Authored by: Jim Silver

Grant: Partnering for Change: Community-Based Solutions for Aboriginal and Inner-City Poverty - 2012-2019
Category: Housing and Neighbourhood Revitalization

Excerpt:

Consulting firm KPMG’s recommendations that Manitoba Housing units be sold and that the private sector play a greater role in providing housing for low-income people are profoundly mistaken. Far from being the solution to the problem of low-income housing, the private sector has most often been the problem.

Equally problematic is KPMG’s recommendation that rents be raised for the lowest-income tenants, and that eligibility for the Rent Assist program that supports low-income renters be restricted, and that 42 positions at Manitoba Housing be cut.

The claim is being made that there is a crisis at Manitoba Housing, and that a part of the solution is cuts in spending, directed in particular at those in our society who are most vulnerable. Further, KPMG is claiming that the private sector has the solutions.

The private sector will not solve the low-income housing problem. Private builders and developers build and manage housing for profit, and there simply is no profit in building housing for low-income people. Precisely because they have low incomes, low-income people can’t afford to pay monthly amounts sufficient to cover the costs both of building housing, and producing a profit for the builder. Housing for low-income people only gets built if governments are involved in some way.

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