Vision Vancouver by-election candidate Diego Cardona today released his four-point plan to help Vancouver renters, putting forward specific ideas that can help Vancouver renters right away and are supported by Mayor Gregor Robertson.
If elected to City Council on October 14th, Diego Cardona will champion:
1. Putting the first $500,000 in excess revenue from the empty homes tax towards the Vancouver Rent Bank, which helps renters in crisis and prevents homelessness.
2. Creating a ‘Renters’ Advocate’ at City Hall. This position would be the City's point person when dealing with the Residential Tenancy Branch, and help support renters when dealing with illegal evictions. Many renters often come to the City to seek information to help build their case when challenging illegal evictions at the RTB, and the Renters’ Advocate would help them in their efforts.
3. Advocating for more pet-friendly rental housing. Vancouver needs more housing that is accessible for renters with pets, which is an important issue in particular for seniors, who often deal with social isolation. The SPCA estimates that roughly 45% of cases in Vancouver where pets are given up involve rental housing. Diego will champion more pet friendly homes in City-led developments as well as advocating for new private rental buildings to include a percentage of pet friendly units.
4. Diego will support Vision’s advocacy to the BC government and will continue to stand up for renters by working to stop unfair evictions, go after bad landlords, and make life easier for renters with measures like closing the fixed-term lease loophole in the Residential Tenancy Act.
“This byelection is an opportunity to elect a new voice that represents a younger, more diverse Vancouver,” said Cardona. “I know first-hand the challenges that young people renting in Vancouver face and I'm putting forward ideas that can help make a difference for renters right away.”
“The NPA opposed Mayor Robertson's empty homes tax and they have consistently opposed new rental housing in Vancouver. The NPA are out of touch with the challenges that Vancouver renters face and we can't risk them getting elected on October 14th.”
Mayor Gregor Robertson supports Diego Cardona’s renter policies, saying “we need Diego's voice on City Council as we take action to address our housing crisis. Using the Empty Homes Tax to support the rent bank and creating a renters’ advocate position are two good ideas - and Diego is a fresh new voice who can help champion them at city council.”
Diego Cardona is the spokesperson for the Vancouver Foundation’s Fresh Voices initiative, a youth-led group of immigrants and refugees making British Columbia a better place for young newcomers. He also works in his community as the Programs Coordinator for Kiwassa Neighbourhood House where he manages services for marginalized youth, Indigenous youth, and young mothers. He has also worked with the Federation of BC Youth in Care Networks, the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition, and Immigrant Services Society of BC. In 2016, he was named one of BC’s Top 10 under 20 by the Globe and Mail.
Originally a refugee who came to Canada in 2005 from Colombia, he and his sister spent time in BC's foster care system. Today he is a proud Canadian citizen and is recognized as a leader nationally on refugee and immigration issues.