Ensuring Safe, Affordable, and Adequate Housing for All

By Citizens for Public Justice

A National Housing Strategy for Canada

Submission to the National Housing Strategy Team
October 2016
Read the Brief

The urgent need for a long-term, well funded National Housing Strategy is clear. Over 1 in 4 households (27% in 2010) spend between 30-50% of after tax income on housing. 235,000 people in Canada experience homelessness each year, less than 20% of whom end up on the street, while the rest are part of the “hidden homeless.” The current stock of affordable and social housing is in disrepair and new affordable housing is desperately needed.

As the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development begins to plan consultations to develop and implement a Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy, we believe that a National Housing Strategy must align with this larger plan.

Through Dignity for All: the campaign for a poverty-free Canada, CPJ has outlined how a national anti-poverty plan can include a National Housing Strategy, as well as a wide range of policy recommendations, in the model National Anti-Poverty Plan for Canada.

The National Housing Strategy, as part of a larger national poverty reduction strategy, must reflect the voices and complex needs of those most vulnerable, particularly Indigenous people.

CPJ recommends that the National Housing Strategy:

  1. Set clear goals, timelines, and monitoring provisions, and be supported by legislation and funding of $2 billion per year, at minimum, in new funding (matched by provinces and territories). 
  2. Be developed in partnership with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit governments and organizations to include focused Indigenous infrastructure development strategies.

A responsive and effective National Housing Strategy must be part of a broader national poverty reduction plan. It also must ensure that those with lived experience and those who work on social policy and service provision in the area of housing and homelessness are partners in the consultation process. Further, it is essential that the varied and dire needs of Indigenous communities, in particular First Nations, Inuit, and Northern communities, are represented through consultation partnerships and that the process and actions are consistent with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action.

A process driven by these voices of experience, along with social policy and service providers, will recognize the need for a long-term and comprehensive vision that can include an effective strategy for safe, affordable, and adequate housing for everyone.



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