VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – BC’s housing minister says a coalition’s challenge to see him commit to 10,000 new social housing units a year is unrealistic.

Rich Coleman says it’s an idea that could cost billions of dollars.

Social Housing Coalition BC issued the challenge yesterday, admitting it would cost $2 billion a year, but adding that the province is in a crisis with 100,000 people homeless or close to it. Coleman isn’t sold.

“It’s about a $3-billion capital cost and would probably cost you half a billion a year to operate,” he argues. “It’s certainly not part of our platform or program and I haven’t heard from the opposition whether it’s theirs or not.”

“It… isn’t realistic and… it blew through my desk as just a comment from somebody on the Downtown Eastside, I think it was Jean Swanson, and we haven’t done enough analysis on it,” adds Coleman. “Jean is a member of the NDP but I think she has her own notions on this.”

Coleman tells us it’s challenging to get projects going when you consider public consultation, funding plans, and construction. He adds the province has increased the BC Housing Budget by $400 million a year in the last six years, just to add a dozen new social housing developments.

Today, he announced 100 interim units have been secured at a former Howard Johnson Hotel on Kingsway for those transitioning out of homelessness.