A Reddit group has united to make an impossible-to-ignore statement against Canada’s housing crisis.
You may have noticed (and maybe had a laugh at) Canada Housing Crisis’ new Toronto billboard.
Located at Queen and Spadina (not coincidentally, in Adam Vaughan’s riding), the bright red billboard reads, “Can’t Afford a Home? Have You Tried Finding Richer Parents?”
According to their Twitter bio, Canada Housing Crisis is a project by 13,800+ members of reddit.com/r/canadahousing who are “mad as hell” about home prices and “fighting to fix this.”
As per the active Reddit page, the community says it's fighting for Canada’s future. “We want common sense housing laws that ensure: transparency, ample housing stock, and sustainable price appreciation,” it reads.
Bold and provocative, the organization isn’t afraid to make its voice heard in its relentless quest to inspire action by everyday citizens and top levels of government. On its website, Canada Housing Crisis asks concerned Canadians to get involved three different ways: join the subreddit, donate to the cause, or email your local MP.
It was through donations that the eye-catching Toronto billboard – and another, just as cheeky, in Ottawa – became a reality. This one reads, “"Homes aren't for you. They're for the rich. You can rent." According to an organizer, Vancouver could be graced with one next. "People want one in Vancouver, which we may do. It's up to the membership," said the anonymous source in an email.
As with everything on Reddit, the group is mostly anonymous. "The mods are just gatekeepers and don't represent the group, they just moderate the content," says the source. "Everything is done through volunteers; we're a leaderless collective."
As for the existing billboards, the group had one member sketch out a bunch of ideas, then members talked over Discord and a handful of other channels. "People suggested tweaks and we incorporated them," they said. "The ad companies rejected some of our more out-there slogans so we had to compromise. One that got rejected was, 'We have enough money to waste on this billboard and still can't afford a home.'"
The hope is that the billboards will contribute to driving home (likely, to rental homes) their crystal-clear message: it’s time for change.
“We've made a ton of noise about this online — on Reddit, Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere,” reads the Canada Housing Crisis GoFundMe page. “Now we're taking that energy into the real world. We're buying some ads. Yes, some real actual advertisements, printed on paper and then released into the wild using billboards, transit space, and mailers.”
While the increasingly out of reach and perpetually dramatic housing market is in a frustrating state, the group remains optimistic that we can fix it.
On its website, Canada Housing Crisis lists things like doubling the minimum down payment on investment properties; ensuring all data on homes, sales, listings, and bids are free and public; making the bidding process transparent; increasing capital gains for investors and speculators; and introducing new taxes for vacancies on short-term rentals.
In terms of next moves, Canada Housing Crisis is about to launch a new site called SpeculationNation.ca. Intended to reveal in no uncertain terms the harm that investors are having on the housing market, the soon-to-launch website will list thousands of flips, speculative buys, and investment properties.
We have a feeling this is just the beginning of the rumble from this potentially game-changing grassroots organization.