Statement by FCM President calls on all federal parties to commit to renewing social housing programs ending March 2009



    OTTAWA, Sept. 16 /CNW Telbec/ - The following is a statement from FCM
President Jean Perrault, Mayor of Sherbrooke, on the Conservative Party's
unveiling of a tax credit for up to $5,000 for first-time homebuyers.
    "Today's campaign promise of a tax credit for first-time homebuyers is
the second announcement focusing on housing issues in as many weeks on the
campaign trail. Today's announcement, along with last week's Liberal Party
promise to improve and expand the housing energy retrofit program, shows that
both parties understand how important housing issues are to Canadians during
this time of economic uncertainty.
    The Liberal announcement of the retrofit program raised the profile of
the need to support environmentally efficient housing, while the Conservative
tax credit for first-time homebuyers will help young families become
homeowners.
    Both promises help raise the campaign profile of housing issues, but
municipalities, and Canadians, are waiting for the next step: the commitment
to a real action plan on affordable housing and homelessness.
    Most urgently, municipal governments are deeply concerned about the
upcoming expiry of all current federal housing 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.
    The commitments made so far show us that the national leaders are
starting to talk about the issues that affect Canadians every day. We are
moving in the right direction. Now is the time to close the deal by
immediately extending the soon-to-expire housing programs as the first step
towards a real national housing strategy."




For further information:

For further information: Maurice Gingues, (613) 907-6395

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Federation of Canadian Municipalities

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