Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Home is where-ever I'm with you

A new housing policy has been brought before council (well, new last spring) with the intention to spread the burden of poverty throughout various neighbourhoods; a flexible "soft-cap" as it has been called, means new low-income houses would not be built in the inner-city neighbourhoods if they did not agree to it, and instead a quota of "affordable" homes would be implemented, requiring new developers to either build the homes or pay a fine, of an amount to be determined later.
The problem is the relationship between low-income housing and poverty. Some see the relationship as positive, since the effect of low-income housing = slums is a very salient effect, both are easily observed and documented. However, some argue that affordable housing lifts people out of poverty, since not having a fixed or reputable address is a large factor to overcome in pursuit of  gainful employment. Once things like a secure haven becomes commonplace in a person's life, the other amenities follow.

So what does this mean for the candidates? Either housing or inner city developments are on every candidate's platform, and this might mean some big ramifications.
Daryl Bonar- He's promising to help the homeless and clean up many areas of the city, but he also purports to be a family-oriented man, and putting a large block of low-income housing in a family neighbourhood will make people nervous. He can certainly use this law, if it is not too unpopular, to his campaign advantage, but it would prove a hindrance once he was finally elected.
David Dorward- It's possible he can claim some of the low-income housing for his senior's initiative, but since it mostly applies to new  developments, which are notoriously far out of town, this may prove difficult unless more senior communities are built.
Dave Dowling- A portion of his ten billion dollar dollar plan is $1 billion for low-income housing. This may restrict his endeavours, since he now requires the permission of the communities before he can build in neighbourhoods that already possess low-income housing.
Dan Dromarsky- Seems I was wrong. I can find no way to connect Mr. Dromarsky's campaign to this new policy. Ironic that I forgot about him, given that Metro gave him a very special interview in the paper today. (That's right, Dear Reader, I'm the only unbiased news source you can trust. Or at least so biased it's flagrant.)
Bob Ligertwood- This policy goes best with Mr. Ligertwood's campaign. Given his desire to revitalize the inner-city, and provide better assistance and services to homeless people, this policy could very well have been crafted by Mr. L himself; It would fully support and justify building more low-income housing structures, bring awareness to the poverty situation, and also help integrate homeless people into better lifestyles.
Andrew Lineker- He could use this policy to support his desire to clean-up the inner-city which, if you recall his arena stance, he felt was unclean and unsafe, or it could worsen the situation, dragging other neighbourhoods down with less-fortunate neighbourhoods. It would allay his concerns about people being evicted from their homes by the LRT, however.
Stephen Mandel- should he retain his seat, this could make him very unpopular. If he goes ahead and pushes housing where-ever seems convenient, he runs the risk of annoying many new homeowners; but on the other hand, it's pretty much a God-send for his campaign to build several thousand new low-income houses, and gain the support of anyone who supports the policy.

The support for the policy, needless to say, depends heavily on who is in the hot seat come November, and also how they interpret the statistics on homelessness, poverty, and low-income housing, but unless we can distract the people in the nicer neighbourhoods with something shiny, this new initiative is likely to run straight into the NIMBY crew, and they have baseball bats.

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