The sixty or so people who attended this forum on Thursday, January 30 at the Victoria Events Centre were treated to some really excellent presentations. Linda Allen (City Spaces Consulting), Marika Albert (Community Social Planning Council), Dr. Bernie Pauly (University of Victoria School of Nursing), and Kaye Melliship (Greater Victoria Housing Society) displayed a dazzling grasp of the issues distilled from their years of expert involvement.
In four brief, packed, but very clear presentations, we were given an overview of the historic, economic, and political background of the affordability crisis in Victoria housing today. The most serious root cause seems to have been the withdrawal of Federal funding for affordable housing that took place around 1992.
The speakers were unanimous in pointing out that the Victoria city officials and the CRD have done a lot, both in terms of policies and in making money available, to deal with the issues, but that it may not be possible to solve the problems without Federal and Provincial Housing Policies and financial support. It is rather shocking to hear that neither BC nor Canada have Housing Policies.
The audience was attentive and responsive. Really the issues are clear enough. Too bad there is not the political will at higher levels to insure that all our citizens have access to decent, affordable housing.
Victoria Matters is sponsored by the DRA under the Community Development Committee. Thanks to Kaela Schramm and Graham Briggs, who did most of the organizing. Since the first two events have been well done and well received, look for the next two in 2014.
Due to a technical glitch, Dr. Pauly’s presentation was not filmed.
How did we get here? A brief history of housing policy in Canada and BC. Linda Allen: History of Housing Programs
Where are we now? Housing affordability and homelessness in Greater Victoria. Dr. Bernie Pauly: Housing Affordability: Victoria, BC
Moving forward. Best practices in affordable housing solutions. Kaye Melliship: Building Homes, Creating Communities Marika Albert: Enabling Municipal Policies for Affordable Housing