CHF Canada proposes achievable solutions to reduce housing need and homelessness

OTTAWA, March 1, 2013 /CNW/ - The Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada (CHF Canada) and its 900 member housing co-operatives across the country today offered federal, provincial and territorial governments a cost-effective solution to reduce housing need and homelessness.

On the heels of a Parliamentary debate on national housing policy, Canada's housing co-ops have proposed specific measures to enhance housing affordability for Canadians.

"If adopted, our recommendations will provide positive permanent benefits for the Canadians who are counting on governments to protect housing affordability," says CHF Canada's Executive Director Nicholas Gazzard.

CHF Canada has called for a national dialogue on housing policy issues through which governments and housing stakeholders can work together to help improve the lives of 1.5 million Canadian households in housing need, including seniors, new Canadians and persons with mental and physical disabilities.

Here are CHF Canada's recommendations:

  1. A long-term cost-shared plan for rent supplement programs delivered by provinces and territories (and by municipalities in Ontario). This will maintain affordability for the nearly 200,000 vulnerable Canadian households living in co-op, non-profit and public housing projects, whose assistance will be cut soon when federal operating agreements with these housing providers ends.

    Federal housing spending on a rent-geared-to-income (RGI) subsidies to be maintained at present (2013) levels.

  2. Renewal of the Federal/Provincial Affordable Housing Initiative (AHI) when the current agreement expires on March 31, 2014.  Through the AHI, accountable bilateral housing agreements provide cost-shared funding for new construction of affordable housing, rent supplements, renovation programs and off-reserve housing for aboriginal people.

  3. Extend the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS). HPS is a federal program through Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) that provides direct support to Canadians to prevent and reduce homelessness.

"By working together with Canada's housing co-ops and other housing stakeholders, governments can meet the pressing needs of vulnerable Canadians, and also work in a meaningful way to alleviate poverty and provide permanent housing options for Canadians," said Gazzard. "Federal housing spending would not increase, and frontline program responsibilities would be in the hands of provincial governments."

CHF Canada is the national voice of the Canadian co-operative housing movement. Its members include over 900 non-profit housing co-operatives and other organizations across Canada.  More than a quarter of a million Canadians live in housing co-ops, in every province and territory.

SOURCE: Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada

For further information:

Nicholas Gazzard, Executive Director, 613-293-8913, ngazzard@chfcanada.coop

David Granovsky, Government Relations Co-ordinator, 1-800-465-2752 ext. 222, 613-290-7687, dgranovsky@chfcanada.coop

Scott Jackson, Program Manager, National Communications, 1-877-533-2667 ext. 122, sjackson@chfcanada.coop


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