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

  • Hong Kong court delays trial of pro-democracy publisher Jimmy Lai

    World News CBC News
    The trial of a Hong Kong newspaper publisher who was arrested in a crackdown on a pro-democracy movement was postponed Thursday after the territory's leader asked China to effectively block him from hiring a British defence lawyer. Source
  • Concerns grow that Alberta's Sovereignty Act will drive investment from province when it's needed most

    Canada News CBC News
    On the 15th floor of a downtown Calgary office tower on Wednesday, a new clean-tech fund was launched with an aim of decarbonizing the energy sector. But much of the talk at the event was about the Alberta government's controversial Sovereignty Act, which was introduced in the provincial legislature less than 24 hours earlier. Source
  • Why Ontario buyers are scooping up investment properties in Calgary

    Canada News CBC News
    The days of Alberta bleeding residents to other provinces are gone, at least for now. In the second quarter alone, the province saw a net gain of about 10,000 people thanks to moves from other parts of the country, especially from Ontario. Source
  • What these constitutional law experts have to say about Alberta's proposed Sovereignty Act

    Canada News CBC News
    Alberta Premier Danielle Smith's controversial proposed legislation — the Alberta Sovereignty within a United Canada Act — which was introduced Tuesday in the provincial legislature immediately prompted accusations that it was undemocratic and constitutionally unsound. The bill, if passed, would set to "protect Albertans from federal legislation or policies that are unconstitutional or harmful to our province, our people, or our economic prosperity. Source
  • Young and old more likely to face severe flu. Here's why doctors think it happens

    Canada News CBC News
    Canadians have been getting sick enough with seasonal flu to land in hospital, say doctors with suggestions on who is most at risk and what it could mean for festive gatherings. "We're starting to now see the effect of flu on certain populations, particularly very young children and very older people, in making them sick enough that they need to come into hospital," said Dr. Source
  • Canada not doing enough with its highly educated immigrants, StatsCan says

    Canada News CBC News
    Being a physician has been a lifelong dream for 35-year-old Ayman Jabril. He's passionate about caring for patients, clearly explaining medical treatments, and following up with them over time. He trained and worked as a physician in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, but has yet to make headway getting further training and certification in Canada, despite having completed a host of qualification exams since arriving in 2017. Source
  • Paralegal family law licence could help Ontarians who can't afford a lawyer navigate courts

    Canada News CBC News
    The Law Society of Ontario (LSO) will decide whether or not to open the doors of family court to paralegals today by voting on a licence that would allow them to provide some family legal services. Source
  • The Xi dilemma: China's instability and a zero-COVID trap

    World News CBC News
    In Beijing, they took to the streets on a frosty November evening. Young people yelled the loudest, but there were older Chinese as well, sharing a rare moment of protest in a country where acquiescence is not only expected but enforced. Source
  • Ukrainian Olympian Yuri Cheban auctioning medals to help war effort

    World News CBC News
    One of Ukraine's most decorated Olympians is auctioning his medals — two golds and a bronze — in hopes of raising a six-figure donation to contribute to the war effort in his native land. "My Olympic medals won't matter if Ukraine can't stand for this fight for freedom and independence," retired sprint canoeist Yuri Cheban told The Associated Press in an email exchange Wednesday. Source
  • Spectacular view of glowing lava draws thousands to Hawaiian island

    World News CBC News
    The world's largest volcano oozed rivers of glowing lava Wednesday, drawing thousands of awestruck viewers who jammed a Hawaii highway that could soon be covered by the flow. Mauna Loa awoke from its 38-year slumber Sunday, causing volcanic ash and debris to drift down from the sky. Source