EDITORIAL: Federal housing plan a good start

Liberal government makes big promises, if people are willing to wait

The Liberal government has high hopes for its new 10-year housing strategy, designed to reassert some level of federal control over the file.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has been a major factor over the years in the housing market, from helping first time home buyers gain tax relief, to providing new housing GST rebates for those constructing their own home or doing substantial renovations.

Much of the new federal plan stretches out over the long term – the new Canada Housing Benefit will provide rent subsidies starting in 2020 and runs until 2028 – but the overall numbers touted at least sound impressive. The government is promising to build 100,000 new affordable housing units, repair another 300,000 subsidized units, cut chronic homelessness by 50 per cent and remove 530,000 households from what it calls “housing need,” which is essentially reducing families’ risk of homelessness.

In making the announcement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called housing rights a “human right,” adding that “everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to call home.”

That statement rings true, especially with those at risk of homelessness and the people who work to keep them housed in Greater Victoria. Having a regular place to come home to has long been talked about as a key pillar in helping people deal with addiction, mental health and social issues.

While the feds might appear to some as heroes in this discussion, especially with the Canada Housing Benefit, which will provide average annual rent subsidies of $2,500 to qualifying families, fully half of the $4 billion cost of that program will be covered by the provinces and territories. But as anyone who has put together funding for major infrastructure projects can attest, a 50/50 split is sometimes as good as it gets.

Victoria’s housing market is booming, but an increasing number of people finding themselves scraping to find rent money, let alone being able to afford to buy a home. We hope these new federal programs will have the desired effect locally to help relieve that problem.

Just Posted

Latitude 48 Paddling Club races through Victoria waters

Local team clinched victory in Nanaimo to kick off season that will see them compete in Hawaii

Greater Victoria police busy with St. Patrick’s Day calls

Victoria police respond to 82 calls for service

Royals gear up for WHL playoffs after suffering season-worst loss

Victoria has a solid 7-3 record this year against opening-round opponent Vancouver

Six stories a non-starter at Sidney’s Cedarwood Inn site

Site redevelopment plans go back to the drawing board

Central Saanich Police training a drug recgonition expert

Role needed as Canada nears cannabis legalization this year

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Women’s Expo seeks to empower women this weekend

Victoria Women’s Expo set for Saturday and Sunday at Pearkes Recreation Centre

America’s Musical Journey premieres at the IMAX

Enter to win tickets to an invite only concert at your community newspaper’s Facebook page

Anti-pipeline protestors block Kinder Morgan tanker near Seattle

Protest was spurred on by the 28 anti-Kinder Morgan activists arrested in Burnaby

Mount Douglas Mathletes enjoying success by the numbers

Saanich Grade 9s walk away with top five spots in Island math competition

Some surprises in new book about B.C. labour movement

“On the Line” charts history of the union movement back to the 1800s

B.C. cyclist races to first win of the season in New Zealand

Casey Brown captures Enduro title by more than two minutes at Crankworx Rotorua

Notorious Russian troll farm also took swipes at Canadian targets

Targets included oil infrastructure and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Cirque du Soleil aerialist dies after fall during Florida show

Longtime performer fell while performing in VOLTA

Most Read