Millions of Canadians are precariously housed – and the nation-wide affordable housing crisis is costly to individuals, communities, the economy and government. But will housing get serious attention in the federal election? The Wellesley Institute has prepared a flip sheet so that when federal election candidates ask for your vote, you can ask them about affordable housing.
The Wellesley Institute’s Precarious Housing in Canada 2010 sets out a comprehensive overview of housing and homelessness issues and pragmatic solutions. It includes four major observations:
- Housing insecurity and homelessness remain deep and persistent throughout Canada.
- The nationwide affordable housing crisis is costly to individuals, communities, the economy, and the government.
- Federal housing and homelessness investments have been eroding since 1989.
- Although the federal government has developed a collection of initiatives, Canada does not have a comprehensive
Here are three questions that you can ask federal candidates when they ask for your vote:
WILL YOU SUPPORT BILL C-304 – NATIONAL HOUSING PLAN – WHEN IT IS RE-INTRODUCED IN THE COMMONS IN THE NEXT PARLIAMENTARY SESSION?
Bill C-304 requires the federal government to create a comprehensive national housing plan that meets Canada’s international housing rights obligations during an intensive six-month consultation with provinces, territories, municipalities, Aboriginal organizations, community groups and private sector interests. Bill C-304 had received support of a majority of MPs in the last Parliamentary session, was reviewed and amended at committee, and was ready for third and final reading before Parliament was dissolved for the election.
WHAT ARE YOUR SPECIFIC PLANS – TARGETS, TIMELINES, FUNDING – FOR A COMPREHENSIVE NATIONAL HOUSING PLAN FOR CANADA?
The Wellesley Institute’s Precarious Housing in Canada 2010 includes a series of targets called Vision 2020 – a ten-year plan. We also propose new and innovative funding options to finance the housing plan. The Senate of Canada’s In from the Margins report and the Common’s HUMA committee’s Poverty Reduction Plan both include detailed and useful recommendations. In 2010, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce called for a federal plan to end homelessness in ten years.
WILL YOU COMMIT TO END THE “STEP-OUT” OF FEDERAL HOUSING INVESTMENTS THAT LEADS TO A RAPIDLY-INCREASING ANNUAL CUT IN FUNDING FOR AFFORDABLE HOMES?
Federal housing investments will be cut from $2.2 billion in fiscal 2011 to $1.7 billion in 2014 – and the annual cuts will grow more rapidly after that as the federal government “steps out” of its long-term support for affordable housing. At the same time as the growing annual cuts, the federal government’s housing agency will see its net income grow by 11% from $1.3 billion to $1.5 billion. Simply maintaining federal housing investments at the same level as fiscal 2009 will provide much of the funding required for a comprehensive, 10-year housing plan for Canada.