Report: Annual investment in affordable housing plunges $700 million

    Housing experts say Government's Throne Speech must maintain investment
    as first step to fix housing crisis.

    OTTAWA, Sept. 27 /CNW Telbec/ - Annual funding for affordable housing has
declined by $700 million according to a new report released today by
representatives of Canada's major community-based non-profit housing
organizations. The housing experts are asking the federal government to use
the coming Throne Speech to commit to maintain the current investment in
community housing.
    "In this Speech from the Throne, the federal government must, as a first
step, keep its current funding for affordable housing to help the 1.5 million
Canadians in desperate housing need," says Karen Charlton, President of
Canadian Housing Renewal Association (CHRA) and Manager of Social Development
for he City of Medicine Hat, Alberta.
    "Where's the Money Gone? An Analysis of Declining Government Housing
Expenditures" by housing analyst Steve Pomeroy, shows annual spending on
affordable housing has been in a sharp and steady decline since the early
1990's, falling from the peak in 1993 to a low in 2002.
    "This report substantiates what we have been saying for years, says
Sharon Chisholm, Executive Director of CHRA. "It's crucial for government to
commit to keeping current funding levels in place. There's much more to be
done, but this first step will keep Canada's existing community housing
affordable and in good shape - and start new housing for those in core need".
    "The good news for government is that they can begin helping the millions
of Canadians who need housing - working poor, families, seniors, new
Canadians, Aboriginal peoples - just by continuing current spending," says
Derek Ballantyne, CEO of Toronto Community Housing Corporation, Canada's
largest owner of social housing.
    "If this government takes leadership to stop the hemorrhage in housing
budgets, we will not only be able to preserve existing affordable housing, but
it also will result in $1.6-billion annually at the federal level alone to
create more community based non-profit housing," says Sharad Kerur, Executive
Director of the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association.
    Investing in community housing will help the government's goal of making
Canada competitive, according to Nick Sidor, Director of Corporate Affairs for
Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada. "If the federal government fails to
maintain current funding levels, our cities will struggle to remain
competitive and to support economic expansion. We must catch up with other
western countries that are now well ahead of us."
    Savings from expiring community housing agreements must be reinvested in
housing, say housing experts. "The provisions of both the 1993 and 1996
budgets required that savings be reinvested in social or affordable housing,"
says Karen Stone, Executive Director of the British Columbia Non-Profit
Housing Association. "There have already been substantial savings - mostly
from declining mortgage interest rates - but they have not been re-invested as
required by Parliament."
    Representatives from community-based non-profit housing organizations
across Canada will be meeting with politicians and the government in the
coming weeks to ask for a Throne Speech commitment to maintain the current
investment in affordable housing.

    The text of the full report with background information is available at

For further information:

For further information: Joan Weinman, (613) 294-5679

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