Blog Entry Eleven, Election Campaign 2013:

(VANCOUVER) NDP Leader Adrian Dix has just unveiled his party’s platform. It’s a 68-page document entitled “Change for the Better: Practical Steps,” and it only contains one paragraph on housing (but it’s hopeful from a CHF BC perspective). In the section dealing with “Reducing Poverty and Inequality,” point four reads:

4. Expand affordable housing:

  • Build up to 1,500 units of affordable non-profit, co-operative and rental housing for low- and moderate-income families, seniors and individuals each year by leveraging the existing $250 million Housing Endowment Fund to support partnerships and equity contributions with local governments, the private sector, and the non-profit and co-operative housing sectors. 
  • Strengthen and rebalance the Residential Tenancy Act and Manufactured  Home Act to better protect tenants and landlords.

It’s not a lot of detail, but we can consider this our first “win” of the campaign.

Why?  Because housing co-ops are mentioned specifically as part of the solution to the affordable housing crisis in British Columbia.  And no one does a better job than we do of forming partnerships with government and other sectors to build and maintain housing in safe, secure, mixed-income communities owned and operated by residents.

Now, just in case Co-op Nation thinks it’s time to relax, we need to remind the NDP that this is a promise, and making promises is a lot easier than keeping them.  Our work during and after the campaign will determine whether that promise becomes reality should the NDP form the next government.

It’s also worth noting that our main campaign message – providing direct assistance to low-income co-op members when their federal housing agreements end – didn’t make it into the party’s election platform.  No surprise, there, and it certainly doesn’t mean NO.  It just means that it’s an issue the new government will have to turn its attention to after the election.

So let’s all continue to work hard to make sure that everyone understands how important it is to provide support for low-income and other co-op members.  Today’s announcement is good news, but we hope there’s a lot more to come.

Thom Armstrong, CHF BC Executive Director (April 24, 2013)