More provinces sign up for housing allowance as Liberals set up promised Housing Council


OTTAWA – Seven provinces have signed up to a federal rent assistance program created as part of the national housing strategy, according to recently released documents.

So far, the Liberals have only announced agreements with four provinces to provide the Canada housing benefit to vulnerable tenants, such as low income families, aboriginals, veterans and newcomers.

Money is already flowing to Ontario, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, but documents tabled in the House of Commons last week show three other unnamed provinces have signed up to receive cash. silver.

The jointly funded federal-provincial housing allowance is tied to a person rather than a subsidized unit that a person could lose when they move to another dwelling.

The government says dollar amounts and the names of the three added provinces will eventually be revealed in official announcements that have been delayed due to the pandemic.

Sunday is National Housing Day. It is also three years since the Liberals unveiled the decade-long housing strategy.

The Liberals have added other programs to the strategy over time, including a short-term, billion-dollar initiative to help cities and housing providers buy properties and quickly turn them into affordable housing.

Municipalities said they plan to spend the money quickly to force the government to top up the fund.

Likewise, Indigenous housing providers are pushing for the government to finally unveil a plan for First Nations, Métis and Inuit living in urban areas.

A House of Commons committee is studying the matter and is expected to present a report by the end of the year, which could lay the groundwork for a program to be unveiled in a spring 2021 budget.

“The federal government must implement a separate housing strategy for urban and rural Indigenous peoples, and that Canadians support the Indigenous peoples themselves who design and oversee such a strategy,” said Robert Byers, President of the Canadian Housing and Home Improvement Association. Indigenous caucus and CEO of Namerind Housing in Regina.

“It is time for the federal government to act on this and announce such a policy as soon as possible.

The Liberals are celebrating the anniversary of the housing strategy to unveil the membership of a key body designed to help the government meet the plan’s goals.

The National Housing Council will work in tandem with a Federal Advocate who will help remove systemic problems in the housing system. The government also announced on Sunday that it was launching a formal process to finally fulfill the role.

Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen said in a statement that the council and the lawyer will help the government recognize the right to adequate housing, calling it “remarkable progress for housing” in the country.

Tim Richter, who will co-chair the housing council, said the group will provide a way for people who have experienced homelessness or who have lived in need of housing a way to participate in the politics that affects them and to identify systemic gaps.

He pointed to the higher rates of COVID-19 in low-income, racialized communities that also live in substandard housing as an example.

The pandemic has exposed many of the problems facing the housing system, leaving too many Canadians at risk of contracting COVID-19 for no reason other than their poor housing, Richter said.

“The council, I think, can not only provide that political support and give a voice to people who need housing and homelessness in the country, but also kindle the fire under governments to act much faster to resolve the crisis.” housing in Canada ”. said Richter, president of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on November 22, 2020.


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