A picture of the 19 Wing Comox Barracks on a sunny day.

Photo Credit: LocationHub

They Signed Up To Serve Their Country, Now They Have Nowhere To Live

Housing crisis isn't showing service members any mercy

What happens when you’re forced to move, but there’s nowhere to live?

Our housing crisis truly takes no prisoners, even military ones.

The Canadian Press just published statistics on the number of military personnel who are waiting on housing this summer. Canada-wide, there are 4,500.

The waiting list runs almost to 700 names just at the CFB Esquimalt base.

Comox was another place on the list with a huge lineup.

There’s simply not near enough houses on VanIsle for everyone who needs one. Or condos. Or apartments. The number of service members living in limbo drives the problem home.

Last November, one of the barracks buildings in Comox blew up. It’s suspected that renovation crews hit a gas line. That probably didn’t help the housing matter.

A local base commander at Esquimalt has started letting new sailors live in their training quarters for months after their training is done.

Jeffrey Hutchinson is a navy Captain. “Something that I have done out of empathy and concern for the position that our junior sailors find themselves in is to absorb those sailors into what is meant to be training and operational accommodations,” he told The Candian Press.

At 19 Wing Comox, Armed Forces members were told to reach out to Habitat for Humanity if they needed help finding housing.

That’s one way to honour our troops.

Five years ago, the Canadian Forces Housing Agency proposed to build 1,300 new units over the next 10 years.

But in the last five years, they’ve only built 132. In all of Canada.

The search for affordable housing isn’t unique to members of the Canadian Armed Forces. Service members are often forced to live in certain communities and relocate as needed. For a lot of folks, that is once a year or more.

So what will finally sway housing prices and demand back in all of our favours?

In an interview with the Canadian Press, real estate consultant Ben Myers said “the pendulum will swing back when rents become so high and home prices so low that it makes more sense to buy than to rent.”

At least rent is definitely getting higher.

There are ways to solve the housing crisis. It looks like even folks who took the stable, steady route of military service could use them.