Affordable Housing Crisis in Prince Rupert creates more community engagement

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It is no shock; affordable housing is a significant concern for the Northwest. Prince Rupert residents are struggling now more than ever. 

Poverty Law Advocate Coordinator, Paul Lagace, said early in March housing affordability was bad, but now it's even worse.

"People that aren't making the big bucks down at the port, but their working at the grocery store and just trying to get by paying their rent. That's where the gap for people lower middle income, there no, not only is there nothing available to rent its also not affordable."

Shauna Wouters, Chief Admin Officer of Hecate Strait Employment Development, started a group on Facebook for people in the community to start talking about housing issues. She said the level of communication amongst the members has been great. It is now something everyone has a thought on.

"You know, I think in the group and in general we see it all levels. Whether it's increasing homelessness was seeing on the streets or renovations for those in rental units. The loss of so many rental units in our community either because of fires or in such bad conditions is no longer available. There is also the concern of if people afford to buy their first home in Prince Rupert. It goes across the spectrum. The level of need is growing more and more all the time."

Both parties have addressed the appreciation of what the provincial government has done thus far. 

Still, both agree that the changes that need to be made need to be looked at from a different lens.

Wouters added the provincial government may need to speak to local members to discuss the real needs in the community

Lagace also added it maybe a good idea for BC Housing to have discussions with the developers in the business community and to look into some creative partnerships.