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Housing concerns rising in BC cities: poll

British Columbians are growing more worried about housing and homelessness, according to results of a poll to be released tomorrow by the Columbia Institute: 16 per cent named housing and homelessness as the most important problem facing their community, up from 14 per cent last year.

"These numbers show a rising concern about housing and homelessness in communities across B.C.," said Columbia Institute executive director Charley Beresford. "They are a call to action."

Crime and transportation remained top concerns, according to the annual poll, while health care fell behind shelter issues.

The Columbia Institute asked 606 B.C. residents, “What is the most important problem facing your community?”

Replies varied by region:

Homelessness was ranked as the top problem by residents of Vancouver and Victoria.

Transportation was named first by residents of the Lower Mainland’s sprawling suburbs.

Unemployment was pegged as the most pressing issue across the rest of the province.

The poll also shows a decline in public willingness to pay for action on global warming.

Only 56 per cent of the B.C. residents polled this summer agreed with the statement, “My local government should take strong action on global warming, even it if means I have to pay higher taxes.”

That’s down from 65 per cent who agreed with the same statement last summer. This year’s poll was conducted in late June and early July, about the same time B.C.’s new carbon tax took effect. (Gas prices also moved from 22nd to 8th in the poll.)

B.C. residents who lived in Vancouver or the Southern Interior were somewhat more likely to agree with the global warming question; while those who live in the north were somewhat less likely.

The Columbia poll has a predicted margin of error of plus-or-minus 4 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Monte Paulsen is editor of The Hook.

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