Saint John – Rothesay candidates answer question on Housing, Homelessness

Photo from forumAt the HDC’s All Candidates Forum, Ben Appleby, Chair of the Community Council on Homelessness, talked about the affordable housing crisis  and what it means in Saint John.

Outflow (emergency shelter for men), Coverdale (emergency shelter for women), and Safe Harbour (emergency & transitional housing for youth) were all operating at near full capacity over the summer.

We’re doing our best to get people into stable housing, but the lack of affordable housing in Saint John is reaching a crisis level.

Federal operating agreements for social housing are now expiring, which means that many of these units will no longer be affordable for the people who need subsidized housing the most.

According to the NB Non-profit Housing Association, the expiry of operating agreements will impact 1,232 units of housing in this constituency. 120 units have already expired or will expire in 2015.

There is currently a waiting list for subsidized housing in the Saint John region that has over 1,000 names on it.

Then Ben asked the candidates two questions:

How will you and your party respond to this national housing crisis?

Do you and your party support a National Housing Program?

You can listen to the full audio recording below (start time for each candidate’s response in the audio recording is indicated next to their name), but here are some highlights from the candidates responses:

AJ Griffin, NDP Candidate (44:48): Would work with people & organizations involved locally in housing & homelessness issues; #1 priority would be to get as much as we can for Saint John.
NDP: Would put forward an Affordable Housing Act; Support a National Housing Strategy; Work with cities & Provinces on long term investments; Immediately renew Operating Agreements set to expire; Pledge 2 billion towards social housing and cooperatives by 2020.

Wayne Long, Liberal Candidate (46:05): would be a champion for addressing our social issues in Saint John; would advocate on our behalf; would work with community to make a substantial change in how we tackle this problem in the future.
Liberal Party: has pledged to spend 20 billion dollars over 10 years on social infrastructure (that includes affordable housing, housing for our at risk community).

Sharon Murphy, Green Candidate (47:50):
Green Party:
supports a housing first approach for most vulnerable; Supports a National Housing Plan; Extend & increase co-op funding set to expire; Retrofit all homes in Canada by 2020; Guaranteed livable income.

Rodney Weston, Conservative Candidate (49:48): national strategy won’t allow for adjustments to take place & we need to keep our autonomy as a province with housing.
Conservative Party not in support of a National Housing Strategy

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