On March 11, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance tabled its final pre-budget report, which summarizes the appearances of over 92 presenting organizations and 175 written submissions from groups that were not invited to appear.
CHRA was pleased to see multiple mentions of the need for re-investment in affordable housing and homelessness, and specifically the inclusion of nine direct quotes from CHRA’s appearance before the Committee in February 2016, including:
[The government should commit to] long term funding so that social housing providers can leverage their assets and secure equity financing for capital renewal, retrofits and redevelopment. (Canadian Housing and Renewal Association)
[Although] the federal government should establish key principles and guidelines, funding decisions have to be made at the local level. … Investment has to take local needs into account. (Canadian Housing and Renewal Association)
[The government should commit $1.5 billion per year from the social infrastructure fund, alongside additional contributions from the green infrastructure fund, to build] 100,000 new units of affordable and social housing in order to reduce core housing need and homelessness among priority population households…(Canadian Housing and Renewal Association)
[The] development of some forms of affordable housing could be supported by more entrepreneurial approaches. For instance, acting as guarantor of a community-led housing bank would enable a lending facility that understands the distinct needs of the affordable housing sector… (Canadian Housing and Renewal Association)
It should be noted that other organizations joined the call for a reinvestment in affordable housing through their pre-budget appearances, including the Assembly of First Nations, the Large Urban Mayor’s Caucus of Ontario, YMCA Canada, the Canadian Association of Social Workers, and many others.
As a result, the committee summarized its housing-related recommendations with the following statement (recommendation 22):
The federal government establish a national housing strategy. In developing this strategy, the government should review the Housing First and Investment in Affordable Housing initiatives, housing co-operatives and measures to support first-time homebuyers.
Although occupying a prominent place in the pre-budget report is by no means a guarantee of funding in the actual budget, it indicates that CHRA has been effective at getting its message across to key political influencers of all stripes, which in turn helps generate more awareness of our issues amongst the media and other stakeholders groups.
The Minister of Finance will be presenting the 2016 Budget on March 22. CHRA will provide analysis of the Budget to its members as soon as possible.