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Opposition parties demand answers and solutions to growing housing crisis

By Caitlin Snow Nov 29, 2023 | 12:15 PM

The provincial Liberals and the NDP are not standing down when it comes to the housing crisis in our province.

Liberal Leader Zach Churchill said in a release, all levels of government need to act with a ‘war-like’ effort, and he intends to press the Houston government for answers, at the Public Accounts Committee meeting, Wednesday, especially when it comes to the Housing Task Force.

He adds that it has not produced the results Nova Scotians desperately need and was created to compel the province and the Halifax Regional Municipality to move faster on large residential developments.

“While more Nova Scotians find themselves without a place to call home, the Houston government has been focused on gaining political control through a backdoor Housing Task Force. Rather than usurping HRM’s authority, the province should be working collaboratively with all levels of government to deliver much-needed housing to Nova Scotians.”

The Liberals say with a record number of people experiencing homelessness and the highest rental increase in the country, the Houston governments approach of gaining political control over the development process, is not working.

They add that since the Housing Task Force was created in 2021, housing starts are down, and rent is growing faster than anywhere in Canada with more and more tents popping up across HRM.

Meanwhile, the provincial NDP are also slamming the Houston government, saying their housing ‘solutions’ are leaving too many Nova Scotian’s out in the cold.

They say todays Public Accounts Committee will review investments in Affordable Housing and the impacts of that spending.

“There are real solutions to these problems that the Houston government could act on today,” said NDP Leader Claudia Chender. “They could create a vacant land tax to ensure developers don’t bank land, they could close the fixed-term lease loophole, and they could move quickly to expand the non-market housing sector and approve truly affordable housing developments that provide people homes they can afford.”

According to the Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia, 1051 people were actively homeless in the HRM as of November 21. That’s up from around 700 this time last year. The province’s rent inflation rate is the highest in Canada at 14.1 percent.