OTTAWA, Sept. 16 /CNW Telbec/ - Today Prime Minister Harper announced a
promise to assist first-time homebuyers with a $5000 tax credit. David Eddy,
President of the <a href="http://www.chra-achru.ca">Canadian Housing and Renewal Association (CHRA)</a>, responded to
the announcement, saying that "this minor housing initiative has its place,
though it's more sound bite than substance. It may help some young people to
enter the housing market, but it does nothing to help the 4 million Canadians
who lack basic affordable housing."
These Canadians live in core need; meaning they cannot afford safe,
healthy housing without making sacrifices on other necessities like food and
clothing. The federal government does have programs intended to house these
people, but they will all expire in the near future. The first two programs to
expire, both in March, assist the homeless to access shelter and services and
pay for housing repairs and retrofits.
"Their renewal should be the priority," says Bruce Pearce of the
St. John's Community Advisory Committee on Homelessness. "The federal
Homelessness Partnering Initiative (HPI) and the Renovation and Rehabilitation
Assistance Program (RRAP) are about to expire. This will jeopardize the
ability of thousands of very low-income people to maintain basic health and
safety standards in their homes, to move from the street to a shelter, or to
move from a shelter into permanent housing," states Pearce.
The Canadian Housing and Renewal Association is calling on all parties to
commit to renew expiring programs. According to CHRA, long-term funding is
needed as part of a broad national approach to address housing need and end
homelessness in Canada. This must include building at least 30,000 new
affordable homes annually. All parties must also commit to make existing and
new homes more energy efficient to reduce the added burden of rising energy
costs on low-income households.
"We need a comprehensive, long-term strategy that will take into account
the myriad of issues relating to the crisis", says Eddy, adding that "the
economy, and therefore all Canadians, benefit when our housing system is
equipped to house everyone. When the system fails, productivity, labour
markets, retail spending and economic growth are all held back."
The Canadian Housing and Renewal Association, based in Ottawa, is a
national organization advancing affordable housing development and policy.
For further information:
For further information: Geoff Gillard, Acting Executive Director,
Canadian Housing and Renewal Association, (613) 325-6321,