Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

HOMELESS IN REGINA

Posted by strattof on June 23, 2011

Housing in Regina continues to be in crisis. Rents have skyrocketed and apartments have become very difficult to find. The economy and population of the City have expanded while housing has become less affordable. Those on low and fixed incomes and newcomers to Regina are hit the hardest.  

REGINA HOUSING: KEY FACTS

  • Only 74 vacant apartments.  Regina’s apartment vacancy rate was 0.7% in April 2011 and has remained at or below 1% for several years. In April, there were only 74 vacant apartments in the city. 
  •  Decline in apartments.  In April 2011 there were 10,884 apartments in Regina. That’s a decline of over 500 apartments from April 2008. The conversion of existing apartments to condominiums continues and few new rental units have been constructed. And that’s during a time Regina’s population has increased by over 10,000 people.  
  •  45% rent increase in just over four years.  Average monthly rent for a two bedroom apartment increased to $897 in April 2011. That’s up from $858 a year earlier – a 4.5% increase in one year. And since October 2006, monthly rent has increased by $278 – a 45% increase.  
  •  Unaffordable housing.  Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) reported a 17% decline in affordability in 2010. According to CMHC, the cost of renting a medium priced two-bedroom apartment climbed 15.5% in 2010, while the average income of renter households fell by 4.9 %.
  •  Substandard housing.  In 2006, 8% of Regina dwellings were in need of major repairs. In the central area of the city 15% were substandard.  

Those affected most by rent increases and limited apartment availability include seniors on fixed incomes, single parents, young people looking for jobs, newcomers to the city, adults working at low wage jobs, students, and individuals with physical or mental health issues.  While there’s lots of construction activity in Regina, very little of it is devoted to building housing that is affordable for low and middle income individuals and families.    

HOMELESSNESS IN REGINA: KEY FACTS

  • Few homeless people in Regina live on the streets or in parks.  Instead, they couch surf, double-bunk, live in overcrowded conditions, or squat in abandoned buildings. Some even live in tents, garages, and cars. 
  • As many as 3,401 men, women, youth, and families in Regina used one or more of the 19 shelter services during 2010. This represents 1.8% of the city’s population.
  • The average number of beds in city shelters occupied on a daily basis rose from 187 in 2008 to 270 in 2010 – a 44% increase.
  • On average, 22 women and children stayed in shelters for victims of violence each month in 2010. This means that these shelters were generally operating at or above capacity.
  • In 2010, at least 311 youth under age 18 used transitional or emergency shelters. 55% of these were female and 45% were male.

Facts on homeless from Hirsch Greenberg, Rebecca Schiff, Alaina Harrison, and Mark Nelson, Homelessness in Regina: 2010 Report, University of Regina, 2011. To read this important report, google Homelessness in Regina: 2010 Report and click on “The Homeless Hub.”

Red Tent is a national campaign whose goal is to persuade the federal government to enact a funded National Housing Strategy that will end homelessness and ensure secure, adequate, accessible, and affordable housing for all persons living in Canada. Red tents are symbols on the streets and in the media to draw attention to Canada’s homelessness crisis, educate the public about the need for a funded national housing strategy, and mobilize people across the country to pressure government to take action on homelessness.

 MAKING PEACE VIGIL supports the Red Tent campaign by sponsoring two tents. Learn how you can join the Red Tent campaign by going to http://www.redtents.org/

The provincial government can also help solve the housing crisis. Let Premier Brad Wall know you want his government to  

  • Pass rent control legislation
  • Invest in affordable housing

 Send the same message to your MLA.

 Premier Brad Wall: premier@gov.sk.ca or 787-0958

 Ron Harper, Regina Northeast: rharper@mla.legassembly.sk.ca or 787-1887

Bill Hutchinson, Regina South: bhutchinson@mla.legassembly.sk.ca or 787-4983

Dwain.Lingenfelter, Regina Douglas Park: dlingenfelter@mla.legassembly.sk.ca or 787-7388

Warren McCall, Regina Elphinstone: wmccall@mla.legassembly.sk.ca or 787-8276

Sandra Morin, Regina Walsh Acres: smorin@mla.legassembly.sk.ca or 787-6309

John Nilson, Regina Lakeview: jnilson@mla.legassembly.sk.ca or 787-0939

Laura Ross, Regina Qu’Appelle Valley: lross@mla.legassembly.sk.ca  or 787-0942

Christine Tell, Regina Wascana Plains: ctell@mla.legassembly.sk.ca or 7874300

Kim Trew, Regina Coronation Park: ktrew@mla.legassembly.sk.ca or 787-1898

Trent Wotherspoon, Regina Rosemont: twotherspoon@mla.legassembly.sk.ca or 787-0077

Kevin Yates, Regina Dewdney: kyates@mla.legassembly.sk.ca or 787-0635

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