s a problem the government can help fix,” she added.
The Nova Scotia NDP Caucus introduced a bill that would re-instate rent control in the province, limiting rental increases for the 52,000 families who are tenants. According to the party’s figures, the Liberal government's rent subsidies have gone to just 1,280 households over the past two years, while there are 4,000 people on the waitlist for public housing. Meanwhile, federal spending on affordable housing has dropped to $63 per capita in 2013, from $98 in 1993.
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