Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

NATIONAL HOUSING DAY: TUESDAY NOVEMBER 22

Posted by strattof on November 18, 2011

There is a housing crisis in Regina. ●The apartment vacancy rate is 0.7%, which means almost no rental accommodation is available. ●In 2010, over 3,400 people used one or more of the city’s shelter services. ●Many others double bunk, couch surf, or live in overcrowded, unhealthy conditions. Some even live in cars or garages. These latter groups could easily double the number of homeless people in Regina.

D A Y   O F   H O U S I N G   A C T I O N

Join the University of Regina’s Social Work Students’ Society and the Red Tent Campaign for a housing march and rally. The goal is to draw attention to the housing crisis in Regina and to put pressure on all levels of government to work together to provide affordable housing.    

TUESDAY NOVEMBER 22

9 am        Congregate in Victoria Park and begin to march to the Legislative Building

10 am      Arrive at the Legislative Building for a housing rally

HOMELESSNESS IN REGINA: 10 KEY FACTS

1. According to one estimate, nearly 7,000 people in Regina are close to, or have recently experienced, homelessness.

2. Between 2008 and 2010, homeless shelter use in Regina rose by 44.5%.

3. Between 2006 and 2010, the average resale price of residential homes in Regina increased by 86%.

4. Between April 2008 and April 2011, the number of apartments in Regina decreased by over 500, due mainly to the conversion of apartments to condominiums. Over the same period, Regina’s population increased by over 10,000 people.

5. Regina’s apartment vacancy rate (currently 0.7%) has remained at or below 1% since 2008. A 3% vacancy rate is considered normal. In April 2011, Regina had the lowest apartment vacancy rate in Canada. There were only 74 vacant apartments in the city.

6. Since 2006, average rents in Regina have increased by 9% a year.  Between 2006 and 2010, average rents in Regina went up 43%.

7. The average monthly rent for a one bedroom apartment in Regina in April 2011 was $770, an increase of $53 (7.4%) a month from the previous year. Assuming a 40-hour work week for 4.34 weeks a month, individuals earning the minimum wage of $9.50 an hour would spend approximately 46% of their before-tax income on rent for a one-bedroom apartment. The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation defines “Affordable Housing” as costing a household 30% or less of its before-tax income.

8. 20% of Regina households live in ‘core housing need,’ meaning they can’t find a home that costs less than 30% of their household income, that has enough room for its occupants, or that doesn’t need major repairs.

9. A recent Salvation Army survey reported that one in five Saskatchewan adults has come close to or has actually experienced homelessness at some time in his/her life.

10. Last winter, Carmichael Outreach put out a call to citizens of Regina to donate used tents–a desperate and pathetic response to the homelessness crisis. 

SOLVING THE HOUSING CRISIS

The biggest causes of homelessness are

1. Financial: loss of a job, rent increases, a fixed income;

2. Lack of affordable housing.

Relying on the private sector to solve the housing crisis will only send more people out into the cold. The Saskatchewan housing market has been unregulated for 20 years. If it were in the interest of the private sector to provide affordable housing, it would already have done so and there would be no housing crisis.

The solution to the housing crisis is intervention in the housing market by all levels of government. Here are some of the things each level of government can do:

CITY COUNCIL can

  • Pass landlord licensing laws.
  • Develop affordable housing units that would be managed by the Regina Housing Authority.
  • Require developers to include affordable housing in their plans or to pay a fee into an affordable housing account.
  • Deny applications for condo conversions when the apartment vacancy rate is under 3%.
  • Put pressure on the federal government to develop a long-term national affordable housing program involving all levels of government.

THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT can

  • Pass rent control legislation to prevent exploitative rent increases.
  • Build affordable homes and rental accommodation.
  • Allocate 3% of all natural resource royalties to affordable housing.
  • Put pressure on the federal government to develop a long-term national affordable housing program involving all levels of government.

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT can

  • Develop a long-term national affordable housing program involving all levels of government.

BOOM FOR WHOM?

Our city is experiencing unprecedented prosperity. But clearly the economic good times have not delivered equally good results for all. We could house everyone if we had the will to do so. What kind of city do we want to live in?

HOUSING IS A HUMAN RIGHT

Safe, secure housing is a human right, protected under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, [and] housing.”

OCCUPY REGINA

A number of homeless people in Regina found a home with Occupy Regina. Earlier this week, the City of Regina shut Occupy Regina down. Given that Canada is a signatory to the Declaration of Human Rights, the City is legally obligated to find safe, secure housing for those with Occupy Regina who do not have a home to go to.

TAKE ACTION

  • Let Mayor Pat Fiacco and your City Councillor know about the City’s legal obligations to those with Occupy Regina who are homeless: Go to the City of Regina homepage (www.regina.ca) and click on “contact” (upper right-hand corner).
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