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Ottawa think tank releases plan to end homelessness

 

Ottawa think tank releases plan to end homelessness

John Best

Canada can solve homelessness by 2030 if it implements the Recovery for All (RFA) campaign’s 6-point plan, according to the report, Recovery for All: Proposals to Strengthen the National Housing Strategy and End Homelessness released today. The plan would see an annual investment of about $5 Billion per year for ten years. The authors say their plan would actually be less expensive that current federal plans on the books and would help more people.

The report, commissioned by the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness (CAEH) and written by Steve Pomeroy, Senior Research Fellow at Carleton University Centre for Urban Research and Education (CURE), details measures to strengthen the National Housing Strategy (NHS). The existing NHS aims to reduce chronic homelessness by 50%. The plan proposed by Recovery for All would ensure housing for all those currently experiencing homelessness and prevent homelessness for those at risk due to high housing costs and precarious situations.

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Building on local COVID-19 emergency responses, the plan includes measures to create new affordable and supportive housing quickly through acquisition of existing properties and modular housing construction, as well as a new Homeless Housing Benefit to ensure people housed in hotels during COVID-19 are not sent back to shelters. The plan also proposes to more than double new construction of affordable housing under the NHS to 370,000 units over 10 years.

In addition to housing everyone currently experiencing homelessness, the plan aims to prevent homelessness for 300,000 households at risk who spend more than 50% of their income on rent.

The RFA plan will generate up to 500,000 jobs over the next 10 years, in both construction and in support services, which helps address the rising unemployment due to COVID-19.

Quick Facts:
  • Key elements of the plan include:
    • Ensuring housing for all those currently experiencing homelessness and preventing homelessness for over 300,000 households at risk due to high housing costs and precarious situations. This will be accomplished through a combination of rent subsidy and provision of geared to income units.
    • A new program for acquisition and conversion of hotels and apartments as well as the use of modular housing options for rapid creation of affordable and supportive housing—75,000 total units would be acquired over 10 years.
    • Boosting the total National Housing Strategy housing construction to 370,000 units by:
      • Expanding the supply of permanent supportive housing with 50,000 units of permanent supportive housing over 10 years; and,
      • Expanding affordable housing by proposing construction of 170,000 new affordable units.
    • Creating a distinct Urban Indigenous Housing Strategy to address the disproportionate number of Indigenous Peoples experiencing homelessness – with 30,000 dedicated units.
    • Expanding the Canada Housing Benefit with a new Homeless Housing Benefit to help a minimum of 55,000 people avoid or exit homelessness.
    • Enhancing the ability of social service agencies to purchase housing that can be converted to rental property by giving them first refusal over the REITS who are currently actively acquiring these properties.
    • Helping the federal government ensure the National Housing Strategy progressively realizes the right to housing by targeting investments to those in greatest need and providing a path to ending homelessness by 2030.

Read the full report by clicking here.

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