Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 25, 2007
Church leaders address housing crisis
A statement by the ecumenical bishops of Alberta on affordable housing for low and middle-income Albertans:
The province of Alberta has arrived at a point where having a roof over one's head is becoming a privilege, rather than what it has always been - a basic human right.
Low and middle-income Albertans, many working two or more jobs, find themselves increasingly unable to purchase a residence. For many, the only option is rental accommodation.
With vacancy rates for rental units at a near all-time low, and with many owners opting to convert rental housing into saleable condominiums, many low and middle-income Albertans are being squeezed out of their homes.
To their credit, the majority of landlords have avoided giving their tenants exorbitant rent increases. But those who find themselves on fixed incomes or low incomes may be forced to choose between housing their families or feeding them. Either choice ends in a failure to provide for the basic necessities of life. That choice - anywhere in Canada, but especially in Alberta - is intolerable.
In a climate of economic boom, with the construction industry pressed to the limit of its productive capacity, building affordable housing for low-income people is not of high priority.
Incentives to build affordable housing need to be put in place, so that the priority to build for lower-income Albertans becomes as viable as any other construction project. This will take the economic and social will of our governments, municipal and provincial, working in partnership with the construction industry, so that everyone profits economically and socially, and all Albertans can live their lives without fear of losing the roof over their heads.
We encourage local and provincial governments to think outside of the box and beyond the bottom line. This is a social situation to be collectively solved, not ignored.
The measure of our humanity, the measure of our society, is what we do to the weakest and most defenceless members of it. We have the means to do better. All we require is the will.
Ecumenical Bishops of Alberta:
Most Rev. Fred Henry
Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 -- Western Catholic Reporter
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.