North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney called the housing crisis affecting her riding a “catastrophe” when she spoke in the House of Commons last Tuesday (Oct. 17).
Blaney asked the Liberal and Conservative parties about what she called their lack of support for affordable housing in her riding and across Canada. She spoke during Question Period, bringing up the “drastically increased population of unhoused people in her riding,” and asked the government for more support for affordable homes.
Blaney noted that Comox Valley has seen a 106 per cent increase in the unhoused population in the past three years, the largest increase on record in the area. In Campbell River, the unhoused population increased by 70 per cent during the same period, according to Point in Time Homeless population counts that were conducted earlier this year.
“This is a catastrophe,” Blaney said in the House. “Yet the Liberals are leaving housing up to luxury condo developers who only care about profits. The Conservatives on council in Campbell River are taking away tax exemptions for non-profits who support those in need of a home.”
“The Prime Minister says housing is not a federal responsibility as people and communities move beyond a crisis point,” she said.
Liberal Parliamentary Secretary for Housing, Infrastructure and Communities Peter Fragiskatos replied to Blaney, saying that “if you look at the record not just in British Columbia but across the country this federal government has been a partner to namely non for-profit organizations that are doing the outstanding work on the ground. The result is obvious 69,000 people who were on the street no longer on the street. They are housed now.”
Fragiskatos also said that there were “122,000 people who were very close to homelessness, and are no longer in that position. They are housed as well, through the National Housing Strategy.”
According to the National Housing Strategy website, as of June 30, 2023 the $82 billion plan had created or committed to 113,467 new housing units and protected 41,362 community housing units.
The Point in Time counts for Campbell River and Courtenay took place on April 25/26 and March 13/14 respectively.