Kelowna-Mission MLA, Renee Merrifield (File photo)

Kelowna-Mission MLA, Renee Merrifield (File photo)

Kelowna-Mission MLA Renee Merrifield calling for action on affordable housing

‘Having housing affordability allows people to spend on better food choices and healthy living’

Kelowna-Mission MLA Renee Merrifield is calling for more action from the provincial government to address the housing affordability crisis in Kelowna and throughout B.C.

Speaking in the Legislature this week (Feb. 22) Merrifield stated she doesn’t believe the NDP government understands how important the issue is or how dramatically it affects British Colombians.

“I believe that if they did, we wouldn’t be in this situation with the highest recorded rental rates and housing costs in recorded history,” said Merrifield.

She told other MLAs not being able to afford housing puts tremendous strain on people leading to poor performance in jobs and greater instability. She went on to add that having to find housing further from places of employment also creates less time with family and friends, resulting in a negative impact on the environment with pollution, cost of infrastructure and traffic congestion. Merrifield said there are better health outcomes for those that have stable, attainable homes, including less physical and mental stress.

“Having housing affordability allows people to spend on better food choices and healthy living,” she said. “Once people are caught in a cycle, many are not able to get themselves out of this cycle and this can have catastrophic outcomes in life.”

Read More: Over-heated Okanagan housing market not cooling off

Merrifield also pointed out rental and ownership opportunities needed to be available to meet the needs of society.

“There need to be enough housing opportunities to fit all walks of life and demographics. If this government understood that its housing failures were also affecting our health, our kids’ educations, our economy, our environment, surely they would be doing much more to fix it.”

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