Provincial government needs housing strategy, too: Rogers
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
NDP Housing Critic Gerry Rogers (MHA, St. John’s Centre) says government must deal with the provincial housing crisis – and the first step would be to find out exactly how big the problem is.
“Today on Pancake Day when there is so much emphasis on raising awareness around Homelessness and Housing, I am renewing the NDP call for a division of our government dedicated to housing questions of all sorts,” Rogers said today.
“We do not even have a complete picture of who is affected by homelessness,” Rogers said today. “I met with people in several Newfoundland communities a couple of weeks ago, and found that the homeless can be anyone – seniors, youth, and working people in addition to those living with mental health issues and complex needs, and people leaving our correctional facilities.”
Rogers says the questions around housing are not restricted to homelessness. “We are in desperate need of accessible housing, particularly with our aging population,” she said today. “There is effectively a zero vacancy rental rate in St. John’s, but there have been no new multi-unit apartment buildings constructed in decades.
“In Ottawa, the NDP official opposition has prepared legislation requiring the government to create a National Housing Strategy. I have seen first-hand in this province that we too are in desperate need of a real strategy.”
People all over the province are paying the price for government’s lack of planning around the housing issue. In several communities, large scale development is happening without any prior thought of how workers would be housed and the impact this would have on the communities.
“Everywhere we went over the past few weeks everyone was using the word ‘crisis’ to describe the housing issues in their communities,” Rogers said. “We are just 500,000 people in this province – surely we should be able to adequately house all of us.”