The Government of British Columbia promised in its Throne Speech on Monday that it would be ramping up spending on housing and homelessness – and those words caused a flurry of excitement in Calgary as almost 700 delegates to the national housing and homelessness conference began to gather. After all, on a per capita basis, BC has a bad record among Canadian provinces when it comes to housing spending, according to Statistics Canada.
But the BC Budget delivered later in the day on Tuesday failed to deliver on those housing promises. In fact, the housing spending is slated to shrunk in BC over the next few years, even though housing insecurity and homelessness are deep and persistent in Vancouver, the Lower Mainland and many other parts of the province. The spending estimates for housing are $454 milllion in fiscal 2008; $385.5 million in 2009 (upcoming budget year); $380 million in 2010 and $379.9 in 2011.