Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

NEW STADIUM VS AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Posted by strattof on May 17, 2012

City of Regina has its priorities upside down. As part of its Regina Revitalization Initiative, it wants $278.2 million worth of public money to be spent on a new football stadium. If City officials have their way

  • $208.8 million will come from the province;
  • $8.8 million will come from the federal treasury;
  • $60.6 million will come from the City’s own coffers.

Regina already has a perfectly serviceable football stadium. Why tear it down–especially after it has been refurbished to the tune of $14 million for the 2013 Regina Grey Cup?

Because of a lack of affordable rental housing, a growing number of Regina citizens are experiencing ever-increasing levels of misery and suffering. Yet City officials remain obsessed with a new football stadium. Such upside-down priorities indicate a moral deficiency. Affordable rental housing isn’t even on City Hall’s agenda.

In fact, there is no affordable housing of any sort in the Revitalization Initiative. What the plan calls for is “up to 700 new affordable, market-rate housing units.” “Affordable, market-rate housing” is an oxymoron. As everyone knows, the market-rate for housing in Regina is anything but affordable.

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. Over the period, many apartment buildings were converted 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.

HOW MANY AFFORDABLE HOUSING UNITS CAN WE GET FOR ONE STADIUM?

At a cost of $150,000 per unit, $278.2 million will get us 1856 affordable housing units.

TAKE ACTION

  • Let Premier Brad Wall know that you don’t want any of your tax dollars spent on a football stadium. Rather you want his government to spend the money on affordable housing: premier@gov.sk.ca or 787-9433.
  • Send the same message to Ken Cheveldayoff:  kcheveldayoff @mla.legassembly.sk.ca or 787-0605.

HOUSING IS A HUMAN RIGHT

Safe, secure housing is a human right.

  • It is 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.”
  • The right to housing is also enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, signed into law in 1982. Because it puts their health and life at risk, homelessness breaches a homeless person’s Charter Section 7 rights to “life, liberty and security of person.”
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