Vancouver City Council voted Thursday to postpone hearings on the controversial Historic Heights Report which would have recommended higher density zoning for the Downtown Eastside and Chinatown.
The hearing, scheduled for 2 pm Thursday afternoon, would have allowed Council to hear reactions from affected groups and residents of the communities concerned.
Councillor Andrea Reimer told reporters in front of Council Chambers that they were postponing hearings and a vote on DTES rezoning for higher density in order to conduct social and economic impact studies first. The portion of the report that makes recommendations for zoning in Chinatown will be brought before council at a later date, perhaps in February.
At long last, the federal government has decided to seriously address the housing price bubble that has increasingly concerned Canadians.
On the heels of multiple warnings from the Bank of Canada that Canadians have taken on too much household debt for comfort (we hold the dubious distinction of having the worst consumer debt to financial assets ratio among 20 OECD nations), the federal government announced three moves. It will reduce the maximum insurable amortization period from 35 years to 30 years as it scales back both home equity loans and the amount homeowners can refinance. With these changes, we are about half way back to where the CMHC lending standards stood in 2006 when the Harper government significantly loosened them.
From 2002 to 2008, the counted number of homeless in Metro Vancouver increased 137 per cent, from 1,121 to 2,660. What is equally important, from 30 to 50 per cent (with some estimating as high as 70 per cent) of the homeless population in Vancouver have mental health concerns. An unfortunate result of de-institutionalization is that the burden of mental healthcare has fallen on the police and general hospitals. To solve homelessness, we can't just build homes. We must also successfully address the mental health concerns of the homeless.
Some people choose to live on the streets of Toronto throughout the winter.
That's right, I said they choose to live on the streets. But the choice they make is a Hobson's choice between the overcrowded, bed bug infested and dangerous conditions of the city's shelter system or the hard, cold streets.
John Clarke from the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) posted a photo on Twitter snapped by a shelter worker in February showing what he says is blood on a wall inside Seaton House.
A vote on Bill C-400, for a National Housing Strategy, is expected tonight in the House of Commons. The following open letter was issued by a number of organizations.
Canada is the only G8 country without a coordinated national strategy for homelessness and housing. While we are aware that all levels of government have made increased investments in social and affordable housing, there has yet to be sufficient coordination and resources allocated to adequately address the reality that over 1 million people in Canada experience difficulty retaining their housing.
On Wednesday evening, Bill C-400 -- for a national housing strategy -- will be voted on at second reading in the House of Commons. If it passes, the bill will be sent to a House committee for all-party review, debate and discussion. If it is defeated, Canada will maintain its dubious status as one of the only developed countries in the world without a national commitment or strategy to address homelessness and inadequate housing.