Earlierthis week, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance released its recommendations after pre-budget consultations across Canada. I was invited to appear in front of the committee earlier in the fall as an expert witness on housing and homelessness on behalf of the Wellesley Institute.
The committee has accepted the key messages from housing and homelessness advocates (that the federal homelessness and housing rehab programs should be extended and that the federal, provincial and territorial governments need to develop a national housing strategy) in their recommendations. While there is no guarantee that committee recommendations will make their way into the next federal budget (expected in February), there is a higher probability given the current minority Parliament.
There is also a fairly extensive commentary section on housing.
Here are the mainrecommendations on housing:
In the Committee’s view, housing insecurity ” which we interpret to mean housing that is not appropriate and/or not affordable ” can jeopardize the health, education and social development of Canadians. It also limits their productivity in society. We believe that greater efforts are needed with respect to affordable housing, both generally and particularly with respect to the housing deficiencies experienced by Aboriginal Canadians and low-income families. From this perspective, the Committee recommends that:
The federal government, on a priority basis, extend the Supporting Communities Partnership Initiative and the Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program.
Moreover, the government should ” in conjunction with the provincial/territorial governments ” develop a national housing strategy and, on a priority basis, take action in order to ensure that the housing needs of Aboriginal Canadians and low-income families are met.”
The full committee report is posted here.