Last week's announcement of a new CEO for BC Housing has raised concerns among those who have long been advocating for change in the way our province addresses housing issues.
This “new” CEO came from inside BC Housing, having served as the interim CEO after the sudden departure of the previous chief executive in August 2022.
While the appointment of someone from within the organization may bring stability and familiarity, it is a missed opportunity to bring in the fresh perspective needed to overhaul the company's approach to affordable housing.
BC Housing has experienced a mass exodus of employees and a damning audit that flagged money was not tracked or accounted for properly, in addition to the chronic under performance of the company. A complete overhaul of inefficiencies, nepotism, and bad policy decisions was needed.
BC Housing was in desperate need for transformation. Introducing a CEO from outside the organization has proven to be a successful strategy for many companies seeking to reinvent themselves and drive positive change.
External candidates bring a wealth of diverse experiences and ideas that can challenge long-standing assumptions and inspire innovation. They often possess a unique ability to view the organization objectively, identifying inefficiencies and opportunities for improvement that may have gone unnoticed by insiders.
In the case of BC Housing, an external CEO could have been the catalyst needed to revolutionize the organization's approach to affordable housing and truly make a difference in the lives of British Columbians.
BC Housing has a history of building and buying properties at costs that far exceed the market value.
These extravagant expenses, funded by taxpayers, have done little to address the actual housing crisis that so many British Columbians face.
We need BC Housing to prioritize cost-effective solutions and maximizes the impact of every dollar spent.
The government announced a housing plan in 2018 that was to deliver 114,000 affordable homes to B.C. in 10 years. That has not been a promise it kept, having delivered only 11% of the homes promised homes in year six of 10. That promise disappeared from this year’s budget and the relaunch of the new housing plan.
Our need for affordable housing in British Columbia has reached a boiling point. With skyrocketing rental prices and an ever-increasing number of residents facing homelessness, it is clear the status quo is simply not working. The housing crisis affects every corner of our province, including Kelowna and demands a strategic and well-coordinated response that truly addresses the diverse needs of our population.
We must focus on fresh and common sense approaches to delivering affordable housing, and this requires the leadership of someone who can bring new ideas and energy to the table. By appointing an insider as the new CEO, we risk perpetuating the same failed strategies that have characterized BC Housing's efforts for years.
As the MLA for Kelowna Mission, I have witnessed firsthand the struggles of families and individuals who are desperate for safe, affordable homes.
In opposition, I advocate for change and insist BC Housing be a driving force in solving this crisis. For BC Housing to truly transform and become the catalyst for change that our province desperately needs, we must begin by bringing in new leadership with a fresh perspective. Only then can we hope to effectively address the pressing housing crisis and build a future where every British Columbian has access to a safe and affordable place to call home.
We can’t afford more of the same from the government and BC Housing.
My question to you is this:
Do you think that BC Housing is succeeding in delivering affordable houses?
I love hearing from you and read every email that I get. Please email me at [email protected] or call my office at 250-712-3620.
Renee Merrifield is the BC United MLA for Kelowna Mission.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.