Budget Missed an Opportunity to Eliminate Housing Crisis

    OTTAWA, Feb. 26 /CNW Telbec/ - Today's federal budget missed an
opportunity to give Canadians who need affordable housing the tools to
eliminate Canada's housing crisis. Yet again, 4 million Canadians living
without safe, affordable shelter, were let down by the federal government, the
Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada (CHF Canada) said today.
    "Unfortunately, the federal government's budget failed to deliver on
affordable housing for the millions of Canadians living in core housing need,"
said Nicholas Gazzard, Executive Director. "Today's budget missed an
opportunity to begin reducing chronic housing need in Canada, and it is
low-income Canadians who will keep paying the price."
    CHF Canada, along with other community housing stakeholders, has been
urging the federal government to take a leadership role - with a renewed
commitment to maintain spending levels to create new housing, and to re-invest
in existing programs, including co-op housing programs, where federal
commitments will soon expire.
    Although the federal government committed $1.4 billion in 2006 through
the housing trusts, this was a fixed amount for short term measures. This and
two other federal housing spending programs are due to expire in March 2009,
with no hint in today's budget as to Ottawa's housing strategy at that time.
Meanwhile 1.5 million Canadian households - 4 million women, men and children
- one in seven of them - will continue to pay more than they can afford for
decent housing, or go without it.
    "Canada's housing co-ops have proven to be a highly cost-effective form
of assisted housing, as successive Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
(CMHC) evaluations have concluded," said Gazzard. "Co-ops have been viable
choices, since the 1970s, for Canadians in search of affordable housing. It is
unfortunate that today's budget does not recognize how important co-op and
other affordable housing is for Canadians living in core need."

For further information:

For further information: Nicholas Gazzard, Executive Director, (613)
230-2201 ext. 230, (613) 293-8913 (cell); Merrilee Robson, Program Manager,
Communications, 1-877-533-2667, ext. 122, (604) 512-2696 (cell)

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