B.C. Premier John Horgan received a warm reception and standing ovation from delegates attending Canada’s largest affordable housing conference, which got underway in Vancouver today.
“I’m very pleased with what we’ve been able to accomplish in the first 16 months,” the premier told a packed ballroom at the Sheraton Wall Centre Sunday morning.
“We’ve taken major steps to deliver on the commitments that we’ve made.”
Indeed the premier had many housing highlights to share from his government’s first 16 months in office; a string of announcements guided by a comprehensive 30-point plan, and funded through a historic $7-billion investment to address housing needs in British Columbia over the next decade.
“Housing is a fundamental crisis at this point in time,” said the premier.
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“It’s not just the hard-to-house. It’s also creeping into middle class and those with moderate incomes,” he added. “When I talk to employers, they say: make sure that we have a place for people to live so that when we recruit and attract people to British Columbia, they’re not turned away by the dollar signs on the housing or the ridiculous inability to find a place to rent.”
Around a thousand stakeholders, civil servants and community housing sector representatives registered for day one of the annual Housing Central Conference, presented by the BC Non-Profit Housing Association (BCNPHA), in partnership with the Co-operative Housing Federation of BC (CHF BC) and the Aboriginal Housing Management Association (AHMA).
Sunday through Tuesday, some 1,500 attendees — largely from British Columbia’s community housing sector — will choose between more than 120 keynotes and discussions on a wide range of housing-related topics, from legislative changes and capital planning, to inclusive housing and homelessness.
This morning, they heard no new commitments from the premier or B.C. housing minister Selina Robinson. Both re-affirmed the provincial government’s commitment to building homes across B.C. through partnerships. Both took the opportunity to share with a very welcoming crowd how the BC NDP have begun to tackle housing accessibility and affordability issues.
“I want to tell you that our government recognizes that we need to do something, and we need to do it now,” said Robinson.