Use Forces housing to help with crisis: Rogers
NDP Housing Critic Gerry Rogers (MHA, St. John’s Centre) said today the provincial government must take leadership as the Department of National Defence vacates housing in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
As a result of federal budget cuts, the Department of National Defense will shut down military housing in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg. Chief of Defence staff General Walt Natynczyk said yesterday that DND plans to consult extensively with the community.
“This is a great opportunity to help alleviate the housing crisis in Happy Valley-Goose Bay,” Rogers asked today. “We hear so often from people that they cannot find affordable housing – this could be a perfect solution!”
There are 400 housing units on the base; about half of them have been empty for several years. In addition to two- and three-bedroom units, there are barracks-style and bachelor units on the base.
“Let’s take some action to make a positive change for the people in this community,” Rogers said. “Even though we have no government division dedicated specifically to housing, this is surely something that can be done.
“The housing crisis has been caused in large part by years of government neglect, of ignoring the desperate need for a comprehensive housing strategy. Without a plan in place, areas such as Happy Valley-Goose Bay find themselves in a major crunch when faced with large resource development projects. This is an excellent opportunity to use housing – housing that already belongs to the people – to help alleviate the problem.
“I am urging government to move on this immediately.”