Federal Government announces National Housing Strategy

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The Federal Government announced their National Housing Strategy today, which includes a housing fund of 15.9-billion-dollars.

Their strategy includes the following:

  • Reducing chronic homelessness by 50%
  • Removing more than 530,000 households from housing need
  • Creating four times as many new housing units as built under federal programs from 2005 to 2015
  • Repairing three times as many existing housing units as repaired under federal program from 2005 to 2015.
  • Protecting an additional 385,000 households from losing an affordable place to live.

Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Social Development, was in Vancouver today and says some parts of the strategy will not begin until 2020.

For example the Canada Housing Benefit will deliver an average of $2,500 per year to at least 300,000 household who are struggling to make rent, however, it won’t be rolled out until 2020.

In a press release, the Federal Government says the National Housing Co-Investment Fund will provide 15.9 billion; which includes 4.7 billion in contributions and 11.2 billion in low interest loans to repair existing rental housing and develop new affordable housing.

According to Duclos, another part of the strategy will include legislation to try and ensure that a National Housing Strategy is always being kept up at the Federal Government level.

Vancouver Mayor, Gregor Robertson, was on hand for today’s announcement and called it a “embarrassment” that Canada didn’t have a National Housing Strategy before this.

How much funding will BC receive? 

Duclos wouldn’t comment on exactly how much funding BC would receive or when, but Robertson told reporters that today’s announcement was great news for housing and that he thinks BC will get a fair share of the funding.

“I mean I would expect will get at least our per capita share of the overall federal funding as we would with provincial funding as well. Our work is really to figure out where it can go in the city. We’ve set a target of 72,000 affordable homes over the next 10 years and we’re now working out exactly where that can happen.”

Robertson adds that the planning from the city level will compliment the work the Federal Government is doing.

Duclos also commented on the fact that BC is a unique province and that this strategy will have to be tailored for the province.

“Two things, BC has this fortune, sometimes this challenge, of being a province which is growing strongly economically and demographically. It’s also a province which attracts a lot of attention and interest outside and inside of Canada.”

Robertson says he is happy to see all levels of government at the table and working to address the housing crisis.

“Good to see the overall approach of getting a National Housing Strategy and boosting the political commitment to housing at the National level. Hopefully every party going forward has to commit to upholding a National Housing Strategy.”