January 27, 2009 - PRESS RELEASE
$2.075 billion for housing: Patchwork, short-term solutions won’t meet the growing need for social housing.
While Right to Housing Coalition is pleased to see the Harper government commit to much needed investments in housing, the $2.075 ‘quick fix’ is far short of what is required.
Housing advocates across the country are calling for $2.5 billion investment toward the development of 30,000 – 50,000 new social housing units countrywide, together with required additional contributions from provinces and municipalities.
The Harper government budget allocation of $1 billion to renovate existing social housing is welcome news for Manitoba, as it will contribute to the provincial commitment to rehabilitate the much-neglected aging social housing stock. The Budget allocates an additional 1.075 billion of targeted investment.
The budget also leaves many questions unanswered.
· “Manitoba alone needs 1500 new social housing units each year just to keep up with the need” says Clark Brownlee, chair of Manitoba’s Right to Housing Coalition. “At $200,000 per unit, if we are to assume that the $1.075 billion will be allocated for new ‘social housing units’, that means some 5,375 units nation wide.” And while the targeted investment for seniors, persons with disabilities and on-reserve Aboriginals is critical, what about the many others in need of housing including Aboriginals living off-reserve, newcomers, and other individuals and families in desperate need of housing?
· Will the $2.075 billion flow in the upcoming fiscal year, or will it be stretched out over two or more years?
· Will the feds actually deliver funding in a timely manner? In 2005, the federal parliament authorized $1.5 billion in new affordable housing investments, and the Harper government allocated $1.4 billion of that to a series of trust fund to the provinces and territories. There’s no word on the remaining $200 million that the federal government has refused to allocate, and a portion of the $1.4 billion also remains un-spent.
· Where is the long-term commitment?
“There is an immediate and dire need for new social housing units but there is also a need for a national housing plan that brings all levels of government together to address what has become one of Canada’s leading social and economic challenges.”
For more information contact:
Clark Brownlee, Chair, Right to Housing Coalition