FCM calls for national action to end homelessness and deliver affordable housing



    VANCOUVER, Jan. 23 /CNW Telbec/ - With thousands of Canadian families
struggling to find an affordable place to live and federal housing funds
scheduled to end in March 2009, Canada urgently needs a renewed funding
commitment and a national housing plan led by the federal government.
    That was the message today as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities
(FCM) released its National Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness at a news
conference led by Mayors Sam Sullivan of Vancouver and Anne-Marie DeCicco-Best
of London, Ont., co-chairs of the FCM Big City Mayors' Caucus working group on
housing.
    "Too many Canadians are forced to choose between food and rent, clothes
for the kids or making the mortgage payment," said Mayor Sullivan. "The high
cost of housing also undermines the ability of people who want to get ahead
but cannot afford a secure and decent place to live."
    An FCM report released last week confirmed earlier and troubling trends,
most notably that finding adequate housing was becoming an issue even for the
so-called middle class and chronic, systemic homelessness continues in
Canada's urban areas.
    "The Action Plan was developed with the participation of municipal
leaders across the country," said Mayor DeCicco-Best. "We will share it with
the federal, provincial and territorial ministers of housing, who will hold
their annual meeting here in Vancouver in February. We urge all governments to
take ownership of these issues and work with municipalities to find a lasting
solution."
    The Action Plan examines three investment scenarios. FCM's preferred
option is the mid-range one of $3.35 billion annually, which requires some
increase over current spending. These costs would be shared by the federal and
provincial/territorial governments, with municipalities also playing an active
role through local strategies.
    "We are deeply concerned about the upcoming expiry of all federal housing
programs in March 2009," said FCM President Gord Steeves. "There is no choice.
The federal government must put an end to the chronic uncertainty around
affordable housing in this country and play a strong leadership role by
committing to a long-term strategy working with provinces and municipalities
as well as the community sector. Today we are proposing an ambitious but
realistic plan to address the most pressing problems."




For further information:

For further information: Maurice Gingues, (613) 907-6395; Report and
backgrounders available at: www.fcm.ca/english/media/press/jan232008.html

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Federation of Canadian Municipalities

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