City of Regina working on new housing strategy
The City of Regina is trying to develop a new strategy to deal with its housing woes.
Regina has the lowest vacancy rate in Canada.
It's a problem Naser Ali knows all too well.
Ali said he has three days to find a new place to live because his rent is about to go up. To make matters worse, Ali said his current bachelor suite - which costs $729 per month - is infested with mice.
"I buy food at the end of the month, but it lasts me about two weeks and then after that I got to survive off people," Ali said.
Ali said he's forced to go to Carmichael Outreach for help.
Laura Dieter, housing coordinator at Carmichael Outreach, said Ali's problems are very common in Regina.
"[The city should] speed up the process of development of low income housing, making places more affordable to rent," Dieter said. "Just acknowledging that there is a severe crisis with homelessness right now."
The city is hoping to raise Regina's vacancy rate from one per cent to three per cent in four years. The plan may require the city to build about 250 new units per year.
Regina Mayor Michael Fougere said he wants to hear from residents before the strategy goes before council in April.
"Part of the implementation strategy is to say, 'Look if we accept those numbers and that growth, how do we get there?'" Fougere said. "So rather than just say, 'Yes we're going to do it,' in fairness to everyone we have to determine whether this is the right one to do."
Some solutions include providing tax incentives for people to build more rooming houses and secondary suites.
The new housing strategy is expected to be presented to city council on April 29.