Act NOW to get real affordable housing

As a person with a severe physical disability, I face having to move into a long-term care facility (i.e a nursing home) to get my care needs met. The province will only pay for 6 or 7 hours of care per day in the community, which would leave me alone for the remaining 17 or 18 hours. I helped start a group called ‘No More Warehousing ‘ to bring this to public attention and propose a program for shared care in the community.

The Peninsula remains as HRM’s central place of economic activity. It is home to government offices, hospitals, universities, the Port, the Navy, professional and business offices, hotels, restaurants, bars and entertainment. Each requires not just accommodation for their executives and professionals, but affordable accommodation for all staff within a reasonable travel distance. This includes housing for people as they age. But Council has been making individual site and larger planning decisions that squeeze out affordable residential neighbourhoods. This has to stop.

Planning must require neighbourhoods to contain plentiful affordable housing, including housing for families and seniors. In a Community Council approval on August 11 , an eight-storey mixed-use building on the Bedford Highway had “affordable housing.” This shows affordable housing can be, and should have been, incorporated within each development agreement process.

Halifax should have a Landlord Licensing system with a publicly accessible registry that does not affect tenant rent. This would ensure rental buildings in Halifax are properly maintained for health, safety and pest control, helping tenants, good landlords and homeowners in our neighbourhoods.

Families with children must become a priority for HRM and for developers who have been concentrating on one- or two-bedroom units. There must also be promotion of abundant recreational facilities and green space, as well as nearby child care.

Council has mostly said “yes, yes” to all development proposals. They claim they can’t do affordable housing because the HRM Charter doesn’t provide the necessary powers. Let’s address this through provincial law amendments. If the Province drags its feet, Council should halt big-scale as-of-right development until laws change. Housing is crucial for everyone: the employed and unemployed, seniors, new immigrants, homeless, and vulnerable. Where HRM owns land, such as Cogswell Interchange, affordable housing must be prioritized. Contracts should prioritize underrepresented groups in the labour market. Let’s build neighbourhoods like the Hydrostone. Let’s press the Province to enact rent controls.

It’s Time.

HRM needs a Better Council.

Vote for a Better Council. 

Vote for Jen.

About Jen

Jen Powley is a candidate for councillor in District 7.

Jen has lived with multiple sclerosis throughout her adult life. She knows what it’s like to face challenges and make good things happen. She listens, she thinks, and she acts.

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