Statistically speaking

Provincial Liberal Minister Rich Coleman may be planning on shifting focus from funding social housing to handing out rent supplements. But an independent report commissioned by B.C. Housing Corp. while the New Democrats were in power concluded those supplements are more expensive than the housing projects they'd replace. According to The Vancouver Sun's Francis Bula, the 1998 study - which was written by David Black of Ekos Research Inc. - "compared the actual costs of 32 pairs of housing units - a social-housing apartment or house and a private one where the tenant was getting a government rent supplement - for the last 20 years. In each case, the study's statistics revealed that social housing starts out being more expensive for government, because it is paying large subsidies to make rent affordable for tenants in expensive new buildings. But typically, after about five years - not the 22-36 years that has been assumed in other studies - market rents start to go higher than the monthly cost of social housing, so people getting rent supplements need larger and larger supplements each year to make the housing affordable."

"Black said market rents tend to rise higher than social-housing costs because private landlords have a goal of getting a return on their investment, which social-housing managers don't. As well, people donate time to help manage social housing, which doesn't happen in the private market." That validity of that study was subsequently challenged in estimates by Ted Nebbeling, who was then the Liberal's employment and investment critic.

3 Comments

The Campbell Liberal government so-called housing policy makes perfect sense - because it's not a housing policy at all.

Like all good neo-cons, their entire focus is on tax reduction and related policies that shift actual government spending on real programs, into the nebulous (some would say 'Nebbeling-ous') realm of tax credits and reduced revenue and spending matrixes (have you got all that?).

The fact is, it's all smoke and mirrors - designed ultimately to reduce or eliminate direct government funding of legislated social programs, into a murky realm of individual subsidies that exist at the whim of the minister of the day, in any given budget year.

By removing housing from a legistalive framework, into the administrative realm of "regulations", cabinet can change the funding formula on any given Wednesday, without the knowledge of a single soul until it is a fait accomplit.

And besides, rent subsidies go directly into the pockets of their friends in the development community, who gave so generously to the Campbell Liberals in the last election, that the party is still trying to sort out how to spend the money.

Imagine how much we'd be paying in taxes today if governments had not seen the natural common sense of investing in school buildings, for example, and we would have had to rent 100-odd city blocks in Vancouver alone to school our kids.

How many millions is the VSB alone raking in every year from the rents that they COLLECT on their own properties -- all dollars that SUBSIDISE the cost to taxpayers of delivering a public service.

We livedin two different co op housing places while in vancouver. we paid market rent, most people there were on a sliding scale subsidy. It worked well. People who never had a secure place to live before got involved in the operation of both places. Their pride in having a good place to live was obvious. A number of single parent women really shone as they , having a secure clean place to live, went to schools for courses to improve their job prospects. Their kids knew who the folks next door were and they wern't about to be hurt by them. A slum? No way. The high cost condos next door looked out on the same views the recently stuck in some slum landlord building co op members now have.

So this stupid idea of giving folks some money, go find a place ends up with certain landlords who see them coming and jack up the rents. Social housing works and the ex cop should know that but the folks who support him don't like to hear that line of thought. Besides the co op system or any social housing system doesn't allow guys like Coleman to support their friends in a big way. A new election is always coming up, the socialists are at the gate, and Gordo and crew need those friendly landlords to belp bankroll their campaigns.

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