Municipalities Call for Federal Leadership on Long-Term, National Housing Strategy

TORONTO, Oct. 28, 2013 /CNW/ - The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) joined municipal voices across Canada in calling on the federal government to develop a long-term plan for housing that will address rising costs, the scarcity of rental housing and the need for sustained federal funds for affordable housing.

The cost of housing is taking a toll on families and communities across Canada, pushing both personal debt and affordable housing wait lists to record levels. In Ontario, for example, more than 156,000 people are on wait lists for social housing - a 10 per cent increase from 2010.

In light of these challenges, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) today launched their campaign, "Fixing Canada's Housing Crunch," to urge the federal government to work with provincial, territorial and municipal leaders to develop a long-term, coordinated plan.

"The stakes are especially high for Ontario's municipal governments," said AMO President Russ Powers. Unlike other provinces, responsibility for housing in Ontario was downloaded to municipal governments. "Local governments cannot fix the housing system on their own," Powers added. "We need to work with our federal and provincial counterparts to develop long-term, cost-effective solutions across the full spectrum of housing programs and policy.''

Rising housing prices push more people into a crowded rental market. The problem is particularly acute in Ontario, where 20 per cent of renters are spending about one-third of their income on housing. Social housing, as well, is in dire need of capital repairs -- and more affordable housing units are needed. Ontario is expected to need between 15,000 and 20,000 rental and affordable housing units per year.

"Our cities and communities need a stable and secure housing market that creates jobs, attracts new workers, meets the needs of seniors and young families, and keeps our most vulnerable citizens off the streets," said Gregor Robertson, Mayor of Vancouver and Chair of the Big City Mayors Caucus, who launched the campaign.

AMO is a non-profit organization representing almost all of Ontario's 444 municipal governments.  AMO supports and enhances strong and effective municipal government in Ontario and promotes the value of municipal government as a vital and essential component of Ontario and Canada's political system.

SOURCE: Association of Municipalities of Ontario

For further information:

Brian Lambie, AMO Media Contact, 416-729-5425, lambie@redbrick.ca
Follow AMO on Twitter: @AMOPolicy


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