United Nations Housing expert criticizes City of Vancouver “affordable” housing strategy

Phoenix and Wendy from CCAP with Miloon Kothari, former United Nations official

“You can’t do business as usual. You need radical change. There has to be more outrage.” That’s what Miloon Kothari, the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing said about the Vancouver housing situation at a meeting hosted by the city’s Planning Commission on July 11.

In 2007 Kothari spent over a week in Canada documenting the homeless crisis and national housing emergency. He visited a tent city set up by Streams of Justice on Main St. and met with volunteers from the Carnegie Community Action Project. He recommended then that Canada needed a comprehenive housing strategy based on the right to adequate housing.

“The situation in Vancouver is worse now,” said Kothari. “Why is there a housing crisis in a country that is so wealthy? The wealth here is astonishing. I’m quite taken aback that this have been allowed.”

“Canada needs to embark on building social housing on a large scale. You can’t get over the crisis without this,” he said. Kothari said that the city’s Task Force on Housing is a “market oriented approach.” “Why are you not taking a
rights based approach?” he asked. He noted that the city’s Housing Task Force is only dealing with housing for people whose incomes are over $21,000 a year and said a task for was needed for people who earn less than that.

Kothari recommended that people who are concerned about the lack of affordable housing work to get the right to housing put into Canadian law and work for a national housing program to build social housing. ~ JS