The Canadian Policy Research Networks has just released a series of research reports on social housing covering a wide range of issues that aims to put the “social” back in social housing. Lately, there have been a number of important new housing research projects that aim to raise the level of understanding, and support, for practical and effective housing solutions, including social housing.
As government-funded social housing programs were being cut in the 1980s and 1990s, there was a parallel campaign to discredit Canada’s innovative and cost-effective social housing providers (including co-operatives and non-profit housing). In Ontario, the Harris government – which cancelled social housing funding in 1995 and killed about 17,000 homes that were approved for development – put out the spin about a “billion-dollar boondoggle”.
The fact is (and it was a fact back then, as well), social housing provides good homes for low, moderate and middle-income households through cost-effective programs (much more efficient use of taxpayers’ dollars than, say, providing subsidies to private developers). And, social housing generates good jobs, helps build great communities, and it even delivers lots of tax dollars back to governments.