Anti-poverty activists ask Liberals for $3.2B in budget

OTTAWA -- Anti-poverty advocates are asking the federal government to invest $3.2 billion annually starting next year to update old and build new affordable housing units across the country.

See Full Article

The pre-budget ask from seven groups is aimed at helping the 235,000 Canadians who experience homelessness every year, and social housing providers who are beginning to see the end of federal funding agreements signed decades ago with no new capital funding in sight.

Affordable housing groups from Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec and New Brunswick, along with three national groups, hope to land $1.7 billion so housing providers and cities can update the 600,000 affordable housing units in Canada.

They are also asking for $1.5 billion to build 100,000 new affordable housing units to help cut down wait lists in Canada's biggest cities.

Tim Richter, CEO of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, said there is an acute housing crisis in Canada with nearly one in four Canadian households unable to afford housing. The situation will only get worse in the coming years without federal action, he said.

Richter said the money his group and others are asking for could eliminate chronic and episodic homelessness in Canada.

It's an ambitious request for a government that has vowed to spend $1.7 billion this year on "social" infrastructure like affordable housing, seniors residences, and child care facilities, but the group says doing nothing could cost even more: Studies suggest homelessness costs Canada $7 billion annually in services and lost opportunities.

Jeff Morrison, executive director of the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association, said funding affordable housing would tick off other promises the Liberals made during the campaign, including helping Aboriginal Peoples and making Canadian infrastructure more environmentally friendly.

It would also put Canadians to work: Morrison said many housing providers have projects that are shovel ready, only needing some funding to make the work happen.

"We're not under any illusion that this is going to be a cheap fix. We know that investment has to be made, but it's pretty clear that the return on the investment is so significant," Morrison said.

The annual "State of Homelessness in Canada" report found that federal investment in affordable housing has been cut nearly in half over the last 25 years, which meant that 100,000 units weren't built. Morrison said the $1.5 billion the group is requesting would be making up lost ground.

Cash from federal coffers will be cut further over the next 25 years as funding agreements decline from $1.6 billion down to zero by 2040.

In other cases, housing providers have wanted to refinance mortgages signed decades ago when interest rates of eight per cent were considered a steal. With rates even lower today, housing providers face stiff penalties to pay off the full mortgage early, making it cost prohibitive for them to renegotiate, Morrison said.

That's why the group is also asking the federal government to enact a program that never seemed to get off the ground from the 2015 federal budget that set aside $150 million over four years to cover pre-payment penalties.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Immigrants who gain citizenship narrows the economic gap: U.S. census

    World News CTV News
    ORLANDO, Fla. -- New figures from the U.S. Census Bureau show that citizenship appears to narrow the economic gap between the foreign-born and native-born in the United States. The 2018 figures released Monday offer a view of immigrants' education, wealth, and the jobs they work in. Source
  • Detained U.S. immigrants sue over conditions, medical care

    World News CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Immigrants held in U.S. detention facilities filed a lawsuit Monday demanding adequate medical care and treatment and accommodations for disabilities. In the suit filed by disability and civil rights advocates in U.S. Source
  • Customer shoots Taco Bell worker through a drive-up window

    World News CTV News
    OKLAHOMA CITY - Police in Oklahoma City are searching for a man who they say shot a Taco Bell employee through the drive-through window. The shooting happened at about 1 a.m. Saturday at a Taco Bell near Northwest 23rd Street and North May Avenue. Source
  • Campers forced out of northern B.C. park after August snowstorm damages trees

    Canada News CTV News
    A mid-August snowstorm forced a northern B.C. campground to close over the weekend due to safety issues. Snow fell over parts of the province on Sunday, including on the Alaska Highway near the Yukon border. Source
  • Canadian focusing on memories shared with her slain fiance: New Zealand police

    Canada News CTV News
    WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- Police in New Zealand say a grieving Canadian woman is focusing on the memories she shared with her Australian fiance before he was murdered Friday in a seemingly random attack. Waikato police say in a statement that the woman, identified by Canadian sources as Nova Scotia native Bianca Buckley, is getting support from police and victim services as she gathers her thoughts on the times she shared with her fiance, Sean McKinnon. Source
  • U.S. extends ban on passports for North Korea travel

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- The Trump administration is extending a ban on the use of U.S. passports for travel to North Korea for another year. A State Department notice released Monday says the ban will remain in place until Aug. Source
  • U.S. extends temporary sales permit to Huawei for 90 days

    World News CBC News
    Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Monday that the United States will extend by 90 days a limited reprieve on U.S. technology sales to Huawei. The U.S. government blacklisted the Chinese technology giant in May, deeming it a national security risk and restricting sales of U.S. Source
  • Early Epstein accuser: Police could have stopped him in 1997

    World News CTV News
    SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- More than two decades before Jeffrey Epstein took his own life, a woman went into a California police station and filed one of the earliest sex-crime complaints against him: that he groped her during what she thought was a modeling interview for the Victoria's Secret catalogue. Source
  • Canadian sprint canoeist Laurence Vincent-Lapointe tests positive for banned substance

    Canada News CBC News
    Laurence Vincent-Lapointe of Trois-Rivières, Que., will not compete at this week's canoe sprint world championships in Szeged, Hungary after failing an out-of-competition doping test in late July and has been provisionally suspended, pending the outcome of her case. Source
  • Ohio man charged over alleged threat to Jewish community centre

    World News CBC News
    Police say a man accused of making what they believe was a threat to a Jewish centre in Ohio on Instagram has been arrested on telecommunications harassment and aggravated menacing charges. New Middletown police say they arrested 20-year-old James Reardon, Jr. Source