NDP Responses

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Raj Chouhan               Anne Kang

Burnaby Edmonds     Burnaby Deer Lake

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Janet Routledge         Katrina Chen

Burnaby North           Burnaby Lougheed

1.What is your party’s position on addressing homelessness in British Columbia?

British Columbia has a homelessness crisis. Numbers released from the last homelessness count earlier this month reveal homelessness has increased by 30% in Metro Vancouver since the last count in 2014. Partnering with the federal government, local municipalities, agencies and community groups, the BC NDP will create an immediate homelessness action plan, including an investment in affordable housing, training, community health and increase the minimum wage to address this critical situation.

2. Does your party plan to establish a provincial housing strategy to address the growing affordable housing crisis in British Columbia? Please provide an explanation and key actions that your party would take.

Housing is one of the most urgent issues facing Burnaby residents. Anyone trying to rent or buy a home in the past ten years knows there’s a drastic shortage of decent, affordable housing in BC. Increasing the supply of housing is the best way to make housing more affordable, and to keep it affordable. John Horgan and the BC NDP will fix the shortage. We will work with all levels of government, First Nations and the not-for-profit and private sectors, to secure land and build needed housing.

  • Just as homeowners receive a rebate, we will create a renters rebate of $400 a year per household.
  • We will build 114,000 affordable rental, non profit, co-op and owner purchase housing units through partnerships over ten years. These homes will be a mix of housing for students, singles, seniors, and families and will range from supported social housing to quality, market rental housing.
  • We will close the BC Liberals’ “fixed term lease” loophole and ensure controls on rent increases are enforced. 
  • We will pass legislation requiring fair treatment during renovations and demolitions of rental properties.
  • We’ll get new student housing built by removing unnecessary rules that prevent universities and colleges from building affordable student housing.

3. What is your party’s plan to establish a poverty reduction program in BC?

British Columbia is the only province without a poverty reduction plan. The BC NDP is deeply committed to establishing a poverty reduction plan with legislated targets and timelines. We introduced legislation calling for this six times but the Christy Clark government refused to pass the legislation. A poverty reduction plan is necessary to prevent homelessness and to help those who are already homeless to find stable, permanent, appropriate housing. In addition to our housing reduction strategy:

  • We will reduce the depth of poverty in BC by acting immediately to raise all income assistance and disability rates by $100 per month.
  • We will encourage and support assistance recipients as they re-enter the workforce by allowing them to keep an additional $200 a month in earnings exemptions.
  • We will end Christy Clark’s disability bus pass clawback, fully restoring the BC Bus Pass program for people with disabilities.

4. If elected, what resources would your party allocate to increase the supply of affordable and core housing stock in British Columbia, the Lower Mainland and specifically to Burnaby?

We will build 114,000 rental, market and co-op homes throughout the province. Ours is the biggest housing plan in BC history. We will work cooperatively with municipal and community housing partners to determine the appropriate number of units and types of housing needed in Burnaby.

5. If elected, what resources would your party allocate to prevent the loss of existing affordable housing from conversions, demolitions or serious deterioration?

Residents in Burnaby are struggling to find and maintain secure, affordable housing. For 16 years the BC Liberals have neglected renters in this province and life has become more unaffordable than ever. The NDP believes that reduction in available rental stock and unfair rent increases are not only harmful to renters – they hurt communities.

A BC NDP government will invest in 114,000 rental, market and co-op homes. John Horgan and the BC NDP have repeatedly called on the Christy Clark government to invest in rental housing. We have brought attention to loopholes within the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA) that allow landlords to raise rents well beyond the regulated annual increase. We have pledged to close these loopholes.

We are committed to passing legislation that ensures fair treatment for renters during renovations and demolitions of rental properties.

6. If elected what strategies and resources would your party commit to the prevention of homelessness amongst those at risk such as low income earners, youth exiting the foster care system?

We need to address the affordability crisis that the BC Liberals created. The constantly increasing fees, unfair taxes and extra costs make it extremely difficult for people to make ends meet and keep a roof over their head.

  •  A BC NDP government will freeze Hydro rates and eliminate the MSP, which will put money back into renters’ pockets.
  •  We have committed to raising the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour which would help low income earners maintain their housing.
  • We will expand BC’s apprenticeship and trades training programs as part of our program to create an economy that works for everyone.
  • We will eliminate interest on student loans and provide students with a $1000.00 completion grant to help students transition from school and into the workforce.
  • We will make Adult Basic Education and ESL free again to help people improve their skills and employability which will help them afford and maintain housing.

7. What strategies and resources would your party commit to assist low income earners to overcome barriers such as to improved employment, better health and resource access?

The BC NDP has a plan to lift British Columbians out of poverty by raising the minimum wage, expanding training opportunities, creating meaningful apprenticeships and investing in community health clinics and mental health strategies.

8. If elected, what resources would your party allocate to ensure people without homes have access to appropriate emergency shelter and supports in their home community?

The BC NDP would require BC Housing to work with municipalities on a variety of housing solutions as well as transitional housing to address the needs of the homeless.

9. If elected, what resources will your party commit to Burnaby to address the challenges for Burnaby citizens who are dealing with homelessness?

A BC NDP government will work cooperatively with municipal and federal governments to establish transitional housing in Burnaby that has adequate services and supports to allow residents to move from homelessness to permanent, stable housing.

We will work to ensure there is mental health and addictions treatment for people when they need it and where they need it.

10. If elected, what will your party do to ensure that short term/transitional housing is established in Burnaby specifically for people who are dealing with homelessness? What time frame?

A BC NDP government will work cooperatively with the municipal and federal government to establish transitional housing with adequate services and supports that will allow people to move from homelessness to permanent, stable housing. All too often the BC Liberals have taken a confrontational approach with Burnaby and have refused to fund transitional housing projects such as:

  • Burnaby council’s endorsement of transitional housing on the former youth detention centre site.
  • the Elizabeth Fry Society’s proposed housing for women who are homeless on Hastings St, despite the city’s rezoning of the site.
  • the proposal to turn the 401 Motor Inn into transitional housing Burnaby residents deserve a provincial government that will stand up for housing.

The BC NDP has a plan that will secure safe, appropriate and affordable housing options for the people of Burnaby.