Saturday October 28, 2017

What should a national housing strategy include?

The federal government is set to released its $40 billion national housing strategy in the coming weeks and hopeful eyes are watching to see if it delivers enough to tackle homelessness and create affordable places to live across the country.

The federal government is set to released its $40 billion national housing strategy in the coming weeks and hopeful eyes are watching to see if it delivers enough to tackle homelessness and create affordable places to live across the country. (CBC)

Listen 9:35

The federal government is set to released its $40 billion national housing strategy in the coming weeks and hopeful eyes are watching to see if it delivers enough to tackle homelessness and create affordable places to live across the country.

This includes mayors of big cities, such as Halifax Mayor Mike Savage, who have seen first-hand the need for federal housing dollars in urban centres.

It also includes those in the non-profit world who are working make sure people can afford to keep a roof over their heads, like Stéphan Corriveau from the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association.

Both spoke to The House and agreed that addressing housing issues for vulnerable populations, including Indigenous people and youth who end up on the streets, has to be part of a national housing strategy.

Savage told The House that mayors want to see funds allocated to refurbishing and updating existing social and affordable housing, a re-think of the Canadians Mortgage and Housing Association's mandate and that mayors and stakeholders on-the-ground are empowered within the strategy.

"There are a lot of answers in the community that municipal leaders would have," he said. "I think that needs to be part of the solution, to look at what's working but also what isn't."

Corriveau said that the structure of housing in Canada needs to change.

"For the last 25 years, the federal government has been heavily involving itself in supporting home ownership," he said. "That's nothing bad, but the problem is not everybody is in the situation to own a home."

He added that while federal investments have gone into helping Canadians achieve home ownership, there have been no investments in building new affordable rentals.

"This is where the problem of homelessness came from," Corriveau said.