New plan could help renters, says NDP leader during Hamilton visit

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Published July 18, 2023 at 6:50 pm

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, seen in a screenshot, shares his proposed plan for affordable housing in Hamilton on July 18, 2023. Hamilton Centre MP Matthew Green joined him during the press conference.
Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, seen in a screenshot, shares his proposed plan for affordable housing in Hamilton on July 18, 2023. Hamilton Centre MP Matthew Green joined him during the press conference.

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh proposed a plan to turn around a “losing battle” against the growing housing crisis during his visit to Hamilton today.

During a press conference Tuesday (July 18), Singh said Canada needs to create a national acquisition fund that would help lower rent, stop renovictions and save affordable homes for Hamiltonians and other people across Canada.

This fund would help co-operatives, non-profit groups or municipalities to purchase buildings to keep housing affordable and keep housing out of the hands of more developers and investors, he explained.

Singh said he’s urging the Liberals to create this affordable housing acquisition fund, which would help tenants like those from the 272 Caroline Street S. apartments. After they learned the building was for sale, the tenants had decided to try to buy their building to create a co-op. They said they feared they would be renovicted if a corporate landlord bought the building.

Singh and NDP MP Matthew Green for Hamilton Centre met with members of Corktown Co-operative Homes on Tuesday. Singh pointed to the Corktown co-op as an example of how Canadians can have housing that offers security, affordability and a sense of community. “We know it’s achievable,” he said.

He said the NDP is looking at examples of how the fund would work, such as in British Columbia whose $500-million Rental Protection Fund allows non-profits to purchase buildings and preserve affordability for current and future tenants.

The NDP did not immediately respond to inthehammer’s request for more details about the fund.

“Our goal is we need to keep what we have affordable, affordable. Keep it in the hands of community groups and co-operatives and not allow developers to take over the affordable homes and convert them into properties that people can’t afford to live in,” Singh said.

He explained that the proposed acquisition fund would be in addition to the NDP’s commitment to building 500,000 new homes in Canada. “We can’t rely solely on private developers. We need purpose-built rental and non-market housing.” 

Over the past decade, he noted that Hamilton had lost 16,000 affordable homes, which were not replaced. For every 25 units lost, only one is built back.

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