An article recently posted in The Conversation says it clearly: simply building more houses will not solve the housing crisis many Canadian municipalities face. There are a lot more issues to consider than just approving new development:
While it’s important to recognize the lack of affordable housing as part of the housing crisis, the problem with our housing system isn’t as simple as the disequilibrium between supply and demand. Increasing market housing supply will not end the housing crisis on its own.
Affordability is often the main, if not the sole issue, that is perceived and discussed when assessing housing issues in a municipality. But, as the authors point out, affordability is only one of many issues that have to be considered, and that many people simply will never be able to afford to own their own home. Other issues include “housing instability, the ability to stay safe and healthy at home and reduced access to neighbourhood amenities and resources.”
The article analyses a study of housing issues in BC, but the results apply across the nation. And the authors conclude, “policy-makers should be wary of vulnerabilities introduced by the market system beyond core housing needs, as our study reveals, especially for those who cannot afford home ownership.”
To build long-term community resilience, public policies should pay attention not only to housing adequacy, but also to residential stability and the quality of life that homes and neighbourhoods provide.
Without a holistic understanding of the lived and social realities of what it means to be safe and sound at home, we lose crucial opportunities to meet important social policy goals through our housing plans and policy.
These are all things to consider next term as our council wrestles with the local housing issues and searches for sustainable solutions. You should elect a new council that reads such reports, discusses them openly, and looks for insight from peers in other municipalities. Count on me to be an informed councillor.