"One common way of judging whether housing's price is in line with its fundamental value is to consider the ratio of housing prices to rents. This is analogous to the ratio of prices to dividends for stocks" - Janet Yellen
"You can spend the money on new housing for poor people and the homeless, or you can spend it on a football stadium or a golf course" - Jello Biafra
A few weeks ago, I attended a really fascinating talk at ACAD given by the Calgary organization d.Talks, titled “Let’s talk about … home”. The focus was on the affordability of home, and there was a panel of 4 people from different areas of Calgary who all had a unique perspective on housing and affordability. The panelists included: Sarah Arthurs, from Prairie Sky Cohousing; Andre Chabot, Calgary ward 10 Councillor; Joe Starkman, of Knightsbridge Homes in Calgary. Kim O’Brien of Horizon Housing was the moderator. It was a very informative evening, and as this was my first time to one of their events, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect.
Aside from the panelists, there was a short talk given by the CEO of the Calgary Public Library, Bill Ptacek. His perspective was completely unexpected, I mean, what does a man from the top management of the public library have to do with housing issues? Well, he told us that at any branch of the CPL, he and his staff have observed individuals and families come and go from the library on a daily basis, arriving early in the morning and leaving at closing … for these folks in Calgary are homeless and have no where else to go during the day. He wanted to share his daily observation and say that Calgary, despite the paranormal real estate activity in the last few years, does have a housing issue.
Furthermore, I learned that on any given night, there are close to 3500 Calgarians who are homeless. According to O’Brien, the stories that people tell about their experiences on the street or in their community: that homes are not just spaces, they save lives. Moreover, the take away for the evening was to further think about and be mindful about affordable housing and what it means to all of us in Calgary:
- Affordable to whom?
- Who holds the responsibility?
- Does Calgary have an affordability issue?
Later that week and excited about having met a really cool group that is open to all designers, urban planners, architects, citizens, community members, and others alike, I decided to join the d.Talks organization as an individual realtor. I am thoroughly looking forward to the next event on November 25th, an event titled, “Building Iconomy: possibilities of a West Coast Modern Building”. For more information about d.Talks, visit their website: www.dtalks.org.