Letter to The Editor – The Herald

Government and Liberal Leadership candidates suddenly awoke to an affordable housing shortage.  

The affordable housing crisis, 25 years in the making, comes as no surprise to Private sector developers or the Not-For-Profit housing sector. Nor should it had come as a surprise for the government or the Liberal Leadership candidates vying for the premiership.

Successive governments have ignored the industry’s attempts to engage in housing affordability discussions for the last ten years. What we see now – large rental jumps – is a symptom of the problem – not the underlying problem.

There are currently 5,000 Nova Scotians on the public housing waiting list. Based on the recent Federal Government’s $8.7 million Rapid Housing Initiative funding announcement to build 28 units affordable housing units at $311,000 per unit cost, the provincial government has a $1.55 billion affordable housing problem, if not higher.

No one organization is going to resolve the affordable housing crisis. It will require governments to make a major investment in the Not-For-Profit sector to provide homes for Nova Scotians in deep poverty. It also requires involving Private sector developers to purpose build workforce housing developments that will provide safe and affordable homes for hard-working Nova Scotians working frontline positions in the service and administrative industry sectors.

It will take the Federal, Provincial, and Municipal governments to develop a coordinated housing strategy that will provide the necessary programs to reduce development costs that would allow the private and not-for-profit sectors to charge affordable rents.

What is being proposed has been successfully implemented across Canada and throughout the United States and Europe. And where implemented, explosive growth in affordable, purpose built, housing developments soon followed.

It is time for governments to stop talking about affordable housing and begin walking the talk.

Kevin Russell
Executive Director
The Investment Property Owners Association of Nova Scotia