Affordability crisis today directly linked to decades of provincial housing policy, says urban affairs reporter

Reporter Chris Cheung
Chris Cheung, urban sociology affairs reporter at The Tyee - Handout
Laurence Gatinel - CFRO - VancouverBC | 05-11-2020
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By Tan Mei Xi
For Vancouverites, the drastic increase in unaffordability in the city only became an issue in the last 15 years, but an urban affairs reporter says the crisis has its roots in decades of housing policy.

According to The Tyee urban sociology reporter Chris Cheung, before the 1970s, the federal and provincial governments were building thousands of affordable housing units every year.

"Even before the 1970s, [there was] a consensus that housing is something the government needs to be involved in," said Cheung.

The federal, provincial, and municipal governments would team up to provide non-market housing, such as social housing and co-op housing, said Cheung.

"Up until the 90s, we saw this partnership work out very well with providing housing for people," said Cheung. "But in 1993, Paul Martin's [federal] Liberals... cut funding for all new social housing units."

That halt in funding caused almost all provinces to cut back significantly on the construction of social housing, said Cheung, except for BC.

However, he noted, when the BC Liberals took power in 2001, they cut back on funding for new social housing.