Every Canadian has a right to a roof over their head. Charlie Angus’ plan for a rebuilt Canadian economy that puts the new working-class first will tackle affordability for all, the social housing deficit, and homelessness. The CMHC, Canada’s housing Crown corporation, has been running large surpluses and will be returning $4 billion dollars to government coffers, with over $500 million expected annually in the future.
Charlie will put that money to immediate use in making a right to housing a reality, and continue that investment over time.
What Charlie will do
Housing markets should put housing first, and markets second.
Charlie would make it a priority to work with provincial and municipal governments in cities facing housing affordability crises to help develop and support local solutions adapted to local needs.
To help ensure access, create a National Low Income Housing Benefit.
As one part of a solution to an acute need for affordable housing, Charlie would create a new benefit to ensure that everyone has access to affordable housing outside of formal social housing. This benefit would cover 75% of the gap between actual cost and a reasonable rate of rent-geared-to-income for people and families with low incomes. With an investment of $1.1 billion a year, we can help house nearly a million people affordably and securely.
To help ensure supply, create an Affordable Housing Initiative Credit.
This new credit would have a maximum yearly amount, $150 million, allocated to it, with priority for credits going to communities with high core housing need as identified by CMHC. Rent in units built through this credit will be capped at 80% of market rate, and 20% of units will be set aside for tenants from Housing First programs. This initiative would make available 4,800 new affordable housing units per year.
After decades of neglect, it’s time for Canada to step back up to the plate. Canada has 600,000 housing units, many of which are in disrepair or financially unsustainable with current federal commitments. Charlie will:
Tackle the acute crisis facing our existing social housing units.
Many of Canada’s social housing units are threatened by federal neglect. Committing an extra $1 billion a year to maintain existing units is essential. Even with no new funding from the provinces and territories, this would preserve 10,000 units for 25 years.
Build new affordable homes.
Charlie would commit an extra $1 billion a year, working with the provinces and territories as partner to build 10-15,000 new homes a year and funding them for 25 years. New units will be mix of new social housing and more financially sustainable co-operative mixed-income housing.
Promote community ownership of new housing and land
Charlie would work to expand co-operative housing, a model that promotes integrated communities and democratic control of local resources, and community land trusts. On top of new funding for mixed-income housing detailed above, he will ensure that CMHC dedicates a considerable portion of its Affordable Rental Housing Innovation Fund to co-operative development, and work to make federal land available to community trusts for the purpose of building affordable housing.
Invest in supportive housing.
Canada needs better housing for people in need of care or related services. Charlie would invest $1 billion annually into building more supportive housing, which would serve to fund an additional 5000 units per year.
Homelessness is a moral blight on a country that can afford to give every person a home. Nearly 250,000 Canadians experience homelessness in any given year – and 35,000 Canadians are homeless on any given night. Charlie will work to end homelessness in Canada through the affordability and new social housing initiatives described above, as well as the following measures.
A firm commitment to ending homelessness in Canada.
As leader, Charlie will commit to ending homelessness. This will be backed up by setting clear criteria and definitions, clear milestones, and measurable outcomes, as well as empowering local leadership and emphasizing proven solutions like Housing First and preventive measures.
Adequately fund the Homelessness Partnering Strategy.
Charlie would expand the HPS, which provides federal support directly to communities to empower them to implement local solutions, has a proven track record.