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Posted by on Dec 2017 in Advocacy, All Stories, Slider, Uncategorized | 0 comments

What we asked for vs. what the National Housing Strategy delivered

ONPHA submision for National Housing StrategyONPHA submitted seven key recommendations to government during the public consultation process regarding the National Housing Strategy (NHS). Now that the Strategy has been released, how do our recommendations compare to what was committed? Here is a quick breakdown of what we asked for versus what we got.

We asked government to…

1.Preserve stock, fund new development, and increase the capacity of the community-based non-profit housing sector.

Was this included in the NHS?

It was largely included, though the strategy doesn’t distinguish between the two streams of funding. The Strategy recognizes the contributions of the non-profit sector and expresses a commitment to maintaining it in the future, specifically through:

  • The Canada Community Housing Initiative
  • The Housing Co-Investment Fund, which includes three previous commitments and focusses on repair and expansion
  • A commitment to making the Social Housing Agreements more flexible
  • The Housing Partnership Fund (FPT) (which is the investment in Affordable Housing successor)
  • The forthcoming successor to the Homelessness Partnering Strategy

2. Recognize the growing need for supportive housing; take a systematic approach to identify needs and offer supports, as well as engage in cross-ministerial collaboration to coordinate housing and support. 

Was this included in the NHS?

Potentially… there are statements about needing to prioritize vulnerable Canadians within programs and there seems to be a shift in approach to homelessness programs. Specifically:

  • The NHS includes a list of targeted vulnerable groups – it doesn’t list mental health and addictions, but the government also said the groups were not limited to that list
  • Supportive housing, seniors housing, and housing for people with developmental disabilities are mentioned in reference to the new Co-Investment Fund
  • Supportive and transitional housing and homelessness prevention is mentioned in reference to the HPS successor

3. Address the housing needs of Indigenous people; specifically, make a range of housing options available, address EOA, dedicate funding for culturally appropriate supports, and respect Indigenous structures. 

Was this included in the NHS?

Whether the forthcoming Indigenous Housing Strategy addresses this has yet to be determined, as the government is still working on their strategy. Prime Minister Trudeau and Liberal MP Adam Vaughan  both made mention of the urban Aboriginal community in their comments at the official NHS announcement. No new funding has been identified as of yet, but we are cautiously optimistic that the needs of Aboriginal peoples will be addressed when the Indigenous Housing Strategy is released.

4. Define the federal interest, reflect that interest in ministerial roles, and work with provinces to connect strategies effectively. We also stressed the need for improved access to relevant and current data. 

Was this included in the NHS?

Federal interest is largely defined through the Strategy:

  • The feds will introduce new legislation and create a National Housing Advocate and National Housing Council
  • In terms of connecting with provinces – lots of programs will be cost-shared, connected and co-designed
  • Our research/data collection recommendations were largely adopted

5. Create greater incentives for energy and climate change retrofits and initiatives that help housing providers reduce their operating costs. 

Was this included in the NHS 

This recommendation was built into other initiatives, such as the Housing Co-Investment Fund. It also may be built into other programs/initiatives when we see the further details (i.e. the HPS or IAH successors).

6. Preserve tax exemptions, rebates and rent subsidies. 

Was this included in the NHS?

Tax exemptions and rebates could be realized through the Co-Investment Fund requirement to have support from multiple levels of government. Baseline funding will be preserved through the Community Housing Initiative and Canada Community Housing Initiative, although we do have questions around how money will flow to Service Managers and providers in Ontario.

7. Incent the private sector to develop more affordable rental housing. 

Was this included in the NHS?

This was achieved through the introduction of the new portable housing benefit alongside supply measures (including the development of new supply, preserving existing supply and preserving the affordability of existing units through various initiatives).

We also saw a commitment to working with communities to develop strategies that suit local contexts, and we are happy to see there is a focus around partnerships. There is also incentive for private supply through the Co-Investment Fund, Federal lands and probably IAH successor, and we are thrilled to see prioritization for non-profit providers built into initiatives.

 

Don’t miss our webinar Navigating the National Housing Strategy: The Community housing lens on January 11, 2018. Join ONPHA’s Deputy Executive Director Margie Carlson for a review of the Strategy and what it could mean for Ontario’s housing providers and ONPHA’s members. Register today


If you have questions about the National Housing Strategy, please contact our Member Support Helpline at member.support@onpha.org or 1-800-297-6660 ext. 115. ONPHA’s in-depth analysis of the Strategy is to come. 

 

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