VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – For the first time in five years, Vancouver is tweaking its Housing and Affordability Strategy as the city’s first international housing conference gets underway.
A panel expert discussion was held last night at the Creekside Community Centre in Vancouver where people like long-time renter Warren Bowen attended. He is one of five roommates sharing a house — which is the maximum number allowed under current bylaws.
“The thing that this bylaw prevents the most is collective housing or shared community housing. This can provide a very affordable and dignified way of living together.”
Legal expert Margo Young says we need a more human-rights based approach to housing. “It’s not a stretch to understand security of the person to be imperiled when you have no shelter or are sleeping outdoors in typical Canadian winter weather. Nor is it a stretch to understand that our homeless population is disproportionately from marginalized groups.”
Dr. David Hulchanski, with the University of Toronto’s Centre for Urban and Community Studies, explains one of the key reasons why Canada’s thinking around housing is so outdated. “The affordable housing system in Canada was developed after World War II. And it worked fairly well, as long as we had a majority middle income society,” says Hulchanski, one of the keynote speakers at the conference.
The city is working to gather a list of all possible problems and solutions from around the world to point Vancouver’s policy in the right direction.