2010 Budget Should Contain Key Housing Policies, says co-operative housing

OTTAWA, Oct. 26 /CNW Telbec/ - The federal government must ensure accountability in how federal dollars are used to protect housing affordability for low-income Canadians, said Nicholas Gazzard, Executive Director of the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada (CHF Canada). "The 2010 budget is a great opportunity to successfully build on existing initiatives, without increasing spending," said Mr. Gazzard.

Mr. Gazzard presented three major recommendations from Canada's 2,200 housing co-operatives to the federal Standing Committee on Finance. The Committee is holding hearings today as part of the 2009 pre-Budget Consultations. CHF Canada has called for:

    1.  An accountability framework for federal housing money transferred to
        provinces and territories, with measurable reductions in core housing
        need in Canada;

    2.  A new program so that social housing providers can continue to offer
        rent-geared-to-income housing to low-income households, as their
        current federal funding agreements come to an end;

    3.  Expanded availability of low cost federal loans for housing repair
        and renovation, using Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's
        (CMHC's) Direct Lending Program.

Mr. Gazzard urged the government to include these three measures in the 2010 budget. "These straightforward steps will protect Canada's existing affordable housing. They will make sure that community-based social housing providers can continue to offer affordable housing to low-income Canadians. And they will ensure that federal housing dollars are spent on measurable gains in housing supply."

Housing co-ops, said Gazzard, are ready to help safeguard Canada's aging social housing stock. "We have seen a massive national response by housing co-ops to the Federal Renovation and Retrofit Initiative; co-ops have proposed far more work than could possibly be handled by a grants program. Refinancing these co-ops through repayable federal loans will be good for the economy, profitable for government, and a lifeline for those Canadians who use co-operative housing. With federal lending rates as low as they are now, let's not let a great opportunity go to waste."

CHF Canada is the national voice of the Canadian co-operative housing movement. Its members include nearly 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: For further information: Nicholas Gazzard, Executive Director, (613) 230-2201 ext. 230, or (613) 293-8913 (cell), ngazzard@chfcanada.coop; David Granovsky, Government Relation Co-ordinator, (613) 230-2201, ext. 222, or (613) 290-7687 (cell), dgranovsky@chfcanada.coop

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