I am writing with great concern over the current housing situation in Red Deer and Alberta. Rental rates seem to ebb and flow with the vacancy rate, and with house prices rising and the difficulties of purchasing a home for first time buyers the vacancy rate is at about three percent.
The average price for a bachelor suite is around $600 and you would be incredibly lucky to get a one bedroom for $700.
In order for me to pay for rent and live comfortably within my means I will have to make about $2,100 a month, and currently that means I will have to work a second job.
That is alright for me. I live alone, I am single and have no one to support. But what about everybody else? Not every one has the ability to work 60 hour weeks or the skills and education to make a few bucks more.
When the vacancy rate drops, the people who can’t find a place are the people that most need it. Single parents with children, new immigrants, and single older men and women who may have an illness or disability and are limited to work at less than fifteen bucks an hour.
The minimum wage at 40 hours a week comes to around $1,200 if you subtract taxes. How can anyone live on that and be secure?
Yes, there is low income housing, and there are subsidies and government aid — if you know the system. But there are other solutions that could save us money later.
Quite simple, build more multi-family and apartment style units that are exclusive to renters. Give builders tax breaks and grants to build these. Consider building secondary suites in older homes and make it optional in newer homes.
If you really think about it, it will save us a bundle of money later.