CHRA’s Blueprint for Housing

CHRA’s Blueprint for Housing is an in-depth policy document that will help inform CHRA’s advocacy efforts over the coming decade as we work towards our goal of ensuring that all who live in Canada have access to safe, affordable, appropriate housing. Read on to learn more about the Blueprint and its recommendations.

 

Background

Informed by an extensive consultation process with CHRA members, housing leaders, and stakeholders, the Blueprint for Housing was born of a sector-wide realization: that existing housing policies and programs are not doing enough to ensure that all who live in Canada have homes that are affordable and meet their needs. The Blueprint outlines the key issues facing Canada’s community housing sector and identifies 27 recommendations to address them.

 

Key issues

Effectively addressing Canada’s current housing issues requires strong federal leadership through new and enhanced programs and a commitment to championing housing action with other levels of government, organizations, and the private sector. Fulfilling the goals of the Blueprint also requires working in collaboration with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), provinces, territories, municipalities, Indigenous organizations, and other partners, including the private sector, to find common ground to address our shared vision.

The Blueprint for Housing’s recommendations fall under six main headings.

 

Urban, Rural, and Northern Indigenous housing: Implementing Reconciliation for Indigenous peoples

Housing outcomes for Indigenous peoples living in urban, rural, and northern (URN) settings are considerably poorer when compared to the non-Indigenous population. The lack of a comprehensive approach to addressing urban, rural, and northern Indigenous housing remains the “missing gap” in the National Housing Strategy. The recommendations in this chapter expand upon the following:

  • Implementing a “For Indigenous, By Indigenous” housing strategy
  • Supporting Indigenous self-determination
  • Preserving existing Indigenous community housing stock
  • Building an evidence-based approach to Indigenous community housing
  • Championing an URN Indigenous housing strategy

 

Community Housing Supply: Meeting the needs of the next generation

Canada needs more community housing stock. Federal withdrawal from the non-profit housing sector starting in the mid-1980s meant that an insufficient supply of non-profit housing has been built in the intervening years. This combined with the fact that incomes have not kept up with rising rents over the past several years has increased the demand for affordable housing. CHRA recommends tools and initiatives to increase the stock of community housing including:

  • Ensuring the provision of land for community housing development
  • Increasing the rate of community housing development
  • Making funding applications more accessible
  • Making property acquisition simpler
  • Building professionalism and capacity in the housing sector
  • Maximizing the effectiveness of the Housing Accelerator Fund
  • Combatting NIMBYism

 

Existing Community Housing Stock: repair and renewal

The current stock of affordable housing is aging and has not received the investment necessary to maintain it in a satisfactory condition. As a result, many units are in poor condition for tenants, are energy inefficient, or are no longer habitable. CHRA’s recommendations in this chapter are geared towards solutions that accelerate and support repair and renewal of the existing stock of housing:

  • Simplifying the application process for funds related to housing renewal
  • Aligning government programs and policies
  • Building a greener housing sector
  • Creating accessible housing

 

Maintaining Affordability

If the community housing sector is going to be able to continue to offer affordable, below market rents to populations and tenants in greatest need, short- and long-term changes must be made to the federal government’s philosophy around housing, including its programs and policies. Action on the recommendations found in this chapter will work to protect housing affordability in Canada:

  • Ensuring the future of rental subsidy programs
  • Planning for rental subsidy programs
  • Ensuring the distribution of rental subsidies across the country
  • Ensuring rental subsidies reach those who need them most

 

A Home for All: Eliminating homelessness and strengthening supportive housing

Canada’s homeless population is growing, with individuals often unable to effectively access housing and much-needed services. It is imperative that providers maintain and grow service offerings to get those experiencing homelessness off the streets, and into supportive housing: a proven, cost-effective way to help people live stable and productive lives. CHRA’s recommendations to meet the needs of those experiencing homelessness involve:

  • Working to eliminate homelessness
  • Increasing support services
  • Developing more supportive housing

 

A “Team Canada” Approach to Housing

Canada’s affordable housing crisis is worsening, and the community housing sector cannot solve it alone. We need a “Team Canada” approach to housing: rallying all levels of government, non-traditional actors, including the private sector, and people in communities across the country to address Canada’s housing woes. This involves:

  • Creating partnerships to increase affordable housing development
  • Limiting the financialization of housing
  • Increasing housing across the housing spectrum
  • Modernizing the housing sector

 

Read CHRA’s Blueprint for Housing to see our full list of recommendations for creating a healthy, vibrant community housing sector that’s able to address Canada’s affordable housing crisis.

Want to help us present our recommendations to elected federal officials? Register for Housing on the Hill Day 2022, coming up on September 27!