OTTAWA, Nov. 27, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - "The badly housed and the homeless
are in dire situations - Stephen Harper must not sacrifice
contributions to social housing by putting an end to the long-term
federal subsidies that currently support 600,000 social housing units
across Canada, including 127,000 in Quebec and 227,000 in Ontario."
said François Saillant, of the Front d'action populaire en réaménagement urbain (FRAPRU), during a demonstration that ended in front of the prime
minister's offices at the Langevin Building in Ottawa. A number of red
tents were pitched, illustrating the urgency of housing problems and
homelessness. The event, which drew hundreds of demonstrators from
across Quebec, began in front of a housing co-op in Gatineau that will
soon lose its federal subsidies.
The FRAPRU demands that the Conservative government immediately commit
to the continuation of subsidies that have supported Canadian low-cost
housing, co-ops and non-profit housing initiatives for decades. The
FRAPRU is also calling on Ottawa to fundamentally alter its approach to
housing, by increasing its support for households and individuals.
These demands are shared by a number of other groups across Canada,
members of a brand-new coalition for the right to housing. Others
actions had been held on this issue since November 22th in Toronto,
Winnipeg and Vancouver.
Statistics Canada's National Household Survey of 2011 reveals that housing conditions have seriously deteriorated. The
number of Canadian households that spend more than half of their income
on rent has now reached 774,000 - an 11% increase over 2006. Of those,
228,000 households are located in Quebec and 274,000 in Ontario. The
situation is just as disastrous in the nation's capital, with 21,970
tenant households in Ottawa and 7,700 in Gatineau contributing 50% or
more of income to rent. The Gatineau figure represents a 29% increase
An extremely conservative evaluation published earlier this year
revealed that 200 000 people in Canada were homeless at some point over
the course of the year.
The Abandonment of Social Housing
Based on Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) figures, FRAPRU
affirms that the number of social housing units subsidized by the
federal government has fallen by 34,000 since Stephen Harper became
Prime Minister in 2006. This number will drop by another 104,000 by
2017. In 2014 and 2015 alone, approximately 39,000 housing units will
be affected by these cuts.
FRAPRU believes that there is an urgent need to act before the impact
becomes irreversible. Federal subsidies are an essential support for
very low-income tenants living in social housing. Loss of subsidies
will translate into significant rent increases. Housing, which has been
subsidised for decades, will become less financially accessible to
households requiring affordable housing in the future. In a worst-case
scenario, the loss of federal subsidies could also lead to the
privatisation of some units.
The federal government's disengagement from existing social housing
units will be all the more scandalous if the Conservative government
does not switch course and invest more than the peanuts it currently
spends on the renovation and construction of new housing. Jim
Flaherty's last budget confirmed that through to March 31st 2018, only
$253 million per year will be devoted to the provinces and territories
for renovations to existing, and the construction of new, social
housing. Quebec will only receive $58 million per year over the next
five years for the entirety of its housing programs, including Shelter
Allowance, the construction of new social housing units, and renovation
and accessibility programs. For the FRAPRU, Ottawa must turn its
peanuts into a serious investment.
SOURCE: Front d'action populaire en réaménagement urbain (FRAPRU)
For further information:
François Saillant (514) 919-2843