Editorial: Something missing from affordable housing announcement – Langley

When the provincial government announced half-a-billion dollars in funding for affordable housing this week, the press release posted on the BC Housing website came with a colourful interactive map that allowed viewers to zoom in to different parts of the province to see exactly where the 68 projects and 2,900 units will be going.

Pointers marking Vancouver Island sites were coloured blue, the interior was orange and Metro Vancouver was magenta.

Rotating the mouse wheel reveals a lot of magenta in Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond and Surrey, but in the Langleys, there are no projects to flag. The omission, though perhaps understandable, was disappointing, especially for the City, which has a definite need.

Per capita, Langley City has one of the largest supplies of housing for low- to moderate-income renters in the Lower Mainland.

Statistics from BC Housing show the City has 783 social housing units, which represent 6.9 per cent of the total housing inventory, the third-highest proportion of social housing units in any Metro Vancouver municipality after Vancouver and Burnaby.

The City also has an estimated 4,000 rental housing units, representing 35 per cent of the total housing stock, the fourth highest proportion of rental housing in Metro.

Because the City has more resources than most other municipalities, it may have been left off the list for new facilities as a result.

But most of those housing units are decades-old and nearing the end of their life cycle.

Mayor Ted Schaffer told the Times he would have liked to have seen some money spent on fixing those units up or, even better, replacing them with more modern facilities.

The housing announcement also mentioned some of the new facilities would include addiction resources, mental-health workers and social workers would be added.

That, too, is something Langley could have used. The City has been lobbying for a Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) outreach team for a some time now, arguing one is needed to help the poorest of the poor.

Hopefully, something can be worked out.