Re: "Council unmoved on funding through extra-density housing," Nov. 11.
While I commend Victoria city council for reversing the ill-considered decision to cut $100,000 from the Victoria Housing Fund, the comments by Coun. Lisa Helps in the article are disturbing to me as a citizen and taxpayer.
Firstly, public funding for affordable housing is not a "subsidy." Ensuring that all people have access to safe and secure housing is a basic function of government at all levels. Any civilized society would view this service as a basic human right.
It is inexcusable that we continue to see so many of our residents without adequate housing in a wealthy city like Victoria. In addition, support for housing services is a wise investment of taxpayer dollars. Funding for extra health care and police services required to deal with homelessness is far more expensive to taxpayers than supporting affordable housing.
Secondly, city government is not a "business" that makes a "profit." We pay taxes to allow the city to provide core public services like housing, transportation and parks, and we count on those services to be there, year in and year out. Businesses can simply close facilities and discontinue product lines when revenues decline; a city that provides essential services cannot be run in this manner.
The city faces serious budget challenges. If council listens to Victoria taxpayers as it deals with those challenges, they will put affordable housing at the top of the list of essential city services, to be funded with taxpayer dollars.
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