Regina is facing a crisis in housing. Our collective vacancy rate for rental units, is only .6%, while our target is 3%. So we need five times as many rental units available!
RCI interviewed FCM President Karen Leibovici regarding the building crisis in our country, which we are already experiencing to some degree in Regina, and here in Ward 1 too.
FCM presents three potential solutions to stimulate building of rental property, and to limit demolition and conversion of existing property to condominiums (which further exacerbates the problem).
Most important of the three suggestions, I believe, is the idea to renovate existing property to become energy-efficient. Tenants will be faced with increasing utility costs in the coming years, and this will go directly to the affordability of their homes. Renters have no way of replacing light fixtures, appliances, or other major draws on electricity and temperature control, without landlord assistance. Landlords need incentive/rebate programs from government to stimulate these productive efficiency changes.
We should first start rolling out the solutions tried in other municipalities that seem to be turning the tide. While we do that, we must continue to talk about the problem of low rental vacancy, to evaluate our position, action, and our expected progress. Our city slipped on that front, and it’s left us with a crisis that has left people homeless, without savings, and/or in unsuitable living conditions. We can change that.