British Columbia

Advocate calls new affordable housing money 'monumental'

Kishone Roy of the B.C. Non-Profit Housing Association is pleased with the provincial government's $500 million investment into affordable housing.

'The first time I've seen government really understand the size and the scope of the problem...'

A neighbourhood near Vancouver's Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

One housing advocate is applauding the provincial government's announcement to spend $500 million of the budget surplus on affordable housing.

"It's monumental," said Kishone Roy, executive director of the B.C. Non-Profit Housing Association.

"This is the first time I've seen government really understand the size and the scope of the problem we're dealing with." 

The B.C. government made the half-billion dollar announcement Sept. 15, saying the provincial surplus had been bolstered by revenue from income and property transfer taxes.

In an earlier February 2016 announcement, Premier Christy Clark committed $355 million over 5 years for affordable housing, with $50 million allocated for this year.

Roy said this new funding — 10 times the previous announcement — marks a substantial shift for the provincial government.

He's hoping the federal government will follow suit.

"The national housing strategy is going to be announced in late November … and that's going to give us a sense of how much [the federal government] is coming to the table with."

Roy says British Columbia needs this kind of announcement on an annual basis to make up for the lack in housing.

"We're talking about a 25 year backlog in [affordable housing] ... This problem we're experiencing is happening in every corner of the province."

The government said the new money will be spent over the next seven months, and will provide nearly 3,000 rental units.

With files from The Early Edition

To listen to the interview, click on the link labelled Kishone Roy on the $500 million affordable housing announcement


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