VIDEO: Protesters rally for affordable housing ahead of B.C. budget

Hundreds of protestors called on the B.C. government to halt speculation in the province’s housing market. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)
Hundreds of protestors called on the B.C. government to halt speculation in the province’s housing market. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)
Eliot Galan, cofounder of Pets OK BC, told the crowd that too many people in B.C. are choosing between homelessness and keeping their pets. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)
Hundreds of protestors called on the B.C. government to halt speculation in the province’s housing market. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)
Speakers called on the B.C. government to halt speculation in the province’s housing market. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)
Protestors called on the B.C. government to halt speculation in the province’s housing market. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)
Hundreds of protestors called on the B.C. government to halt speculation in the province’s housing market. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)

Chants for affordable housing filled Downtown Vancouver Sunday afternoon as hundreds of people rallied for affordable housing in Jack Poole Plaza.

The protesters were there just two days ahead of Tuesday’s provincial budget, where the NDP government is expected to unveil action on the hot-rod issue. The rally was organized by the Affordable Action Hub and called on legislators to take action against speculation in B.C.’s housing market.

“What binds us together is that we are all just fed up. For years, government has just stood by and let housing prices escalate out of reach for locals,” said said Raza Marzi of Housing Action of Local Taxpayers.

“The businesses we used to love are closing because they can’t find young workers to keep their business going.”

Marzi called on government to crack down on out-of-province speculations.

READ: Throne Speech leaves B.C. housing, childcare advocates awaiting details

“We have seen global capital pricing our city out of reach for locals to buy,” he said.

“We need to address this global demand and start collecting our fair share of taxes that we can then use to build affordable housing for locals.”

Eliot Galan, cofounder of Pets Ok BC, spoke about the human cost of ‘no pets’ policies in rental units.

READ: Little room for pets in current rental market

Galan took aim at housing minister Selina Robinson, saying she “blew off” a meeting with the advocacy group last year.

“Studies show that nearly half of women in abusive relationships stay up to seven times longer if they can’t find a place to go that will accepts their pets. Still, few shelters will accommodate them,” said Galan.

He told the crowd that five pets were surrendered to the BC SPCA each day over the past two years – a total of approximately 3,600.

“For those to refuse their animal companions and best friends, that often meant homelessness – indefinitely,” said Galan.


@katslepian

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