by Steve Randall
The federal government announced Thursday that it is adding more strength to the National Housing Strategy.
The right to adequate housing for all Canadians will be supported by several key initiatives:
- Requiring the adoption and maintenance of a National Housing Strategy (NHS), that prioritizes the housing needs of the most vulnerable and requires regular reporting to Parliament on progress toward the Strategy’s goals and outcomes.
- Establishing a National Housing Council with diverse representation, including persons with lived experience of housing need and homelessness. The Council, supported by CMHC, will provide advice to the Minister on questions related to the NHS with the aim of improving housing outcomes.
- Creating a Federal Housing Advocate, supported by the Canadian Human Rights Commission, to identify systemic housing issues facing individuals and households belonging to vulnerable groups, and provide an annual report to the Minister with recommended measures, which will be tabled in Parliament.
“Through the National Housing Strategy, more middle-class Canadians – and people working hard to join it – will find safe, accessible and affordable homes. Our proposed human rights-based approach to housing, as well as the resource centre, will help strengthen the National Housing Strategy, ensuring that it delivers concrete results for the benefit of all Canadians,” said Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
Also announced, is a new resource centre from CMHC which will be managed by the Community Housing Transformation Centre to build a strong and resilient community housing sector.
CHTC will receive $68.6 million for administering the resource centre and two important initiatives under the NHS:
- A Sector Transformation Fund to provide non-repayable contributions that support building a strong and resilient community housing sector.
- A Community-Based Tenant Initiative to provide contributions to local organizations whose purpose is to assist people in housing need, support tenants in accessing information on housing options, and encourage better participation in housing decisions that affect them.
“When CMHC held public consultations to develop the Strategy, we heard that Canadians believe everyone deserves to have the dignity of a home. The most promising way to sustain this approach for future generations is to protect it through legislation. Enshrining the need for a National Housing Strategy in law inherently acknowledges the value of a coordinated approach, a shared vision and real accountability. It is a way to bring housing and “rights” closer together. This idea really is central to our thinking at CMHC: housing matters,” said Evan Siddall, President and Chief Executive Officer Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.