One story this week had the headline, “Saskatoon Firmly a Home Buyer’s Market”. Housing sales dropped by 19% in September from one year ago while inventory is much higher than the 5-year average. Another story quotes the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation saying Canadian homes remain overvalued as prices climbed while disposable incomes dipped in every province except B.C. CMHC says in Saskatoon it sees moderate evidence of overvaluation and strong evidence of overbuilding. Yet another story talks about how housing problems continue in Saskatoon for the working poor and those on social assistance.
Now there is a real disconnect in my mind when it comes to providing one of the most basic human needs, namely shelter from the elements. We have an abundance of land; we have an abundance of electricity, natural gas, and materials from which to build houses. If we truly are a caring and compassionate society like we tell ourselves we are, why do low income people have to flirt with homelessness or else pay exorbitant rents to money-grubbing slum landlords for dumps unfit for human habitation, some with no heat or running water but plenty of rats and cockroaches? We pay taxes to three levels of government but said governments continue to prove incompetent at solving this problem. I wish more of my taxes would go towards providing affordable housing for poor families who don’t require granite and quartz and in-floor heating, as well as for inspecting and clamping down on greedy slum landlords. But I know that if wishes were horses all beggars would ride.