November 22 is marked as National Housing Day across Canada – commemorating the day in 1998 when then-Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman and the mayors of Canada’s biggest cities adopted a Declaration from the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee to declare homelessness a national disaster.
The mayors, invoking their power to declare a state of emergency, called on the federal and provincial governments to take emergency actions to support homeless people who are victims of the nation-wide affordable housing crisis; and to take longer-term measures to create more affordable homes.
Since then, the day has been adopted by community organizations across the country, municipalities and even Canada’s national housing agency (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation) as a day devoted to housing issues and housing solutions.
As Canada marks National Housing Day with events across the country, the Wellesley Institute’s Director of Housing and Innovation, Michael Shapcott, noted in an article in The Toronto Star that the federal government has failed to allocate the $253 million in funding for new social and affordable housing that it announced in the March 2013 federal budget.
Read the Wellesley Institute’s Precarious Housing in Canada.