Homelessness is a significant issue in BC. BC has the worst record of housing affordability in Canada, and the numbers of homeless and underhoused people are increasing.
In the Third Edition of Dying on the Streets: Homeless Deaths in British Columbia, Megaphone Magazine found that 70 homeless people died in 2015, more than one person per week. This is a 56 per cent increase from the year before, and a 40 per cent increase from the previous high of 50 deaths in 2008. The median age of death for a homeless person in BC is between 40 and 49 years, almost half the life expectancy of 76.4 years for the average British Columbian.
What’s in the government’s TogetherBC Plan?
- Reducing allowable annual rent increase to inflation, improving rental assistance, and investment in the Residential Tenancy Branch.
- Building BC: Community Housing Fund investing $1.9 billion over 10 years including committing to building 1,750 new homes on- and off-reserve for Indigenous peoples, 1,500 new homes for women and children fleeing violence and student housing projects.
- 2,200 supportive modular homes over 3 years and a Supportive Housing Fund for the creation and operation of 2,500 supportive homes.
What Priority Actions are We Still Fighting For?
- Recommit to building thousands of new social and co-op housing units per year. BC should be bringing on stream 10,000 such units per year.
- Introduce stronger tenant protections including tighter limits on annual rent increases, tying rent control to the unit (not the tenant), adequately enforcing the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA) and the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act, and extending tenant rights to include all non-profit social housing currently exempt from the RTA.
For more information, please read the following resources:
- Take Action for a strong Poverty Reduction Strategy
- ABC plan policy brief
- “What’s in the Government’s Plan? What are we still fighting for?” poster
- Planning for a Build-Out of Affordable Rental Housing in Metro Vancouver: How many units and how much would it cost? (CCPA, December 2019)
- 2018 Displaced: Rents and the Rate of Change in the Downtown Eastside (Carnegie Community Action Project, May 2019)
- Red Women Rising: Indigenous Women Survivors in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, April 2019)
- Recent Changes to the Residential Tenancy Act (Vancouver Tenants’ Union)
- Definition of Indigenous Homelessness in Canada (Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, 2017)
- Getting Serious About Affordable Housing: Towards a Plan for Metro Vancouver (CCPA, May 2016)
- Dying on the Streets: Homeless Deaths in British Columbia, 2006-2015 Third Edition (Megaphone, April 2017)
- Youth Rights! Right Now! Ending Youth Homelessness: A Human Rights Guide (Canada Without Poverty, June 2016)
- BC Poverty Reduction Coalition’s submission to the Poverty Reduction Consultations
- Long Overdue: Why BC needs a poverty reduction plan