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Eby says governments must step up on housing, can't rely on private sector

In a bold stance against the prevailing belief in private sector reliance for affordable housing solutions, British Columbia Premier David Eby is calling for increased government involvement to address the housing crisis. Eby expressed his skepticism about the efficacy of relying on the private sector and emphasized the need for governments to take decisive action.

At the BC Non-profit Housing Association's annual conference, Eby remarked, "It's hard to understand" why some politicians continue to advocate for the private sector's role in delivering affordable housing. Instead, he asserted that it's time for governments to step up and take a more active role in shaping housing policies.

Eby highlighted that while there are federal proposals to sell public land and buildings as a solution to the housing crisis, British Columbia is adopting a different approach. The province is conducting an inventory of provincially and municipally owned land with the aim of using these resources to build more homes. This move signifies a departure from the trend of selling off public assets and reflects a commitment to leveraging public resources for the greater good.

Speaking at the conference, Eby underlined the significant challenges faced by the province, emphasizing that "it does matter who is in government" when it comes to housing. He asserted that his government is well-positioned to tackle the housing crisis, acknowledging the need for a proactive approach.

Eby expressed excitement about the potential for increased federal funding for housing, a topic expected to be addressed in the upcoming budget update. The Premier sees additional financial support as a crucial step in addressing the housing crisis effectively.

In addition to advocating for increased government involvement, Eby touched on recent measures to regulate short-term rentals in the province. He acknowledged that platforms like Airbnb are part of the housing landscape but emphasized the need for tighter rules. Eby shared that, personally, his family uses such platforms. However, he stressed that the status quo cannot continue, especially when vacancy rates are low, and some individuals are treating properties as de facto hotels.

"We can't leave any housing unoccupied," Eby declared, signaling a commitment to maximizing housing resources and ensuring that every available unit contributes to meeting the growing demand.

Premier Eby's statements reflect a growing sentiment among policymakers that bold and direct government intervention is essential to effectively address the housing crisis. As discussions around housing policies intensify, the role of governments in leveraging public assets and resources for affordable housing solutions will likely be a key point of focus.

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