Mr. Speaker, the city of Winnipeg has a rental housing shortage and a 1% rental vacancy rate. Families are struggling to find safe housing in stable neighbourhoods, yet in my riding approximately 126 military houses stand empty at the former Kapyong military barracks.
Despite representations by coalitions of community and church groups, the houses remain empty and have been empty for years. The houses are victim to bureaucratic and legal gymnastics, as they are the property of the defence department and awaiting transfer to the Canada Lands Company.
Inflexible government regulations prevent the community from having access to these potential homes. At last inquiry, the cost to the taxpayer of maintaining the empty houses is over $225,000 annually.
Repeated requests to the government members in Winnipeg have come up empty. Discussions with the Department of National Defence have drawn a blank.
A short term solution for the use of these houses is urgent. Winnipeg families in need of housing deserve no less.