LETTER: Bad policies feed homelessness

Re: “Survey finds increase in homelessness across Greater Victoria” in the Aug. 1 Saanich News.

The alarming increase in Victoria’s homeless population indicates that there are many root causes of this social problem that are not being addressed. In my opinion, the core reasons why housing has become so unaffordable can be traced directly back to regressive government legislation. Bad public policy is pushing rents into the stratosphere, forcing many tenants to lose that precious roof over their heads.

Specifically, unregulated rent increases are a major cause of housing insecurity, putting people at risk of homelessness. This year, the NDP set the allowable rent increase at four per cent – the highest in five years. These kind of steep hikes leave many vulnerable renters behind, such as low-income seniors who cannot absorb yearly hits to their wallets.

The combination of government-sanctioned rent increases and allowing landlords to boost the rent sky-high between tenants has fomented our present affordability crisis, where the outrageous cost of renting has turned housing into a luxury for the privileged few. This is not sustainable in the long run.

The solution is bringing regulations into the housing market: rent controls for seniors, the disabled and other vulnerable groups; and controlling hikes in rent to new tenants. Homelessness will only be eradicated when we end the bad government policies that feed it.

Doreen Marion Gee


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