CHRA’s “Housing For All” campaign calls for federal action on social housing
In the lead-up to the 2015 federal election, the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association (CHRA) and its members are mobilizing. The first campaign in the new ‘Housing For All’ initiative calls for federal reinvestment in social housing to ensure it is protected and expanded for low-income individuals and families in communities across Canada.
The campaign focus is on the expiry of operating agreements and the annual federal funding of $1.6 billion that is being withdrawn as these long-term commitments conclude. The government states they have no plans to reinvest in social housing. Without reinvestment, some housing providers will have no choice but to consider increasing rents or even economic evictions for vulnerable community members – lone-parent families, seniors, new Canadians and those with disabilities. Despite best efforts to address capital needs, many providers won’t have sufficient funds without federal investment – and by 2040, that investment will decline to zero.
The cornerstone of the campaign is the just-released report Housing For All: Sustaining and Renewing Social Housing for Low-Income Households (the Report) [bit.ly/CHRAreport]. The Report takes an in-depth look at the issue of expiring operating agreements and its impact on social housing — on those who live there and those who provide it. Although the current situation is untenable, the Report proposes how to move forward over the next 20-25 years, by building a more efficient, self-sustaining and innovative system of social housing that will avoid the instability that currently threatens 365,000 low-income households living in social housing who pay on a rent-geared-to-income scale.
CHRA’s plan articulates three broad recommendations; two new investment streams, one for affordability and one for capital renewal, delivered by provinces/territories through a negotiated costshared framework, and a third recommendation to enable a transformation of the social housing sector.
“The Report helps to crystallize a complicated and often misunderstood housing issue,” said CHRA President Brigitte Witkowski. “It presents new research on who, how and how many will be affected – and that number is larger than previously thought. The Report findings will lead us to better policy solutions for social housing, especially with the federal election next year.”
The campaign includes these advocacy components:
- A grassroots toolkit to support CHRA member meetings with their local MP to converse on pressing housing topics and their community impact;
- An interactive advocacy hub, housing4all.ca, with information and resources for housing practitioners and the public to take action on; and
- A two-day advocacy conference for CHRA members, ‘Housing on the Hill’, October 22 & 23 in Ottawa, to provide expert advocacy training followed by a day of action on Parliament Hill, delivering key messages directly to MPs.
Read the full report: http://bit.ly/MHCCstudy