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Housing Matters

Image © used with permission.

By Sean Condon

Sunday October 15, 2006

So Suck Back Your Own Cum
After making drastic cuts to affordable housing when they first came into power in 2001, the BC Liberals unveiled a long-awaited housing strategy earlier this month that is the equivalent of a snowball kiss – sure, it’s great to get a blowjob, but then you have to suck back your own cum.
Dubbed “Housing Matters BC,” Housing Minister Rich Coleman announced that the province will spend $40 million a year on giving a select portion of poor families a small subsidy to help them pay their rent. While the plan does give some much needed support to working families, it does nothing to address the bigger problems of an out-of-control housing market and desperate lack of social housing.

“We’re pleased that there is a housing strategy at all – it’s better than nothing – but we do feel the strategy is short-sighted,” says Alice Sunberg, executive director of the BC Non-Profit Housing Association. “Without more housing actually available for low-income families, the problem is only getting worse.”
Vancouver’s homeless population has doubled over the past three years and the Pivot Legal Society predicts it will triple by 2010 as low-income rental stock continues to disappear at a rapid pace and rents continue to soar. Although the rent subsidies are expected to help roughly 15,000 families in the province by giving them anywhere from one dollar (seriously) to $300 a month, its impact is diluted in an economic fuckhole like Vancouver.

According to the province’s figures, a family of three in Vancouver earning $10,000 will get $287 a month. A family of three in Vancouver earning just $10,000? What kind of place do you think they’re going to get, even with the subsidy?

But aside from giving out some bus change, the program doesn’t actually help most of the people that need assistance. In order to qualify for the program, you need have a kid under 19, an annual income under $20,000, have less than $10,000 in assets, have filed a tax return, and have lived in BC a full year. You can’t qualify if you’re on welfare, live in subsidized housing or a co-op, don’t have a bank account, or are a new immigrant. In other words: not you, asshole.

On top of this, there’s plenty of evidence that shows rent supplements in a low vacancy-rate/high-rent market can actually do more harm than good. According to a 2002 study by New York University, rent supplements raised rents in Ontario by 16 per cent because they pour more money into the market and unscrupulous landlords can jack up rents whenever someone moves out. Vancouver has a vacancy rate of 0.7 per cent, and an average one-bedroom is $837 a month and $1,192 for a two bedroom. With $40 million about to be poured into rents, landlords are rubbing their assholes silly.

Martha Lewis, executive director of the Tenants Rights Action Coalition, says rent supplements can work, but only if they’re incorporated into a broader strategy that includes increasing social housing and raising welfare rates. As part of the housing strategy, Coleman announced the province will build 450 units over the next 35 years. Considering the province’s own studies show that it needs to build over 3,000 units of social housing a year just to keep pace, consider this another snowball kiss.

As Solicitor General, Coleman (a former RCMP officer) took on petty crime, but did nothing to address the massive corruption within the province’s police forces. As Housing Minister, Coleman (also a former real estate developer) is now handing out some petty cash for some poor families to put directly into landlords’ pockets, but is doing nothing to address Vancouver’s affordable housing crisis. Coleman may be sucking a little cock with his Housing Matters strategy, but he’s just spraying our own cum back in our face as he jerks off the landlords.