A Guaranteed Annual Income (GAI) is the answer to Homelessness in BC
A Guaranteed Annual Income (GAI) is the answer to Homelessness in B.C. and Vancouver Island, says Vancouver Island Party (VIP) MLA Candidate for Nanaimo, Dr. Robin Richardson
“Vancouver Island has a disproportionate number of homeless in B.C. The VanIsle homeless (1,884) represents 24.6% of the B.C. homeless (7,655), whereas VanIsle’s population (about 800,000) is nearly 17% of the population of B.C.
Child poverty in BC is also the highest in Canada (1 out of 5), while Greater Victoria is even higher (1 out of 4). Nanaimo may be even worse.
I have studied the Guaranteed Annual Income (GAI) answer to poverty and homelessness since I was a graduate student at Harvard University in my doctoral studies in economics in the late 1960’s.
One of the outcomes of various GAI projects worldwide is that a GAI, set at the right level, will stimulate builders to build affordable housing.
The Vancouver Island Party (VIP) has proposed to the NDP Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, the Honourable Shane Simpson, that the NDP Government introduce a 3-city 3-year pilot project for a GAI for B.C. We are convinced that he will do so before or in the next provincial budget.
Our recommendation is that the City of Nanaimo be the pilot city for Vancouver Island.
Our VIP recommendations for a Nanaimo GAI pilot project are:
Everyone with 6 months residency in Nanaimo.
$18,000 per year, payable $1,500 per month, in $750 instalments on the 1st and 15th of the month.
Indexed by the cost of living in Nanaimo.
Payments go to everyone, but because the rich would be paying more taxes, they would not be getting as much benefit from the GAI program as low-income people who need the help. It is a more meaningful program than tax credits, which the poor cannot use.
The NDP Government has the opportunity to introduce a truly workable and proven solution for a comprehensive and affordable poverty reduction strategy, including a solution for providing affordable homes for the homeless. The need is great and the timing is right.
If I am elected VIP MLA for Nanaimo in January and hold the balance of power in the BC Legislature for 3 years, I pledge to demand that Nanaimo residents be the recipients in the next provincial budget of a guaranteed annual income (GAI) for the next three years.”
PO Box 126 – 1142 Woss Lake Road
Nanaimo. BC V9R 6X7