Day of Action for Public Housing

An invitation from: Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) – Ontario; Front d’action populaire en réaménagement urbain (FRAPRU) – Quebec; Carnegie Community Action Project (CCAP) – British Columbia

There is a severe shortage of so­cial housing in Canada, a direct result of the federal government’s failure to fund new housing proj­ects over the last 24 years, and its gradual strangling of funding to maintain the existing housing stock. The situation has reached a point where buildings are liter­ally crumbling for the want of repairs and thousands of units are being boarded up. Vacancy rates are at zero and wait-lists in major urban centres have grown so large that many people have to wait for over a decade for a unit to become available.

Meanwhile, even as most peo­ple’s real incomes drop, specula­tion in the private housing mar­ket has elevated rents to absurd heights. The combination of the two factors, coupled with poor provincial rent control, has sent poverty and homelessness on an upward spiral. Housing has been transformed from a basic hu­man need to a commodity that is bought and sold solely for maxi­mizing profit.

Rather than deal with the crisis, the federal Liberals are playing tricks. In this year’s budget, the Trudeau government announced a plan to spend $11 billion on affordable housing. But as oth­ers have pointed out, the an­nouncement is mere smoke and mirrors. First, the money will be spent over 11 years. Second, the spending plan is unjustifiably backloaded. In the two years the Liberals have left before the next election, they will spend less than 3% of that pledged amount, at best increasing existing social housing stock by 0.2%, and will allot a big fat $0 to renewing federal, provincial and territorial partnerships in housing. In keep­ing with the Liberal record, they promised a mountain but aren’t even delivering a mole hill.

Let’s not be fooled by this Liberal treachery. We all deserve decent affordable public housing and we must fight to win it. So this November 22, the National Housing Day, we are calling on groups across the country to join together and demand that the Liberals spend 100% of that $11.2 billion within their current mandate, on building and fixing social housing. We urge groups to endorse this call and organize local actions on November 22 that respond to the social housing needs in your communities. Our basis of unity is our resolve to win the following demands and a commitment to respect local autonomy of actions taken and tactics used.

We demand that the Trudeau Liberals:

  • Spend 100% of the $11.2 bil­lion announced in the March 2017 budget within the next two years to respond to the crisis of social housing plaguing the country.
  • Renew federal subsidies to low-income tenants in existing social housing (co-op, nonprofit and public).
  • Build new social housing units with rent-geared-to income sub­sidies that are affordable to peo­ple living on social assistance and old age pension.
  • Eliminate homelessness and pri­oritize needs of those in precarious housing situations, especially mar­ginalized groups including on and off-reserve Indigenous communi­ties, recent immigrants, racialized communities, lone parent families and single seniors, women fleeing violence, disabled people, youth, people on social assistance, and the working poor.

Join us!

To endorse this call or to organ­ize an action locally, contact the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty at ocap@tao.ca.


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