Skyrocketing house and rental unit prices have forced over a million Canadians to live on the streets every day. Canadians cannot afford to wait until after the next election for the government to act. As time ticks, the state Canadian citizens are currently in, will only continue to get worse.
Irene Mathyssen is the MP for London-Fanshawe and represents the NDP party in parliament. She says it is a disgrace that affordable housing is not available in a country so wealthy.
“The lack of adequate and affordable housing is a national disgrace. It makes me angry because this is so unnecessary.”
Now is the time to act on a crisis that is so serious and a potential disaster to a country that holds such high standards.
“I say do it now. If you really intend to do it, do it when the need is so great,” said Mathyssen talking about the Liberals.
In 1971 there was a Liberal government lead by Pierre Trudeau. Because Trudeau was in a minority, he needed support from the NDP party. Ed Broadbent was the leader. He said he would help Trudeau out but they need some strategy in terms of making sure people are looked after. Part of that was affordable housing.
The NDP set up a national housing strategy supported financially by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. They oversaw not-for-profit co-op housing in the country. They were the revenue source. The country then built up a network of organizations that were devoted to making sure the country had good, affordable, accessible, and decent housing. This way of strategy led Canada to be very successful.
In the late 1980’s, the Liberal government decided to get in on the deal set up by the NDP. During that time though, they never did much to help the NDP or citizens in affordable housing. Mathyssen says this is exactly what is still happening today, and leading to the crisis of affordable housing and homelessness.
“The lack of affordable housing is directly tied to decades of successive funding cuts by the Liberal government. We need a government who cares. We need an NDP government like the 1990’s who didn’t just say they were going to do things, they actually did them.”
London is among one of the worst cities per capita for having a homeless community.
“When we look at homelessness, we tend to think of Toronto. But, per capita our homelessness situation here in London is just as bad or perhaps even worse.”
Mathyssen says change needs to be made. Along with the NDP, she will fight for citizens of Canada to have a roof over their head and be able to pay for a house that isn’t going to cause them bankruptcy.
“We have the ability because we are a very wealthy country. We can do this and our community security neighborhood by neighborhood is absolutely key to having good housing in place,” she said. “I’m so tired of fielding calls from people in the community who are in desperate situations. We as a community can do it so, let’s get it done.”
She hopes the Liberals can take action soon and pump funding into the affordable housing crisis, before the state of it becomes worse than it already is.