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NDP MPs say everyday people can’t compete with ultra-wealthy corporate landlords buying up rental units and driving up prices on the federal government’s watch

Canada’s NDP housing critic, MP Jenny Kwan, and NDP MP for Nanaimo—Ladysmith, Lisa Marie Barron are calling on the federal Liberal government to put in place a housing acquisition fund which would help non-profit, co-ops, or land trust organizations purchase at-risk rental buildings when they come on the market.

With the NDP’s plan, instead of corporate landlords scooping up these units to jack up prices and increase their profits, the fund would help protect and expand Canada’s affordable housing supply so everyday people don’t have to compete with wealthy corporate investors.

Kwan said, “tenants can’t find an affordable home, and prospective homeowners are priced out of the market. The Liberals have failed to tackle the housing crisis and ensure everyday British Columbians have affordable options for renting and buying a home. The free ride for corporate landlords must stop.

“We’re proposing a practical solution to keep affordable housing units in our communities. Sadly, so far, this government is defending housing profiteering instead of Canadians’ right to housing.”

Nancy Hetherington Peirce of the Gabriola Housing Society said, “the proposed housing acquisition fund would help rural communities as much as urban centres.

“On Gabriola, we have a high proportion of people without secure housing compared to the average across BC. As well, local employers cannot find workers due to the lack of affordable rental housing.”

Sibyl Frei of the Gabriola Island Land Stewards Society said, “the rise of private for-profit investment in rental housing across the country has negative impacts in small rural communities too.“When a property with multi-dwelling rental potential goes on the market here, it is nearly impossible for our local non-profits, co-ops or land trusts to have the funds that will enable community ownership and long term affordability.”

According to the NDP, the Liberal and Conservative governments have for decades abandoned a responsibility to invest in social and co-operative housing.

The largest 25 financial landlords held about 330,000 suites last year, which is nearly 20 per cent of the country’s private purpose-built stock of rental apartments. Without meaningful action to increase supply, families can’t find a home they can afford.

The housing affordability crisis continues to worsen for tenants and first-time home buyers as wealthy investors and large corporations treat housing as a commodity rather than a basic human right.

Many Canadians cannot compete in a bidding war against investors with deep pockets. Low rental supply, coupled with rising inflation and interest rates, ensures this competition for rentals will only continue to grow, furthering the increase in prices.

Barron said, “people in Nanaimo know that leaving people to fend for themselves in a housing crisis has consequences.

“I’ve heard from multiple seniors facing renovictions, and many who are concerned about their ability to find suitable housing on a fixed income. I have heard from women fleeing domestic violence who have no options but to return to their abuser because they cannot secure housing. We have listened to families who have had their children apprehended for no reason other than they could not find housing that met their needs. We know that under this Liberal government the unhoused population is ever increasing and becoming more and more desperate.

“We’re offering a path forward to help everyday people access affordable housing by ensuring these units stay in our communities where they’re needed most.”

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