by Letters to the editor on Monday March 06 2023
To The Editor:
On the subject of homelessness, which Nelson, and all Canada, must do something about, my public comments have blamed this sad situation on the consequences of capitalist values (the drive to maximize profit) ruling our market. However, some research has made me reconsider.
There's a severe mis-fit between supply and demand.
How did this happen?
Lack of housing supply has been revealed by several studies to be due to government intervention in the market with regulations to make new developments of housing very difficult and too costly.
Affluent people (a minority) who say they want homelessness resolved, with a generally-liberal attitude, also want to "preserve the character of the neighborhood." That turns out to be code for, "I do not want new housing in my neighbourhood."
The extra people and denser buildings, streets, noise, and concrete that new housing brings are undesirable; I sympathize. I dislike density on principle. I like quality: green spaces, quiet, and good air.
Politicians have responded to the affluent minority — who are well-organized during elections — and have heavily regulated new construction.
When the wishes of the already-comfortably-housed, happy with their present home neighbourhood, oppose the more-urgent need of so many people for future homes they can afford, should the minority prevail?
Surely the answer is NO.
This has become a political-regulation issue, not a capitalist-economic one.
Charles Jeanes, Nelson, BC