Co-operative Housing can help in reducing poverty

    OTTAWA, April 23 /CNW Telbec/ - The federal government can do more to
reduce poverty, without increasing its current housing spending, Nicholas
Gazzard, Executive Director of the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada
told a Parliamentary committee looking at the government's role in reducing
poverty in Canada.
    "On average, Canadian households pay 19% of their incomes for shelter.
But for households in the lowest 10% income bracket, the shelter burden is
fully 66% of income. The cost of housing severely affects the ability of many
Canadians to meet other necessary costs of day-to-day living, quite aside from
their ability - or rather lack of it - to invest in their own futures. This
figure includes disproportionate numbers of seniors, the frail elderly, those
with disabilities, new immigrants and one-parent households."
    Gazzard told the federal Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills
and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA) that
the government could adopt two specific measures for a housing-related
anti-poverty strategy.

    1. Ensure that federal housing spending is tied to reducing core housing
need. At present, there is no direct link between federal housing spending,
most of which is transferred to other levels of government, and reducing core
housing need. The federal government should ensure full accountability for
federal housing transfers to the provinces and territories by requiring
measurable outcomes in housing need reduction.
    2. Maintain current levels of spending on the "legacy programs" (the
programs, mostly federal, that have delivered some 650,000 units of social
housing over the past 60 years). Funding agreements for these programs are
beginning to expire and will do so in large numbers over the next 10 years.
Merely by maintaining the existing levels of federal spending on these
programs, the government can protect the rent-geared-to-income (RGI) capacity
for Canada's social housing providers so they can continue to provide housing
that is affordable for low-income Canadians.

    "Canada's 2,200 housing co-ops want to continue to build safe communities
that help individuals and families break the cycle of poverty," Gazzard told
the committee.

    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.

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, (778)
227-3864 (cell),

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