December 1, 2015


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Strong real estate market, funding cuts mean fewer infill and low-income housing projects

The fix isn't in

WINNIPEG has a glut of old and poor-quality housing, says Jino Distasio, director of the Institute of Urban Studies at the University of Winnipeg.

The 2006 census shows 42 per cent of the city's housing stock was built before 1945. That represents about 10,000 units. In Vancouver, it's 16 per cent; in Montreal, it's 26 per cent. Winnipeg also has about 24,000 units deemed to be in major need of repair.

"For some reason, we're not keeping up with recycling that stock and replacing it with new," Distasio said. "This ring of old housing is causing us some challenges because the upkeep is more substantial."

The quality of that older housing stock, especially low-income rental properties, will continue to decline as public funding to renovate them also declines.

Addressing it will take a combination of government, non-profit groups and private investment, he said.

"It's a segment of the market that we have to invest in for the social good of the city," Distasio said.

"You can't say the market is through the roof and not make some investments. If the market is humming and property assessments are through the roof, well then we've got to reinvest some of those dollars in renovation and repairs for those units most in need of support."

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