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Federal NDP leader demands federal action on housing crisis

Jagmeet Singh calls for fund to protect renters, stop renovictions
Maja Tait

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh came out swinging against his opponents with a call for federal funding to protect renters and put the brake on renovictions.

During stops in Sooke on Saturday and Esquimalt on Sunday, Singh pointed out the doubling of rents nationwide and the alarming ratio of 11 affordable homes lost for every one built.

The proposed fund would help not-for-profit organizations purchase affordable housing when it’s available and ensure it remains affordable.

Singh criticized the federal government and Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre for policies that didn’t protect existing affordable housing and called for prioritizing the construction of more affordable housing.

The NDP leader expressed a laser-focused commitment to providing municipalities and not-for-profit groups with funding, drawing inspiration from the B.C. government’s Rental Protection Fund, which allocates $500 million to support not-for-profits in purchasing rental buildings.

“Everyone should be able to buy a place they can afford in a community they love,” Singh said, adding the constant worry among renters about renovations and rent increases by profit-driven corporations.

Under the Trudeau government, Singh claimed that only 10 to 13 percent of new housing on federal lands is affordable. He dismissed the notion of building more luxury condos as a solution and criticized the Conservative plan to sell land to federal investors, benefiting their associates.

Expressing optimism about the NDP’s prospects in the upcoming federal election, Singh emphasized the party’s dedication to fighting for the people. He criticized the Liberals for perceived detachment and the Conservatives for wanting to roll back progress in areas such as childcare, dental care, and pharmacare.

When asked about Sooke Mayor Maya Tait’s decision to run for the federal NDP in the Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke riding, Singh praised her experience as mayor, highlighting her dedication, hard work, and regional-level expertise through her time with the Capital Regional District.

Tait described her weekend with Singh as hectic and engaging, noting the public’s concerns about housing and the rising cost of living. She shared stories of residents facing renovictions, including one individual dealing with black mold and the dilemma of choosing between staying or moving to a place with double the rent.

Tait and Singh referred to the success of Lu’ma Native Housing in Esquimalt, which acquired a 16-unit building on Carrie Road with the support of the Rental Protection Fund’s $3 million contribution and low-interest financing.

Tait advocated for increased federal support for elder care and projects like The Sooke Gathering Place, a $2 million proposal focusing on seniors’ housing, multi-generational organizations, and community engagement, led by the Sooke Region Community Health Network.

ALSO READ: Sooke Mayor Maja Tait embraces new challenge as federal NDP candidate

About the Author: Rick Stiebel

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