Municipalities urge parties to keep housing on campaign agenda



    Liberal Housing Retrofit Announcement Must Spark All-Party Promise to
    Renew $2-Billion Social Housing Programs

    OTTAWA, Sept. 12 /CNW Telbec/ - The following is a statement from FCM
President, Sherbrooke Mayor Jean Perrault, on the Liberal Party's unveiling of
a major home retrofit program.
    "With time running out on $2-billion worth of federal social housing
funding, today's housing retrofit announcement by the Liberal Party must lead
to a commitment by all parties to maintain the federal role in housing and
work toward a solution to homelessness in Canada.
    Today's announcement must be used by all parties to put housing issues
squarely on the electoral map. Canadians expect to hear from all parties on
their proposals to develop and fund a national housing strategy that will
respond to the bread and butter concerns of many Canadians: Where will
families priced out of the market sleep tonight; how can the working poor
afford their rent or mortgage next month; and how do we address the
homelessness epidemic on our city streets?
    In the near term, we are deeply concerned about the upcoming expiry of
all current federal programs in March 2009. The Residential Rehabilitation
Assistance Program (RRAP) and the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS),
together worth $526 million, will both expire in March 2009, as will the Bill
C-48 housing trust funds, with an allocation of $1.4 billion. These programs
or improved successors will be foundation elements of a national housing
strategy.
    One thing is certain: If the funds are not renewed, much will be lost,
including the momentum that the previous three federal governments, together
with provinces, territories and municipalities, have built towards solutions
in communities across the country.
    There is no choice. The next federal government must continue to play a
strong leadership role in supporting affordable housing in Canada.
    We need to hear from all parties - as soon as possible - on their plans
to renew these expiring programs. The continuing silence on the future of
these funds extends the uncertainty for those providing affordable housing
-municipalities, community organizations, developers - as well as for
Canadians who rely on these programs for their housing needs.
    Without this action, the problems of homelessness and housing
affordability, which are already straining the limited resources of Canada's
cities, will undermine the economic well-being of these cities, which are
widely acknowledged as the engines of national economic growth,
competitiveness and productivity. These are not just social issues; they are
core economic issues. And they are not just local issues; they are national
issues.
    Canadians are looking for leadership and answers. They want this election
campaign to be about the issues that truly affect them and their communities.
Affordable housing and homelessness is one such issue."




For further information:

For further information: Joanne MacDonald, FCM, (613) 907-6241,
www.fcm.ca/en/election2008

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Federation of Canadian Municipalities

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FEDERAL ELECTION 2008

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