‘Close the Housing Gap’ campaign update
Last November a busload of social housing advocates, tenants and concerned residents headed to Ottawa to bring their housing concerns to Parliament Hill. Then in March of this year, more than 100 residents, nine politicians and other stakeholders attended question period at Queen’s Park and delivered campaign messages in individual MPP meetings.
These are just two examples of concerned Canadians demanding that governments step up, not step back, from their responsibility to provide safe, affordable housing.
“Ontario and Canada are in desperate need of more affordable housing, and we must make the federal government recognize the importance of protecting the affordable housing that already exists,” said one resident.
The Close the Housing Gap campaign, launched by the City of Toronto and Toronto Community Housing, is part of a growing national movement to push the federal and provincial governments to contribute their fair share of funding for social housing capital repairs.
The campaign is endorsed by over 40 national, provincial and local organizations, including ONPHA and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), all of whom are urging governments to invest in social and affordable housing. 2014 activities include:
- Queen’s Park Advocacy Day
- Campaign posters in bus shelters and newspaper ads
- Campaign booth at Canadian Housing Renewal Association Congress in Edmonton
- Letter to Ontario Housing Minister requesting early meeting
- Link to FCM national campaign.
Last December, FCM launched its Fixing Canada’s Housing Crunch campaign, endorsed by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and more than 140 other municipalities.
ONPHA has launched a three-year campaign, Housing Opens Doors, to make affordable housing a priority in Ontario.
All of these campaigns have one thing in common – they demonstrate that the public expects concrete and sustainable action on social and affordable housing to address the rising costs and scarcity of rental housing, improve the predictability of investments and ensure renewal of expiring federal dollars for affordable housing.
As one resident said, “I believe in putting people first and I want to see the government keep up its duty of funding social housing rather than withdrawing. People who reside in social housing deserve the right to be safe and secure in their homes.”
There is too much at stake to ignore the need for action.
And that is why these campaigns will not go away until our governments commit to sustainable funding to repair homes, revitalize communities and provide new affordable housing.
By 2032, the federal government will have withdrawn $1.7 billion in social housing investments across Canada. Ottawa will be out of the business of housing low-income Canadians. More people will be at risk of losing their homes and falling into poverty.
With Ottawa forecasting a surplus of $6.4 billion in 2015, there’s never been a better time for Canadians to make the case for a long-term, well-funded and sustainable social and affordable housing strategy.
During the federal election in 2015, candidates will be seeking voters’ support. Now is the time to join the current housing campaigns and make your voice heard.