Affordable housing is an intractable problem globally. Housing stress, dwelling prices out-of-step with wages, working poverty, unstable accommodation and severely overcrowded dwellings are just some of the critical problems facing most major cities across the globe. Add to this decades’ long unregulated speculative housing and, in some cases like Australia, a lack of federal government involvement, and these problems are more than exacerbated. With swelling population growth and urban expansion, this is not limited to major cities. Charting the changing geography of poverty in the United States over recent years, where smaller metropolitan areas have grown at double pace, the suburbanisation of poverty accounts for almost half the total national increase.
On a global scale, price points of dwellings are well beyond household means. In Australia, more than 50 per cent of low income residents are spending upwards of 50 per cent on rent while, in the US, more households are renting than at any other time in 50 years, leaving people open to vulnerable and unstable accommodation. Alternately, in the last year, nearly a quarter of Canadians spent more than 30 percent on shelter costs, revealing more people are living in precarious circumstances. In Vancouver alone, the 2018 Homeless Count found more than 2,100 people do not have a home.
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