Homelessness Partnering Strategy renewed, but faced with major cutbacks: Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet

OTTAWA — After sitting on the fence for months on the question of renewing the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS), the Conservative government is refusing to give straight answers to complex questions and reducing funding, said New Democrats.

Annual funding will be cut from $134.8 to $119 million, which means that many community groups that already lack the means to meet the needs now face decreased funding to fight homelessness. 

“I won’t pretend to be surprised by the budget content. I won’t pretend to have believed for one minute that housing and homelessness are priority issues for the Conservatives,” said Boutin-Sweet (Hochelaga).

As far as funding for social housing is concerned, the government reduced CMHC’s budget by $23.3 million and that’s just this year. “Once again, not only has the government confirmed its disengagement from social housing, but it’s doing it on the backs of society’s less fortunate,” added Boutin-Sweet.

The HPS’s approach makes “housing a priority”, following the path set by the  At Home project. “The results are encouraging, but we have to be careful not to reduce homelessness to a housing issue: drug use, mental health and narco prostitution must be taken into account. We must prevent organizations that do not fall under the government’s priorities from losing their subsidies, because their work is vital.”