Federal funding set to disappear, threatening native people in London with homelessness

LONDON, ON, Dec. 6, 2012 /CNW/ - Twenty native households will be homeless in the new year unless Diane Finley, the Minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), steps in to help Native Inter-Tribal Housing Co-operative remain financially viable. The 62-unit housing co-op is scattered throughout the Manor and Highland Park neighbourhood in South London, Ontario.

Lawrence Summers, a 62-year old co-op member, is one of the people that will lose his home if action is not taken immediately. "The fact of the matter is that I will have no place to live in 2013. I have lived here for the past 25 years, and there is nowhere else for me to go," says Summers.

Native Inter-Tribal Co-op has five phases with 38 operating agreements that provide rental assistance to the co-op's low-income members through CMHC's Urban Native Program. Agreements under the first two Phases expire in 2013, 2014 and 2015. An independent analysis shows that the co-op will not be financially viable when federal assistance to its low-income members is cut.

Co-op President Lloyd "Butch" Stevenson says that it is up to Minister Diane Finley and the federal government to determine if they wish to continue to provide affordable housing to low-income native people. "If they choose to do nothing, 20 families will be homeless," says Stevenson.

The Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada (CHF Canada) supports Native Inter-Tribal's request that Minister Finley develop a new stream of rent-geared-to-income (RGI) assistance for the affected low-income households.

"Nothing else will allow the co-op to continue to provide affordable housing to these members. The only solution is a new stream of assistance. We expect Minister Finley to show leadership on this crucial issue, and soon. The members of this co-op are extremely worried about the future of their housing," said CHF Canada Executive Director Nicholas Gazzard.

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
Lloyd "Butch" Stevenson, President, Native Inter-Tribal Housing Co-operative, 519-615-9106


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