EDMONTON - “After decades of underfunding for affordable housing within a wildly deregulated market, Canadians and Albertans are looking for real action to address this crushing affordability crisis,” said Bradley Lafortune, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta. “When you combine the highest rate of inflation in 30 years, skyrocketing rents and home prices, and a decades-long inaction on housing, it’s a recipe for disaster that needs to be remedied in this budget with big and bold solutions.”
Last month, RBC Economics released its Housing Trends analysis, stating that housing affordability was at its worst level in Canada in 31 years for the 4th Quarter of 2021, with the price outlook looking even more “grim” for the future. Currently, according to the Government of Alberta, there are about 24,000 households on waitlists for affordable housing supports.
“What we have is the perfect storm: underfunding, jurisdictional ‘ping-pong’, deregulation, and lack of investment and policy action by the provincial UCP government,” said Lafortune. “We can’t ignore the very real and crushing trends in affordability that span across the spectrum of housing. This federal budget must invest in housing to meet the most urgent needs of Canadians and Albertans struggling to make ends meet.”
On November 22nd, 2021, Public Interest Alberta launched a campaign calling for affordable housing for all. Upon analyzing the budget, Public Interest Alberta will continue its campaign by developing a provincial housing roadmap in keeping with housing as a human right enshrined in international law and Canada’s National Housing Strategy Act of 2019.
“Today, we’ll be looking for three big things in the federal budget: first, massive investment in the national housing strategy,” said Lafortune. “This investment needs to address affordability across the spectrum – from transitional housing to market rentals and home ownership. Second, we need interventions in the financialization of housing. Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT) have run rampant and distorted the rental market, and the tax loopholes must be plugged, as a start. Finally, we need to have strong strings attached to federal funding, so that federal funds are maximized and tied to smart policy to address real housing need – rather than lining the pockets of big financialized landlords, as has been the case in the past in Alberta through federal-provincial partnerships.”
“So many people are up at night wondering how they will make their rent or mortgage payments,” said Lafortune. “The anxiety of the housing crisis is spiralling out of control here in Alberta and across the country, and we need to reverse course now. Adequate housing is a human right, and starting with today’s budget, we can and need to act like it.”