Regina housing advocates push for 500 new homes in two years

Leader-Post | By Emma Graney

REGINA — A group of Regina housing advocates is calling for 500 new affordable housing units to be built in the city within the next two years.

Representatives from Carmichael Outreach, Regina Anti-Poverty Ministry and Queen City Tenants Association today met with federal housing critic Majolaine Boutin-Sweet, who is in the province as part of a national housing tour.

“People are making the hard choice right now between food and rent,” said Marc Spooner, part of Roof-Ready Regina Re-visited.

“We desperately need rental housing geared to low-incomes, and we need it now.”

The push, Spooner said, should be toward a three-prong government strategy on housing, at the municipal, provincial and federal levels.

Regina’s vacancy rate has grown slightly over the past few months, from less than 1 per cent to 1.9 per cent, but advocates say things are nowhere near ideal.

“The vacancy rate is important, but it doesn’t necessarily mean an improvement for accessibility for people on the lower end of the income scale,” said Tyler Gray, housing co-ordinator with Carmichael Outreach.

Gray said while he welcomes “any discussions” on housing, it’s also important to engage the market to come up with a plan.

“Anything targeted toward affordable housing is a really good step to take,” he said.