We need more cash for housing crisis, municipalities tell Ottawa

by Steve Randall30 Aug 2019

With the federal election edging closer, the organization that represents Canadian municipalities is making a clear plea to all political parties to commit more cash to the housing crisis.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities says that Ottawa must provide greater funding to plug the gaps in the National Housing Strategy and ensure safe, affordable homes for all.

The FCM wants parties to commit to boosting access to housing for low-income Canadians, while also tackling the broader and growing disconnect between rents, home prices and incomes.

“Right across this country, Canadians are gripped by a housing crisis, and we’re looking for clear commitments from every national party to continue to tackle it,” said FCM President Bill Karsten. “As local leaders, we’re on the front lines of people’s struggles to find decent housing they can afford, and we’re making the most of our limited tools to respond. But if we’re going to build a brighter housing future, then continued federal leadership is absolutely critical.”

Funding gaps

Among the gaps that FCM says need to be addressed is the provision of new social and affordable housing for Indigenous households in cities and communities.

Those facing homelessness due to mental illness, substance abuse, and other challenges, also need more help, along with seniors.

FCM says there needs to be new responses to the challenges of providing lower-cost housing on rental markets and to make affordable upgrades to seniors’ homes so they can stay in their homes longer as they age.

It also proposes a new Affordability Indicator that would offer data-driven insights into the commuting trade-offs people make to access housing they can afford.

FCM is also proposing a new multi-level government forum to tackle complex forces driving unaffordability, from speculation to short-term rentals and beyond.

“Housing is the bedrock of livable communities we’re striving to build—where people want to work, contribute, raise their families and start businesses. This election is about building better lives, and that starts with ensuring that the Canadians we all serve can find a decent, affordable place to call home,” said Karsten.

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