2018 Council

Vote Bill Manners

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Why we have so many homeless people in Nanaimo

This past year, the issue of homelessness in Nanaimo has hit the news in a big way.  But the problem has been a long time in the making.  Why do we have issues with homelessness in Nanaimo?

  1. Years of economic neglect by previous city councils: 
    1. The Economic Development office has not been working to attract business and well-paying jobs to Nanaimo.
    2. The red tape to set up a new business is excessive, and it takes too long to jump through the hoops.
    3. Council has been focussed on big projects like Colliery Dam and the Event Centre in recent years.
    4. Businesses are scared off by the local political climate.  There has been too much infighting among council members.  Nanaimo has received too much negative national press about problems with councillors, the former Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Financial Officer. 
  2. The lack of economic opportunities in Nanaimo:
    1. More people are underemployed and working at low-paying jobs. 
    2. Many people need to work 2 or 3 jobs just to pay the rent.
    3. Many people are doubling, tripling up in a home, or even more to spread out the rent costs for one home.
    4. The world economy is changing. Jobs are being lost, or hours on the job are decreased because new technologies are replacing people.
    5. People don’t have the money, time, or other opportunities to retrain for the new workplace requirements if they’re barely making enough money for rent.
    6. Senior’s pensions, social assistance, disability benefits have not kept up with the cost of housing.
  3. Housing speculation and the gentrification of older areas of Nanaimo:
    1.  People are buying up all the older housing stock, which used to provide inexpensive rentals.
    2. In our housing market, house-flipping is a sure way to make a lot of money in a short period of time.
    3. They are evicting the tenants, renovating the homes, and selling them to more affluent newcomers to Nanaimo.
    4. This leaves less housing stock available for low-income renters.
    5. Homes which were previously rented by several people together with low incomes and addiction issues or mental health issues have mostly been flipped.  This has pushed these people out into the street and made them homeless.
  4. Lack of specifically low-income housing:
    1. Lack of rent-controlled housing for seniors on a fixed pension.
    2. NIMBYism in areas of the city preventing supportive housing from being built.
    3. Airbnb, etc. seen as an alternative means of making money to having long-term tenants.

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