Keeping it Real…

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Housing/Poverty Advocates Making Things WORSE

September 28th, 2017 · 35 Comments

It’s all very well … even noble … to demand more and better housing for those without or living in what most of us would regard as poor conditions.

But what if all the pressures, rules, restrictions, enforcements by well-meaning advocates and both elected and bureaucratic officials are actually making things worse???

This is a much more difficult question than many people would imagine.

The latest report on homelessness in Metro Vancouver shows homeless numbers have jumped 30% in the past three years … to more than 3,600.  And a whopping 45% of those … 992 … are homeless this year for the first time …victims of the increasing unaffordability of housing … even for those who are working.

They are now in ALL Lower Mainland municipalities and even beyond.

But let’s keep it real: many of those living on the streets, in tents or doorways, have some very serious drug, alcohol or psychological problems …. the study found 82% of them are dealing with at least one of those conditions.

That makes some of those very, very difficult if not almost impossible to house … except in expensive, publicly-operated special facilities.  And those often have too many rules so that intended residents refuse to live in them … preferring the street, occasional shelters or tenting with friends in parks.

Be honest!  How many of US could … or would …. actually provide accommodation, for say $325 a month, to people who REGULARLY act out serious behavioral problems …destroying/stealing your bathroom sinks, toilets, showerheads … throwing up, urinating or defecating almost everywhere and marking up and/or punching holes in your walls during fits of drunkenness, drug overdoses or psychosis???

Like to be their landlord?

At first glance …and thanks to shallow reporting by the media … housing and poverty crusaders offer GREAT show-and-tell evidence of how lousy some of these places are.

But by demanding the City enforce ALL its bylaws …. and shut down so many units …  I would suggest THEY have contributed to the current homeless and lack-of-low cost housing crisis.

When those crummy places are shut down, even if the residents are  moved,  it actually hurts/reduces the overall low income housing stock … increasing pressures/prices on the whole housing market. Supply and demand!!!

And now, housing activists are even suggesting our housing crisis could be IMPROVED by freezing rents!!


All that would do is lead to MORE rental units being sold off as condos or used as Bed and Breakfasts … and certainly discourage more rental units from being built.

What we NEED is MORE rental housing … a LOT more!

And the only way to achieve that is for to the city, province and even the federal governments to offer INCENTIVES: much greater tax incentives for rental unit construction/renovations; expedited municipal development processes;  improved tax write-offs for occupied rental units; rent-controls on both new/old rental supply; and, for those offering rental rates below certain levels (ie for the hard to house) even greater municipal tax reductions to encourage low rents  … and even provincial paid subsidies to enable better upkeep/repairs if/as pre-approved by inspectors.

There is just no way to realistically increase PUBLIC spending with enough BILLIONS of dollars to build AND operate long-term housing projects for thousands more people … as land/construction/housing prices continue to rise … and not just in the Lower Mainland.

A program like I’ve outlined could improve the rental housing crisis in many communities across the country.

Doing nothing… the situation is guaranteed to get worse.

Harv Oberfeld

(Reminder: you can get First Alerts of all new topics on this blog by following @harveyoberfeld on Twitter. No spam…just First Alerts of new topics. )

→ 35 CommentsTags: British Columbia · National

Trudeau Attacks CANADA at UN

September 25th, 2017 · 29 Comments

It was a bizarre “performance” … even for a Prime Minister with a penchant for show-biz-style grandstanding, peripatetic photo bombing and, of course, scads of selfies.

There was Canada’s LEADER,  Justin Trudeau, standing before a world  forum … trying to draw the spot light to himself again … by doing something no other leader … Canadian or foreign has ever done at the UN …. attacking his OWN country!

It was a vain, embarrassing spectacle … that didn’t work.

Trudeau’s performance, to a more than half empty assembly hall,  drew little attention abroad … and if it was meant to show Canada has the IDEAS, SOLUTIONS or LEADERSHIP credentials worthy of a seat on the UN Security Council … it failed miserably.

Trudeau didn’t even mention the worst crises and conflicts facing the world and the UN …. let alone propose ANY meaningful Canadian PROPOSALS to even assist, let alone solve them:  the 400,000 Rohingya from Myanmar suffering in the muddy fields of Bangladesh;  the millions of refugees/migrants plaguing Europe/Mid East/Africa … and the West; any recommendations on how the hate/conflicts/corruption that created their misery could/should be dealt with; how the growing gap, increasing hostility between Russia and the West could be reversed; how the wars in Syria/Afghanistan/Ukraine/Sudan/Middle East/North Korea  could/should be mitigated by the UN.

Standing in front of the world … Canada offered nothing!  The Prime Minister’s spin doctors say Canada put forward ideas in “side” meetings.  Not good enough!  Second rate!

Our Prime Minister could have been a STATESMAN …. following in the well-respected and effective leader’s footsteps of Canada’s Lester Pearson … laying out REAL ideas, REAL proposals, REAL offers to mediate and a REAL commitment from Canada to participate in solutions that would have captured the attention of many nations …and the UN’s Security Council.

Instead, Canada’s leader used almost ALL of his time before the World body attacking his own country: denouncing its treatment of indigenous people; enunciating the negative aspects of our colonial history; depicting our internal conflicts and human rights challenges. To what purpose???

As if such confessions and a pledge to seek solutions will have ANY effect on the laws/customs/civil and human rights of other UN members … like Saudi Arabia, Russia , Syria, China, Venezuela, Yemen,  Iran North Korea etc.

Maybe our Prime Minister believes the way to a temporary and effectively powerless Security Council seat is to show Canada has NO real principled ideas, solutions or proposals to push of its own  … so we could easily be swayed, cajoled and convinced to vote with and by ANY/ALL permanent Council members.

Just give me a Security Council seat … PLEASE!!!!

If any major world leaders or nations were impressed by his “stand up” act at the UN … they have not said so.

But then again, when it comes to Trudeau and the UN … it’s all about ego …  NOT about repairing the wold.

Harv Oberfeld

→ 29 CommentsTags: International · National