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by Josh Brandon
Monday, Feb. 01, 2016 at 12:29 PM
Two key ingredients have been essential for achieving positive results. Firstly, it is necessary to have a partner in government willing to listen and invest in housing. But equally important, activism at a local level is needed to mobilize knowledge and initiative to propose and develop projects...
to read Josh Brandon's article published on October 22, 2015 in rabble.ca, click on
Unfortunately, since the 1990s, the federal government has stepped away from involvement in the provision of public housing. Previously, Canada was a world leader in providing social housing, building over 600,000 units between the 1960s and 1980s. These investments have not only kept pace with growing demand, but now are at risk by the scheduled phase out of supports of individual housing projects over the next 20 years.
Poor housing is a problem for all Canadians. From a purely economic point of view, it makes no sense to bar residents from access to quality housing. Investing in social housing produces tangible benefits in education, improved health and in reductions in crime. For every 100 households kept out of homelessness by investments in social housing, society realizes benefits of close to million over the cost of the housing provided in savings. Moreover, without quality housing, participation in the economy, as either workers or taxpayers is limited. More significant than these financial gains, a commitment to housing is needed to heal the social, racial and class divides that scar our city.
Housing is a universal human right and a social obligation. In the 2015 federal election, for the first time in years, the topic of housing was seriously addressed by several of the competing parties. The commitments made by prime minister-elect Justin Trudeau to make investing in affordable housing a major priority of his -billion infrastructure program presents a significant opportunity for housing advocates to achieve progress and to finally see Canada join the ranks of other developed economies by implementing strong national housing policy.
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