Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition launches RENT campaign

housing construction

In addition to July 11 being the date of the last Richmond City Council meeting on July 11 where the recommendations in Richmond PRC’s submission on non-market housing were approved, the date also marked the official launch of the Richmond Electors Needing Tenancy (R.E.N.T.) campaign. Read the official press release below.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DATE: July 19, 2022

Subject: R.E.N.T. Campaign launched by Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition

(Richmond, BC)

July 11th marked the launch of Richmond Electors Needing Tenancy or ‘R.E.N.T.’ campaign by the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC) with their presentation to City Council.

A delegation of community activists and people with lived experience presented their recommendations to Richmond City Council urging the City to increase the supply of non-market rental housing and to provide annual public reports on their three initiatives.

RPRC president De Whalen presented their submission, which urged the City to:
Actively pursue and secure federal, provincial, and any other accepted sources of funding to develop non-market housing and shelters using City-owned land,
Order a full LEMR (Low End Market Rental) Review, and develop a LEMR Housing Registry and wait list for all LEMR units, AND
Reduce the number of Richmond residents on the BC Housing wait list by 50% within five years (2027) by using rental tenure zoning and innovative partnerships to build sufficient housing for Richmond residents on the waitlist.

Whalen stated, ‘In the past thirty years, 94% of new builds have been condos, townhouses and single-family dwellings. No non-market rental housing has been built in the last five years.’ The submission also noted over 1/3 of Richmond renter households are in ‘core’ housing need where they spend more than half their household income on rent.

RPRC members include 11 local non-profit organizations that represent thousands of Richmond residents receiving services and resources from them. They report that the crucial need for non-market housing overloads their own capacities to respond effectively.

Hajira Hussain from Richmond Food Bank says, ‘We have seen a 19% increase in the need for food bank services and the need continues to grow, mainly due lack of affordable housing. Richmond residents on low incomes are spending their limited food budget on rent forcing them to either skip meals or use the food bank to support themselves and their families.

Lynne Fader from Kehila Society of Richmond reports, ‘Clients are becoming increasingly distressed and the need for vital services and resources are stretched to the limit.’

The RPRC held its’ first roundtable on rental housing at the Food Bank on June 29th. Richmond residents frustrated with the lack of affordable rental housing, have joined the R.E.N.T. campaign and will be involved in educating the public and talking to politicians.

The R.E.N.T. campaign will run until through the civic election on October 15th. The aim of the campaign is to urge sitting councillors and municipal candidates to commit to the RPRC’s three initiatives and to work towards the goal of creating more non-market housing. If you want to get involved, contact info@richmondprc.org.

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