Answer to the YWCA Question
According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation in June 2012, the city’s vacancy rate sits at 0.60 per cent. That’s 0.10 per cent lower than last year’s 0.70 per cent. CMHC suggests that the optimum vacancy rate for rental property is 3%. The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Regina is about $948. If you are elected, what actions will you propose to respond to the affordable housing shortage?
My first task would be to set up the Regina Housing Commission to focus our actions on the housing problems. This was recommended to City Council in 2000 by the Task Force on Housing and was not implemented. It would look at every option to encourage more action on housing. It would consolidate the partners and get everyone to work for change. We don’t need more discussion or summits.
My personal efforts would be to focus on increasing rental housing. I would look at encouraging housing in vacant parking lots downtown as well as increasing the density of our neighbourhoods everywhere whether increasing multi-family housing or the introduction of appropriate lane way or secondary suites.
There is also a need to maintain our current housing stock through stronger enforcement of bylaws and to help people find housing that meets their needs. We need to improve as well as encourage a pride in our homes.
If we are to deal with some of the other problems in the city, housing has to be dealt with first because it is now seen as a barrier to action in other areas.