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

  • July 14 bail hearing date set for Epstein's ex-girlfriend

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Jeffrey Epstein's ex-girlfriend will appear remotely by video for a July 14 courthouse arraignment and bail hearing on charges she recruited girls for him to sexually abuse over two decades ago, a judge said Tuesday. Source
  • Video shows Michigan facility staff restraining Black teen who died

    World News CTV News
    At least seven men forcibly restrained a teenager who had a heart attack and died two days later. The staffers at a youth facility in Michigan held down the boy's arms and legs and sat on him as he screamed that he couldn't breathe, an attorney representing the boy's estate said Tuesday. Source
  • Opposition MPs win votes for documents, special committee meetings to probe WE Charity deal

    Canada News CBC News
    Opposition parties aren't letting up in their battle to shine light on every aspect of the federal government's dealings with WE Charity — compelling a Commons committee to produce a trove of documents and hold special meetings on the issue later this month. Source
  • Essential workers during COVID-19 susceptible to 'moral injury' and PTSD, hospital says

    Canada News CBC News
    Health-care workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic are at risk of severe stress that could cause long-term psychological damage, the Centre of Excellence on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder says. The centre at the Royal Ottawa Hospital has teamed up with the Phoenix Australia Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health to develop a guide for facilities including hospitals and peer-support organizations in an effort to reduce the impact on those susceptible to so-called moral injury, a…
  • CFIA cancels imports of some puppies from Ukraine after dead dogs found on plane

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it will not allow commercial puppies under the age of eight months to be imported from Ukraine after dozens of dead or sick dogs were found on a flight at Toronto's airport. Source
  • Netherlands police arrest 6 after makeshift 'torture chamber' uncovered

    World News CBC News
    Dutch police arrested six men after discovering sea containers that had been converted into a makeshift prison and sound-proofed "torture chamber" complete with a dentist's chair, tools including pliers and scalpels and handcuffs, a high ranking officer announced Tuesday. Source
  • Ontario mask bylaws could be difficult for businesses to enforce, legal experts say

    Canada News CBC News
    As Ontario municipalities enact new measures regarding the use of masks in commercial locations, business owners are on their own when it comes to dealing with customers who refuse to comply. On Tuesday, Toronto and Ottawa joined Kingston in establishing rules requiring a non-medical face covering inside businesses open to the public. Source
  • Alberta confirms 47 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths

    Canada News CTV News
    EDMONTON -- Alberta confirmed 47 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday as well as two more deaths due to the coronavirus. The two deaths were both men in their 70s and were linked to the ongoing outbreak at the Misericordia Hospital. Source
  • Australian driver fights off deadly snake that snuck into his vehicle, wrapped around his leg

    World News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Police in Australia pulled over a man for allegedly speeding along a highway, only to find out he had been rushing to hospital, believing he was bitten by a poisonous snake that made its way into his vehicle. Source
  • RCMP say no charges will be laid after probe into Moncton induced-labour case

    Canada News CTV News
    MONCTON, N.B. -- New Brunswick RCMP say no criminal charges will be laid after women at The Moncton Hospital were allegedly given a labour-inducing drug without their consent last year. "We conducted a very thorough, very complex investigation during the year," Sgt. Source