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National Housing Strategy a major step in the right direction

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National Housing Strategy a major step in the right direction

The Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations (CFAA) applauds the federal government’s plan to improve support for low-income renters in the National Housing Strategy (NHS). In particular, CFAA applauds the plan to create a new portable housing benefit for some low-income renters in the private rental housing market, which is to be called the Canada Housing Benefit. CFAA commends the federal government for adding a portable housing benefit as a necessary pillar in its policy to reduce poverty, housing need and homelessness.

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In very rough terms, the NHS spending is to flow like this:

Type of spending

Total Amount

Start date

Average annual amount

Federal spending

$20B

2017

$2B

Federal loans

$10B

2017

$1B

Provincial money

$10B

2018

$1B

Total

$40B

various

 

Of which, housing benefits

$4B

2020

Tapering up to $750 M

The federal commitment to housing benefits is $2B, which the federal government wants the provinces to match, at the same time as they administer the program.

For more information, see the Strategy at www.placetocallhome.ca (especially at page 15).

Many other features in the NHS are also worthy of approval, including

  • The priority being placed on contributions to repairing and retrofitting existing rental housing.
  • A promise to move to more extensive, open data.
  • The preservation of the baseline social housing funding, including no net loss and replacement of the operating agreements (which means the portable housing benefit is not coming at the expense of social housing).
  • The statement of the need to fund greater collaboration in the housing sector.
  • A housing advocate to address means to offset systemic discrimination.
  • Support for mixed income housing (which can meet the demand of some cities under mandatory inclusionary zoning)
  • The planned campaign to reduce NIMBYism around affordable housing.

Another feature of note is the language about a rights-based approach to housing. This appears to be a partial concession to those who wanted housing to be recognized as a human right, while also respecting the position of those opposed.

Please send comments to John Dickie, CFAA President at president@cfaa-fcapi.org, or comment directly to Prime Minister at Justin.Trudeau@parl.gc.ca or the Minister in charge of housing, Jean-Yves Duclos at Jean-Yves.Duclos@parl.gc.ca.