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Our take: Affordable home issue not one we can ignore
Supporters of a pure free market economy will tell you the housing market in any community will always be set by supply and demand.
They will also tell you that any attempt to tinker too much with that balance will inevitably end in expensive failure.
We say Cowichan needs to try something regardless, because the status quo is not working.
The boom of the first decade on this millennium is fading in our rear-view mirrors. But even with the price of your typical starter home coming down between $50,000 and $100,000 in the past few years, a significant portion of young families are either forced to dedicate an unrealistic portion of their income to a mortgage, or are priced out of the market entirely.
And it is not just young families who are in trouble; seniors on fixed incomes and the working poor are facing similar challenges as they attempt to pay the rent.
And then there are the homeless, that unfortunate local club whose membership appears unchanged despite the millions poured into the Warmland House Shelter.
The facts are startling: 40% of Cowichan households don’t make a living wage; one in five homeowners spend more than 30% of their income on shelter; more than half of renters are doing the same.
We don’t know what the right answers are, but we think it is crucial to find ways to address this situation — be it through subsidies or public housing or development permits that require an affordable housing component, or other, more creative means.
But we know something needs to happen and we are glad Social Planning Cowichan has stepped up to the plate.