Residents of Vancouver along with housing activists are increasingly becoming concerned with the current housing crisis faced by many people trying to enter the housing market.
According to housing advocate Wendy Pedersen, the Balmoral Hotel was a living space that is comparable to some of the world worst slum cities. Anti-poverty activist Jean Swanson also noted that the housing situation in Vancouver has become extremely serious.
Yet, even if the owners of the hotel or the government were to intervene in the issue, it will not make matters right. There will still be outstanding issues. In the past three years, the number of people that have been left homeless has increased by 20% and no government measures can help salvage the situation. This is because affordability remains to be evident in the community which is making it next to impossible for people to be able to buy homes.
However the Balmoral hotel is only the tip of the ice berg in the region with regards to the growing housing crisis.
Things were looking a bit better for the holes in the past ten years, but things begun to look back after the B.C Housing purchased and repaired 20 of Vancouver’s single-room accommodation hotels, but unfortunately, they ran out of money.
With this issue at hand, the B.C Housing decided to give $500 million worth social housing to non-profit organizations with the aim of providing lower mortgages for the next 35 years which will be $1 billion of a taxpayer cost.
But Auditor-General Carol Bellringer has warned that this decision might create more problems as the decision was made without any evaluation on risk and gain analysis.
In response to this, non-profit organizations noted that despite the fact that they will provide reduced mortgage costs, the profits obtained from renters would not be sufficient to cover the renovation cost of units especially for low-income housing. Possibly, the only way out is to organize fundraising events to cover the cost.
One of the frequently asked questions with regards to the Balmoral Hotel evacuation of close to 150 residents was why were there only 150 free units when B.C Housing’s registry has over 10,000 names on it?
These questions brought into the picture the owners of the Balmoral Hotel, Parkash, Pal and Gudyal Sahota who have real estate dealing worth over $130 million. In the past 50 years, the owners have been known to violate several safety and healthy measures and they are presently faced with 183 existing deficiencies and 150 violations.
This leaves people to wonder when and why the city has not taken any action so far. The city response to this is that they require more authority from the province to be able to take actions.
The matter becomes more questionable as several other residents in other cities have made law suits against the owners.
Over the last two years, the federal government has done very little to address the issue at hand and the government only took action in Toronto following the affordability problem faced by people.