Housing Inequity and the Urgency of the Affordability Crisis
November 22, 2023
By Kate D., Senior Manager of Housing Programs | Calgary Drop-In Centre
We are in the middle of a housing crisis and housing inequity is increasing. We are sounding alarms, showing up at City Hall, writing letters to all levels of government, and yet we are still getting an increasing number of referrals from Calgarians without stable permanent housing. At the Calgary Drop-In Centre, we consistently see people experiencing sky-high rents and inhumane living conditions and 14-day eviction notices for non-payment of rent.
My name is Kate, and I am the Senior Manager of Housing Programs at the DI. My 11-year tenure. I have seen floods, a pandemic, a toxic drug supply, and now a housing crisis. While my team works diligently within the DI and the community to find safe and sustainable housing for a diverse population, or to keep them in their current housing, it is not lost on me that people are getting left behind. More and more individuals are stuck in chronic homelessness because we simply cannot keep up with the demand.
Affordable housing isn’t enough. Equitable housing means that regardless of your substance use, tax bracket, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, you are worthy and deserving of housing. Full stop. This does not mean you sit on a multi-year waitlist while you are further traumatized in shelter, or forced to stay with an abusive partner because the only other options are shelter or the streets.
While we took the ‘W’ at City Council in September with the passing of a comprehensive housing strategy and the recent announcement of 228-million-dollar Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF) through the Federal Government, our work must continue.
With affordable housing units promised in the future, we continue to see Calgarians shoulder the burden of an unaffordable and near impossible rental market now. Marginalized Calgarians are the ones that this crisis is hitting the hardest. We are offering them a space in shelter that will keep them warm overnight but is not meant to call home.
What is available for low-income Calgarians is a small room that you would be hesitant to take off your shoes in, living with strangers, and rent that leaves you unable to buy food for yourself at the end of the month (not to mention long wait times to access food resources). We cannot allow this to be the new normal and must continue working with every level of government to demand basic housing equity for all.
While what brings people to our doors is complex, someone’s basic human right to safe and affordable housing is not.
Engage in your community! There are plenty of organizations in our city that work tirelessly to address poverty and affordability in Calgary:
Kate D. (she/her) is a fierce advocate for unhoused neighbours and is passionate about improving all Calgarians access to self-determination and the right to safe and affordable housing. Kate is originally from Treaty 6 territory but now calls Treaty 7 home. While not doing advocacy work, Kate spends her time raising a good human.
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