Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Portable Supplement, Focus on Supply to Be Part of New Housing Strategy

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Portable Supplement, Focus on Supply to Be Part of New Housing Strategy

Article excerpt

Liberals prepare to unveil housing strategy

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OTTAWA - Those struggling to keep a roof over their heads -- whether looking to ease the burden of monthly rent payments or in desperate need of help to get off the streets -- will find out later this week how the Liberal government hopes to deal with Canada's ever-present shortage of affordable housing.

The details of the national housing strategy remain a closely guarded secret, but sources with knowledge of the government's plan say it will outline a federal push to build more affordable housing, set up new funding programs for housing providers, and provide rental benefits for those struggling in the private market.

With the ranks of Canada's homeless on the rise and more households straining to stay sheltered, housing providers and advocates have high hopes that the strategy will help with housing affordability overall.

"It's something that I think more and more Canadians can relate to," said Tim Ross, director of strategic affairs with the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada.

"Everyone is feeling the pinch."

Newly released data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. found that 1.7 million households were in "core housing need" in 2016, meaning they spent more than one-third of their before-tax income on housing that may be substandard or doesn't meet their needs.

Outside of Vancouver, the cities with the highest rates of core housing need were in Ontario. In Toronto, close to one in five households was financially stretched -- the highest rate in the country.

The government hopes that building 80,000 new affordable rental units, along with some $25 billion in government spending and private capital over the next decade, will ease that burden for 500,000 of those families and help another 500,000 avoid or escape homelessness.

"There are no silver bullets here and there's not enough money involved to completely solve the whole housing crisis, but there should be enough money to make a significant difference," said Tim Richter, CEO of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness. …

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