Solidarity with “Tent City” in St. John’s: Housing is a universal right!

PV Newfoundland and Labrador Bureau  

The people of the “Tent City” on Confederation Hill in St. John’s are seeking the basic human dignity of permanent, affordable housing.

A big step toward fulfilling this basic need would be for federal and provincial governments to implement housing programs to build one million units of urgently needed publicly owned social housing, with rent capped at 20 percent of household income.

But instead, federal and provincial governments continue to line the pockets of their corporate friends with large tax breaks and other misleading “action plans”. These savings received by private contractors and developers are seldom handed down to renters or homebuyers, who are often charged the same or greater prices than if those homes were publicly built. Additionally, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation is loosening its control of municipal zoning laws, resulting in devastating urban sprawl while enriching developers and landlords over the public interest.

The NL government’s lackluster updated “5 Point Plan” released October 16 demonstrates their complete lack of political understanding of what underpins the housing crisis. As the housing bubble continues to grow while wages stagnate, landlords are squeezing so hard that homelessness is an eventuality for many.

The Communist Party’s Sally & Chuck Davis Club (NL) recently issued a statement reiterating that housing is a right and should not be a “market” at all. “Furthermore, we shame and condemn the NL government for contracting out the scope of work for unionized CUPE Local 1860 maintenance workers at NL Housing,” said the club. “This harms the public system and existing workers ready and proud to do that work. We have the ability to end homelessness and poverty forever, if we put an end to capitalism.”

[Photo: Saltwire]

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