By: Nathaniel Tok, Peak Associate 

 

Renter anxiety increasing in Metro Vancouver, say SFU researchers

In a step away from the numbers and towards the people involved, SFU researchers Nicholas Blomley, Andy Yan, and Natalia Perez are using data to see how Vancouver’s housing prices crisis is affecting renters. A preliminary study found that anxiety among renters in the Lower Mainland is upwards trending.

The study found that calls made to the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre increased by 7% between 2010 and 2016. The Residential Tenancy Branch’s data revealed that, out of 1,000 renter households, about 66 disputes result in eviction in Maple Ridge, ranking the area as the number one region for “eviction-related disputes.” The average for Metro Vancouver is 32.

The researchers anticipate that the data they have collected is an underestimate to the true number of evictions that occur in the Lower Mainland, as it only covers evictions that were officially disputed.

Blomley interprets this evidence to mean that high housing prices are affecting the rental market in the suburbs and contributing to the “suburbanization of poverty.”

“Eviction-related disputes” was a broad category further broken down and investigated as three sub-categories by the researchers: landlord use, unpaid rent, or cause.

Vancouver had the largest share of disputes over landlords modifying or selling the unit, which results in eviction of the renter. Evictions of this type have doubled from 2013 to 2016.

Unpaid rent, the biggest cause of disputes over eviction, was concentrated as a cause of eviction in Surrey, New Westminster, and Maple Ridge.

‘Cause’ as the reason for eviction accounted for around 14% of all disputes regarding eviction.

Around 60% of applications for eviction were filed by landlords, which researchers believe points to the power-dynamic between landlords and the tenants who rent from them.

 

With files from The Vancouver Sun.

 

SFU researchers find high levels of drug-resistant HIV in Ethiopian children

SFU health sciences researchers Zabrina Brumme, Mark Brockman, Natalie Kinloch, and Bemuluyigza Baraki have collaborated with researchers at the University of Hawassa in Ethiopia to study drug-resistant HIV strains among HIV-infected children in Southern Ethiopia who failed their first treatment therapy for the disease.

The study is the first large-scale survey of drug-resistant HIV in Ethiopia’s 65,000 plus children who live with the virus. The report concluded that 81% of this population is thought to have “resistance mutations” against common therapies that are often used to target HIV infections in the region.

Upon analysis of the data, the study called for more access to viral load monitoring and drug resistance genotyping to look for the genetic mutations in the virus that cause resistance to the treatments. Both of these procedures are part of standard care in first-world countries such as Canada.

Increased access to other types of HIV treatment in poorer socioeconomic areas was also recommended, as effective medical care for HIV-infected children is necessary to improve health outcomes and continue the fight against HIV/AIDS.