I was asked to be a witness at the NS Legislature for the Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Economic Development. Today, along with Helen Lanthier from the South Shore Housing Action Coalition and Martin Laycock, Acting Chief Operating Officer from the Department of Infrastructure and Housing, I answered questions on what the province can do about affordable housing. Although Halifax saw an increase in our vacancy rate to 1.9% in 2020 (as published in the CMHC Rental Market Report last month), we know a major reason for that is COVID-19 which has kept a huge portion of renters away: our postsecondary students. The vacancy rate in places like Sackville is still very low at 0.5% and the average rental increase was 4.1%, with higher increases in Dartmouth. Martin did a great job of highlighting what the province has already done to protect low-income renters and build affordable units under the National Housing Strategy. Ms. Lanthier highlighted the challenges in rural areas where issues like homelessness look different than in rural areas.
You can view the full 2-hour session here, or read the media articles:
- “Nova Scotia committee hears housing crisis isn’t just a Halifax issue“, Alexander Quon, Global News
- “Province told that rural NS has ‘affordable housing crisis’“, Jean Laroche, CBC
- “NS ignores affordable housing lessons provided by other jurisdictions, prof says“, Francis Campbell, The Chronicle Herald