Hamilton’s affordable housing crisis is not new. But if you have been following The Spectator’s housing series, which wraps up Oct. 19, you know that, and you also know it has gone from being serious to critical.

The million dollar question is: what can and needs to be done about it?

To start with, we need to understand that the crisis isn’t just about affordable housing. It’s also about what housing represents. Safe and secure housing is a social determinant of health. Lack of it has direct impact on physical and emotional health and stability. Medical, emotional and social outcomes tend to be better — much better — for vulnerable people when they have a safe roof over their head.

Housing is a human right, and should be approached that way. We should no more ignore affordable housing shortages than we would ignore clean water and decent nutrition. We have a collective responsibility to ensure human dignity is respected, and that includes safe and secure housing.