NDP motion demands action on housing crisis
NDP Housing Critic Gerry Rogers (MHA, St. John’s Centre) took advantage of Private Member’s Day today to bring the province’s housing crisis to the House of Assembly.
Rogers put forward a motion urging government to commit to a provincial housing and homelessness action plan; ask the federal government to renew vital housing programs in 2014; and create a division of housing and homelessness that would co-ordinate government wide action and work with all levels of government and the community on affordable housing.
Despite an amendment submitted by a government MHA, which Rogers called “short-sighted and regrettable,” the caucus voted in support of Rogers’s motion.
“It was evident to me in today’s debate that government MHAs do not understand the need for a division of housing,” Rogers said. “I think that if we already had a division of housing, we would not be facing the very critical housing issues that the people of Newfoundland and Labrador are dealing with today. Government’s current corporation does deal with social housing issues, which is very important and which, I think, they are dealing with very well.
“We see the major impact of large-scale resource development on the housing needs of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador so we need a division which coordinates with all departments, agencies and communities on issues like resource development, affordable home ownership (including co-operative housing), retrofits, and energy efficiency.
“It is regrettable that government does not understand the full spectrum of the needs around housing: To solve the problem, we need comprehensive research, comprehensive assessment, and a housing lens applied to every decision that might affect housing in Newfoundland and Labrador,” said Rogers. “This is bigger than the NLHC. This is bigger than social housing. The availability of a large number of social housing rental units is not a sign of a progressive housing program.”
Speaking in today’s debate, Rogers said, “We still have a very serious problem. We hear it from the people in our districts. Some of our most vulnerable people are living in fear of losing their living accommodations.
“If we do not intervene on a policy level to plan clearly for it, we are going to be in trouble. And we see that trouble looming on the horizon. For many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, it is already here.”