March 24th, 2021

NDP legislation would define housing as a human right, help address housing crisis

HALIFAX -- The NDP is calling on the Liberal government to pass legislation recognizing housing as a human right and to take serious action to deal with the housing crisis in Nova Scotia.

“Housing is a human right. People shouldn’t have to worry about being reno-victed or have their rent increase so much they’re forced to move. Every single person in this province should have a safe, healthy place to call home,” said NDP Leader Gary Burrill. “People are struggling to pay the rent or save money to buy a home, and yet the Liberal government has done very little to make rent more affordable or build new affordable housing.”

In the Halifax Regional Municipality as many as 500 people were chronically unhoused this winter. Almost 20 per cent of Nova Scotia households spend over 50 per cent of their income on housing and utilities.

Erin Masters rents a one-bedroom apartment in Dartmouth for her and her daughter, and was recently one of 150 applicants for a two bedroom apartment.

“The housing situation is out of control,” said Masters. “I have a good job and just want a bigger apartment for me and my daughter. There are so few affordable options and when one does open up over 100 people are also trying to rent the same spot. Something needs to be done to ensure there’s more affordable housing for people.”

The NDP will also table legislation to create permanent rent control in Nova Scotia and allow for a first right of purchase for the province to buy properties that can be used to increase the supply of affordable housing.

“There are many solutions to the housing crisis in Nova Scotia. Permanent rent control, inclusionary zoning, and support for non-profit housing providers would go a long way to addressing affordability and housing supply,” said NDP Housing spokesperson Lisa Roberts. “Community members are talking about solutions all the time, yet the Liberal government remains out of touch with the reality too many people are facing.”