With a residential vacancy rate below one per cent in Regina, affordable housing is an issue – one that has had some considerable focus prior to today’s civic election. In their campaigns, several candidates included a push for a solution to the need for affordable housing. web%20civic%20election%20030

Ward 3 councillor Fred Clipsham, elected for his sixth term tonight, said while the provincial and federal governments are typically responsible for affordable housing, the municipal government needs to become more active in the process.

“I think there’s a continuing need for the city to be very active with the provincial and federal governments on the issue of affordable housing,” he said in a pre-election interview.

“There’s a need, not just in Regina, but in many communities, for new, improved affordable housing. But that’s not our job ... We participate, but we can’t initiate.”

 


 In May, the federal and provincial governments announced a partnership to build and renovate existing affordable housing in Saskatchewan.  The result is a joint investment of more than $161 million over the next two years.

Rob Deglau, community co-ordinator at the North Central Community Association, would like to see councillors take a leadership role on the issue in an effort to create more of an inclusive community.

“At the end of the day, it’s the municipal government that controls what the city looks like, how it’s built, and what goes into it. To continually blame it to the provincial government is quite irresponsible.”

While affordable housing is an issue in North Central, it’s not exclusive to the area, Deglau said.

“There’s always a certain, specific demographic of your community, or a certain percentage that needs affordable housing and it could be young students starting up, single moms, those that are disadvantaged and the list goes on.”
In North Central, much of the affordable housing is inferior, Deglau said.

“It’s dilapidated, it’s old, it needs to be turned down and it’s beyond a state of repair. It’s actually very, disgusting is the word, that poor people have to take dilapidated and poor housing just to meet their needs.”

Prior to the election, Ward 6 candidate Brenda Mercer -- who was defeated by incumbant Wade Murray -- said she would like to work with city councillors to develop a plan that would increase available rental housing to accommodate the Queen City’s growing population.

“I realize that the municipal government isn’t responsible for the housing shortage in Regina, but I think that they, through their leadership, should be more at the table pushing harder with the feds and the province, being a greater advocate.”
Mercer said that regardless of it she was elected or not, the important thing is that ball is rolling on so many issues.

“This is something that’s very close to my heart and I think there’s a lot of residents in Ward 6 that, through the door-knocking, have expressed interest in helping with a lot of things, like graffiti, ‘I’ll help you with community clean-up, I’ll help you supervise a playground, I’ll help.’

“There’s a lot of spirit out there,” Mercer said. “So it doesn’t end tonight, it just begins.”

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For more on what Fred Clipsham had to say about the role of municipal government and affordable housing, listen to the following clip: