Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

AFFORDABLE HOUSING: PREVENT ITS DEMOLITION

Posted by strattof on January 15, 2012

There is a housing crisis in Regina. House prices have almost doubled. Apartment vacancy rates have plummeted to 0.6%. While there is lots of construction going on, very little of it is devoted to housing that is affordable for low and middle income households.  

Hardest hit are those on low and fixed incomes: seniors, minimum wage workers, social assistance recipients. But Regina’s dire housing situation is also impacting students, job-seekers, new residents, and young people just entering the labour force.

Regina’s housing crisis will only get worse if the demolition of the apartment blocks at 1755 Hamilton Street and 1550 14th Avenue goes ahead. Both buildings are owned by Westland Properties. Together they provide 58 low and medium rent apartments. 

The fate of the 1755 Hamilton Street building will be decided at the January 23rd meeting of City Council by the Council’s response to a report from the City Administration “setting out the options available to prevent the demolition” of the building. 

If City Council can find a way to build a new stadium, it can also find a way to save 1755 Hamilton Street from demolition. 1550 14th Avenue must also be spared. In a city with a vacancy rate of 0.6%, demolishing affordable housing is not a viable option.

TAKE ACTION

Contact Mayor Pat Fiacco and let him know you want the City to save the apartment blocks at 1755 Hamilton Street and 1550 14th Avenue from demolition and for affordable housing.

Send the same message to your City Councillor.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Mayor Pat Fiacco: Phone: 777-7339 Fax: 777-6824

Louis Brown, Ward 1                        Wade Murray, Ward 6

Phone: 531-5151                                 Phone: 522-8683

Fax: 777-6809                                     Fax: 777-6406

Jocelyn Hutchinson, Ward 2          Sharon Bryce, Ward 7

Phone: 584-1739                                 Phone: 949-5025

Fax: 777-6809                                     Fax: 777-6809

Fred Clipsham, Ward 3                      Mike O’Donnell, Ward 8

Phone: 757-8212                                 Phone: 545-7300

Fax: 777-6809                                     Fax: 777-6809

Michael Fougere, Ward 4                   Terry Hincks, Ward 9

Phone: 789-5586                                 Phone: 949-9690

Fax: 777-6404                                     Fax: 777-6809 

John Findura, Ward 5                         Chris Szarka, Ward 10

Phone: 536-4250                                 Phone: 551-2766

Fax: 777-6809                                     Fax: 777-6809

To send an email to the Mayor and your City Councillor: 

  • Go to the City of Regina’s homepage: Regina.ca
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on “Contact us.”
  • Scroll halfway down the page and click on “Contact your City Councillor.”

Attend the January 23rd meeting of City Council: 5:30 pm, Henry Baker Hall, Main Floor, City Hall.

Make a presentation at the January 23rd meeting of City Council. For information about presentations, contact florence.stratton@uregina.ca or 522-2310 or the City Clerk at 777-7000.

REGINA’S HOUSING CRISIS: 10 KEY FACTS

1.  In 2010, over 3,400 people used one or more of the city’s shelter services. Many others double-bunked, couch-surfed, or lived in overcrowded unhealthy conditions. These latter groups could easily double the number of homeless people in Regina.

2. Between 2006 and 2010, homeless shelter use in Regina rose by 44.5%.

3. In 2010, 83.7% of shelter users were unable to find a home to live in after leaving the shelter.

4. Since 2006, the average resale price of residential homes in Saskatchewan has risen more than 83%.

5. Between October 2009 and October 2011, the number of apartments in Regina decreased by 260, due mainly to the conversion of apartments to condominiums.

6. Regina’s apartment vacancy rate has remained at or below 1% since 2008. A 3% vacancy rate is considered normal. Since April 2011, Regina has had the lowest apartment vacancy rate in Canada.  

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

8. The average monthly rate for a one bedroom apartment in Regina in October 2011 was $790, an increase of $48 (6.5%) 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 49% 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.

9. A cashier earning $1,811.30 per month cannot afford a one bedroom apartment in Regina. Nor can a security guard earning $2,031.43 per month or a food services supervisor earning $2,395 per month.

10. For a minimum wage-earner to afford a bachelor apartment in Regina, the minimum wage would have to rise from its current rate of $9.50 to $10.04 per hour. A three bedroom apartment would require a minimum wage of $20.35.

SOURCES AND RESOURCES 

Hirsch Greenberg, Rebecca Schiff, Alaina Harrison, Mark Nelson, Homelessness in Regina: 2010 Report, 2011: http://homelesshub.ca /(S(ynhm2q451mkson452i5 twcia))/Library/Homelessness-in-Regina—2010-Report-51359.aspx

Paul Gingrich, After the Freeze: Restoring University Affordability in Saskatchewan,  CCPA 2011: http://www.policyalternatives.ca /publications/reports/after-freeze 

CMHC, Rental Market Report, Regina, Fall 2011. 

CMHC Rental Market Report, Saskatchewan Highlights, Fall 2011.

Paul Dechene, “The Housing Issue,” Prairie Dog, November 3–November 16, 2011: http://www.prairiedogmag.com/archive /?id=996

Vanda Schmöckel, “Frozen Out: Another Day, Another Mass Eviction,” Prairie Dog December 1–December 14, 2011: http://www.prairiedogmag.com/archive/?id=1031

 

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