Municipal Leaders Launch New Campaign to Fix Canada's Housing Crunch
October 29th, 2013 - 12:02pm
OTTAWA - The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) announced today that it is launching a campaign that calls on the federal government and all political parties to work with provincial, territorial and municipal leaders, as well as the private sector, to develop a credible long-term housing plan. This comes as new polling numbers were released that show one third of families are struggling to pay for the growing costs of housing.
"Our cities and communities need a stable and secure housing market that creates jobs, attracts new workers, meets the needs of seniors and young families, and keeps our most vulnerable citizens off the streets," said Gregor Robertson, Mayor of Vancouver and Chair of the Big City Mayors Caucus, who launched the campaign on Monday.
FCM members will be taking the campaign, entitled "Fixing Canada's Housing Crunch", to decision makers in Ottawa in the coming months in advance of the 2014 budget. The first step in the process is that communities in every region will be passing a resolution calling for the federal government to take action. Joining Mayor Robertson at the campaign launch were Luc Montreuil, City Councillor for Gatineau, and Ana Bailão, Toronto City Councillor and Toronto's housing campaign lead. Toronto will be the first in the country to put forward the resolution.
The high cost of housing in Canada is the most urgent financial issue facing Canadians today. According to Statistics Canada and the Bank of Canada, rising housing costs have pushed Canadians' personal debts to record levels and are putting Canada's national economy at risk with Canadians carrying more than $1.1 trillion worth of mortgage debt.
A growing number of Canadians are being priced out of the housing market, putting pressure on a crowded rental market and crumbling affordable housing units, and forcing the most vulnerable citizens onto the streets. Compounding these problems is the coming expiry of $1.7 billion annually in federal affordable housing dollars with the greatest drop in funding, $500 million a year, ending between 2014 and 2019. This will put 200,000 units at risk and could lead to a crisis unless all orders of government take action.
"We believe the government's commitment in Budget 2013 to evidence-based solutions such as the Housing First approach for homelessness is a promising start, but they need to back it up with real results and expand that action to other areas of our affordable housing problem. Canada's housing challenges are too big and too complex for any single order of government to solve on its own," added Mayor Robertson.
As part of the campaign, FCM is launching an interactive website at www.fcm.ca/housingcrunch. The site also provides the results to the new housing survey, tools and information that illustrate why Canadians continue to struggle to pay for the costs of shelter.
Housing co-ops echo municipalities' call for credible long-term housing solutions
OTTAWA, Oct. 28, 2013 /CNW/ - The Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada (CHF Canada) endorsed today's launch by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities of a campaign to "Fix Canada's Housing Crunch."
Canada's housing co-ops are keenly aware of the pressing issue of housing affordability, which threatens to become a crisis if federal housing dollars scheduled to expire this decade put 200,000 units of co-op, non-profit and public affordable housing at risk.
"We are very encouraged by the launch of this campaign," said CHF Canada's Director of Corporate Affairs Nick Sidor. "We are calling on all levels of government to protect housing affordability through cost-shared rent supplement programs delivered by the provinces and territories, and by municipalities in Ontario."
The proposal for cost-shared rent supplements is outlined in CHF Canada's recommendations for Budget 2014. This would build on the renewals in Budget 2013 of the Affordable Housing Initiative and the Homelessness Partnering Strategy with a new focus on 'Housing First.'
Last week's creation of a Conservative Party housing caucus provides a new platform for dialogue with government MPs on this issue.
For information on CHF Canada's campaign to protect affordability for low-income Canadians that live in affordable co-op, non-profit and public housing projects go to: www.chfcanada.coop/eoa.
CHF Canada is the national voice of the Canadian co-operative housing movement. Its members include over 900 non-profit housing co-operatives and other organizations across Canada. More than a quarter of a million Canadians live in housing co-ops, in every province and territory.
Conservatives turning their backs on affordable housing
The NDP has joined the Federation of Canadian Municipalities in urging the Conservatives to invest in long-term funding for affordable and social housing and renew long-standing funding agreements with the CMHC.
“Affordable housing is at a critical point in this country yet Conservatives are turning their backs on Canadians who are struggling to find housing they can afford,” said NDP Infrastructure and Housing critic Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet (Hochelaga). “The NDP knows we can do better and we must do better.”
New Democrats have long called for a national housing strategy and have introduced legislation to ensure the right to adequate, accessible and affordable housing for all Canadians. The Conservatives however, have defeated these initiatives at every turn.
Since the 1970s, the federal government has provided subsidies to help low-income renters. Many of these agreements are now ending for good because the Conservatives decided not to renew them.
“Municipal leaders have bold plans to revitalize neighbourhoods – but they need support from the federal government,” said Boutin-Sweet. “Canadian cities need more affordable housing and they can trust the NDP to make renewing long term funding agreements and working towards ending homelessness a priority.”