Municipal Leaders Launch New Campaign to Fix Canada's Housing Crunch (28/10/2013)
OTTAWA - The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) announced today that it is launching a campaign that calls on the federal government and all political parties to work with provincial, territorial and municipal leaders, as well as the private sector, to develop a credible long-term housing plan. This comes as new polling numbers were released that show one third of families are struggling to pay for the growing costs of housing.
"Our cities and communities need a stable and secure housing market that creates jobs, attracts new workers, meets the needs of seniors and young families, and keeps our most vulnerable citizens off the streets," said Gregor Robertson, Mayor of Vancouver and Chair of the Big City Mayors Caucus, who launched the campaign on Monday.
FCM members will be taking the campaign, entitled "Fixing Canada's Housing Crunch", to decision makers in Ottawa in the coming months in advance of the 2014 budget. The first step in the process is that communities in every region will be passing a resolution calling for the federal government to take action. Joining Mayor Robertson at the campaign launch were Luc Montreuil, City Councillor for Gatineau, and Ana Bailão, Toronto City Councillor and Toronto's housing campaign lead. Toronto will be the first in the country to put forward the resolution.
The high cost of housing in Canada is the most urgent financial issue facing Canadians today. According to Statistics Canada and the Bank of Canada, rising housing costs have pushed Canadians' personal debts to record levels and are putting Canada's national economy at risk with Canadians carrying more than $1.1 trillion worth of mortgage debt.
A growing number of Canadians are being priced out of the housing market, putting pressure on a crowded rental market and crumbling affordable housing units, and forcing the most vulnerable citizens onto the streets. Compounding these problems is the coming expiry of $1.7 billion annually in federal affordable housing dollars with the greatest drop in funding, $500 million a year, ending between 2014 and 2019. This will put 200,000 units at risk and could lead to a crisis unless all orders of government take action.
"We believe the government's commitment in Budget 2013 to evidence-based solutions such as the Housing First approach for homelessness is a promising start, but they need to back it up with real results and expand that action to other areas of our affordable housing problem. Canada's housing challenges are too big and too complex for any single order of government to solve on its own," added Mayor Robertson.
As part of the campaign, FCM is launching an interactive website at www.fcm.ca/housingcrunch. The site also provides the results to the new housing survey, tools and information that illustrate why Canadians continue to struggle to pay for the costs of shelter.