IN THIS WEEK’S ISSUE

Finding an affordable place to live in St. Catharines and throughout the Niagara region has gotten much harder

@ South Asia Journal Desk
Finding an affordable place to live in St. Catharines and throughout the Niagara region has gotten much harder — but Leader of the Official Opposition New Democrats Andrea Horwath says her housing platform will help young workers and families afford the life they’re working for.
“Parents are worried their kids won’t be able to afford to stay in St. Catharines, buy a home and settle in, like they did,” said Horwath. “There are young people putting off growing their family because they can’t afford a bigger place. There are born-and-raised Niagara-region workers leaving because they can’t find a home in their price-range. It’s heartbreaking.
“The NDP has a plan that offers concrete solutions. It’ll help you afford the life you’re working hard for.”
In St. Catharines, the median sale price jumped more than 28 per cent between June 2020 and June 2021. In Welland, that jump was 35 per cent, and in Niagara Falls the median price jumped more than a whopping 38 per cent in just one year.
Horwath and the NDP’s comprehensive platform for housing includes down payment help for first-time homeowners. The Homes in Ontario Program would give home buyers an equity loan of up to 10 per cent of the purchase price of their first home to help cover the cost of the down payment. That doesn’t need to be repaid until the owner chooses to, sells or moves.
The plan also increases the Non Resident Speculation Tax to 20 per cent and applies it province-wide; regulates short-term rentals; and closes loopholes that let wealthy speculators off the hook. Altogether, that will leave more of the homes in Niagara for people who live in Niagara.
Horwath’s Homes You Can Afford platform also builds 69,000 new affordable homes, better protects tenants from poor living conditions, and helps 311,000 households pay their rent. Supporting tenants rights is critical, said Horwath, who recalled stories of St. Catharines renters receiving eviction notices for supposedly being just a few pennies short on their rent.
“The housing situation has been getting further and further out of control in this region. We want our sons and daughters to be able to move out of the basement, and not be forced to move out of the city,” said NDP MPP Jennie Stevens (St. Catharines). “Doug Ford is planning to let Core gobble up homes here — and that’s going to drive up housing prices even more. And Steven Del Duca isn’t the answer. After 15 years in power, his government left speculators and investors rolling in money, and young families without much hope. People deserve better – and with our plan, there’s so much more hope.”

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