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NEWS RELEASE · 7th October 2012
Housing Ministry
The B.C. government is giving the University of Northern British Columbia's Community Development Institute $50,000 to continue research on economic diversification and ways to improve housing stability in rural and northern communities.

The Community Development Institute will provide the B.C. government with information on topics such as economic and social development, workforce needs and trends effecting northern communities. Access to comprehensive and current data will also provide valuable insight into northern housing markets.

Quotes:

Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister
Responsible for Labour and MLA for Prince George-Mackenzie is quoted as stating;

"The B.C. government is proud to have invested toward Community Development Institute's continued research to support the economic diversification and housing needs of rural communities in the North. Information from these studies provides our government with the research we need to better serve British Columbians in this region."

Shirley Bond, Minister of Justice and Attorney General and MLA for
Prince George-Valemount is quoted as stating;

"We are very pleased to be able to support the Community Development Institute with a grant for their endowment fund. Having accurate information is critical for government, and the research that is done will reflect northern perspectives as we work to find ways to provide sustainable housing options now and in the future."

Dr. George Iwama, president and vice-chancellor, University of
Northern British Columbia is quoted as stating;

"We are delighted with the B.C. government's ongoing support and partnership with UNBC. Today's commitment of funding will enable our Community Development Institute to continue supporting economic development in our rural and northern communities through research and building of capacity."


Quick Facts:

* Rural and small communities that are resource-based face undetermined economic cycles, which have a significant impact on the demand for housing, at times creating radical swings in housing costs.

* Communities in northern British Columbia face two additional housing-related challenges: aging housing stock and seniors' desires to age-in-place.

* Since 2003, the Community Development Institute has been working with communities across northern B.C. to help them diversify their economies thereby mitigating the impact of resource sector boom and bust cycles resulting in more sustained and predictable economic growth and prosperity.

* Since 2001, the B.C. government has invested $3.2 billion to provide affordable housing for low income individuals, seniors and families. This year, more than 97,000 B.C. households will benefit from provincial social housing programs and services.


Learn More:

* To learn more about BC Housing, please visit: www.bchousing.org/

* To read how the provincial housing strategy is helping British Columbians, visit:
http://www.bchousing.org/Media/Stories

* To learn more about the Community Development Institute, visit:
http://www.unbc.ca/cdi/

Housing projects coming soon to Pat Bell's riding
Comment by David on 9th October 2012
Northwest BC has the highest level of unemployment in all of British Columbia. A few months ago, the Liberals announced a poverty reduction strategy. But, instead of providing the program to Northwest BC, which is represented by NDP ridings, the provincial government decided that Pat Bell's riding should benefit from this program. Prince George is breaking records for its low unemployment rate, which is about half that of the Northwest. Thus, these programs have nothing to do with actual homelessness and poverty (based on statistics). This is all about patronage and rewarding the electorate for voting Liberal.
affordability
Comment by Stacey Tyers on 8th October 2012
You are right in that it is simply not affordable for owners or renters. Though people think it's cheaper here, the jobs pay less, less opportunity for roommates etc.

However police should never be in contradiction to the Residential Tenancy Branch, have been quite good at addressing their responsibilities and I have provided them with a quick guide so they are not in contrdiction. I would be interested to hear what you mean by this.

The city has recently approved secondary suites in R1 zones which will definitely help.

I think the focus needs to be on ensuring safe, affordable housing for our communities. Buying, renting a house is a choice and an investment. Needing housing is not a choice.
Lots of practical issues
Comment by lf on 7th October 2012
Housing costs more to create than rents support. If you buy a small, new 3br, 2ba for 300K then you can't rent the house for nearly as much as it costs to service the mortgage, house insurance, property taxes and long term maintenance. We have building and municipal codes in place that strictly police and limit what home owners can do to protect and maintain their homes. We have a police system that is at odds with the Residential Tenancy Branch in policy which means that those people who do provide rentals can be caught between two governmental agencies when dealing with troublesome, dangerous or criminal tenants.

There are no silver bullets, especially in a service economy (which we will become again when the current run of high paying projects complete) that means that some people can work their entire adult lives and never afford a new home.

I'd recommend that we start with the practical solution of protecting the interests of those people who save, buy and maintain homes. If we don't work on these problems then government spending will build expensive buildings to house the homeless at the cost of higher taxes. The middle class is eroding in North America and these mundane issues are at the front line of the erosion.