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National housing strategy must involve cities: Vancouver mayor

Last Updated Nov 21, 2017 at 7:04 pm PDT

(Bruce Claggett, NEWS 1130 Photo)

The Liberals are set to release their national housing strategy in Vancouver on Wednesday

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson hopes the government has a solid framework for housing funding and solving homelessness

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Ottawa must commit to working with cities, as well as provinces, if it wants to tackle affordable housing and homelessness in Canada, according to Vancouver’s mayor, as the west coast city tackles skyrocketing real estate prices and homeless rates.

“Historically there’s been a focus on the federal government just working with provinces, as per the constitution, and that really limits what we can do on the ground,” Mayor Gregor Robertson said, the day before the Liberal government is set to release its plan in Vancouver.

Robertson says after months of planning, he hopes the government has a solid framework and commitment to housing funding and solving homelessness.

“The operating agreements, the support for all the social housing and co-ops, the more affordable rental housing that’s out there is really important; that’s a key piece for people who have homes but don’t have the stable financing,” Robertson said. “The ultimate test of this will be what will it deliver?”

One Vancouver city councillor says Mayor Gregor Robertson can’t be trusted with any of the funding.

NPA councillor Melissa de Genova says it’s been nearly a decade since Robertson promised to end homelessness in this city.

“He was going to do that by 2015. Here we are two years later with more homeless people than ever before, so I think we really need to look at where Vision Vancouver is spending their money.”

De Genova adds she hopes the announcement includes funding to help working class people born and raised in Vancouver who can no longer afford to live here.

“I think that it’s really important that we look at this, not only as housing, but we look at how this is affecting our economy and where it will hit us even harder, is when we lose all of these individuals who grew up in Vancouver who can’t afford to live here.”

While few details have been released, the 10-year strategy is said to include $40 billion to address the housing issues.