Community groups call for action on the affordable housing crisis

Global News September 13, 2013 - REGINA- Regina is in a booming economy, but more and more residents are unable to afford the costs of housing. On Friday, a group of community members met outside the Artful Dodger, expressing the need for something to be done.

Back in May, Mayor Fougere held a housing summit. As Regina is one of the lowest vacancy rates, he said his goal is to have those rates to three percent by 2017.

Now, four months later, advocacy groups under the name “Roof-Ready Regina Re-visited” are worried because nothing is scheduled to get done.

“We’re here to draw attention to the fact that Regina doesn’t have a ten year plan to end homelessness,” said Marc Spooner, a professor at the University of Regina.

Nearby cities, like Saskatoon, Edmonton and Calgary all adopted a timeline to end homelessness but for Regina, according to Mayor Fougere, that’s not in the agenda.

He believes homelessness is a Federal, Provincial, and Municipal issue together and it’s a partnership.

“I want to work with the partnerships and have people around a table talking,” said Fougere. He believes we need to focus on Regina’s unique situation and the crisis is easing.

“Our vacancy rates have gone from point-six to one-point-nine percent,” said Fougere “We’re headed in the right direction but we cannot solve homelessness or our issues in four months.”

The vacancy rates have gone up, but with the average rent in Regina being $800 for one bedroom, people cannot afford what is available.

“I have a son who cannot afford to live out in public or to rent a place because they’re too expensive and my daughter has two children and pays $1,400 a month for rent,” said Terri Sleeva, a concerned resident.

So “Roof-Ready Regina Re-visited” is pushing now to at least see the development of 500 truly affordable housing units.

© Shaw Media Inc., 2013. All rights reserved