Editorial: New Habitat housing good news for Cowichan Valley affordable housing problem

House prices have skyrocketed in the last five years

The Cowichan Valley, along with much of the rest of Vancouver Island, and indeed, all of Canada, has an affordable housing problem.

There’s not enough of it.

House prices have skyrocketed in the last five years, some of it driven by people escaping even more unaffordable markets like Vancouver, Victoria and Toronto, some of it driven by how awesome the Cowichan Valley is.

Work wages have in no way kept up with this steep escalation in housing prices, leaving people unable to get mortgages. At the same time, rental costs have also risen dramatically, and there’s a distinct shortage of available inventory, and an even more distinct shortage of good quality rentals.

That’s why it was really great news to be able to report in Wednesday’s edition of the Citizen that Habitat for Humanity is now taking applications for one half of a duplex and a sixplex in the Cowichan Valley. These are seven new homes available for people who wouldn’t normally be able to afford home ownership.

Having a stable home can make all the difference for people, whether they are families with young children and pets, adults or seniors. Having a roof over your head that you can call your own is a dream that many share, and one that has steadily risen out of reach of far too many hardworking folks.

Habitat for Humanity is a great program, allowing families to avoid a downpayment and owe only an interest-free mortgage. Most will find this is significantly cheaper than renting, especially if people have been unable to find a stable arrangement and have had the added financial burden of having to move multiple times from one rental to another. Successful applicants must also put their own sweat equity into the home, which further cements a feeling of ownership and value.

It give people dignity and hope, along with a place to live. We can only hope that this is just the start of more such projects in the Cowichan Valley.

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