Young families wanting tougher stance on affordability crisis look to B.C. budget

Affordability is top of mind for many people living in Metro Vancouver who are looking towards the 2018 budget for answers and solutions.

‘The government so far hasn’t been responding to it as if it is a crisis,’ says New Westminster mother

Vancouver has one of the lowest vacancy rates and some of the highest rents in the country, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's latest annual report. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Affordability is top of mind for many people living in Metro Vancouver who are looking at the 2018 B.C. budget for answers and solutions.

Alec Smecher, a Vancouver father who has struggled for years to find stable rental housing for himself and his young daughter, says a time machine is the only way to really solve the affordability and housing crisis.

"At this point, you'd really need a DeLorean and Christopher Lloyd [of Back To The Future fame] to really solve the housing problem," he told CBC's Early Edition host Stephen Quinn.  

He is hopeful about the upcoming budget after the NDP promised to make affordable child care and housing a priority in last week's throne speech.

The 2018 budget will be released Tuesday afternoon.

"We get to find out finally whether they are going to approach this with enough clout to actually do something," he said.  

In the past, Smecher has spent months bouncing between couches at his family members' homes, trying to find a suitable rental home for him and his young daughter and has been forced to move after rental homes were sold. 

He now lives in a one-bedroom purpose built-rental. His five-year-old daughter stays with him several times a week.

"It's humble but it's adequate," he said. "For me, the problem is going to be space and potentially renovictions down the way."

Alec Smecher lives in Vancouver and has struggled for years to find stable rental housing for himself and his young daughter. (Submitted by Alec Smecher)

Rising family costs

Stephanie Clark, who lives with her family in New Westminster, bought a condo in 2015 but has growing concerns about affordability and being "priced out."

Property taxes, utilities and child care are all going up and driving families out of the neighbourhood, she said.

"Ongoing costs keep rising. I don't know how much longer we'll be able to stay," she said. "Just last month, our daycare costs went up over a hundred dollars a month per child."

She now pays $700 a month for her daughter to attend daycare two days a week.

Both Clark and Smecher want to see a crackdown on housing and childcare affordability.

"We keep referring to this as an affordability crisis and the government so far hasn't been responding to it as if it is a crisis," said Clark.

For Smecher, that means taking a stronger stance.  

"What I need to see from the government, and that's all levels of government, is a sense that the long term metrics for living in the city still do apply," he said. "That might take some tough moves."

Affordability is top of mind for many people living in Metro Vancouver who are looking towards the 2018 budget for answers and solutions. 8:59

With files from The Early Edition.