OTTAWA – Anti-poverty advocates are asking the federal government to invest $3.2 billion annually starting next year to update old and build new affordable housing units across the country.
The pre-budget ask from seven groups is aimed at helping the 235,000 Canadians who experience homelessness every year, and social housing providers who are beginning to see the end of federal funding agreements signed decades ago with no new capital funding in sight.
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Affordable housing groups from Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec and New Brunswick, along with three national groups, hope to land $1.7 billion so housing providers and cities can update the 600,000 affordable housing units in Canada.
They are also asking for $1.5 billion to build 100,000 new affordable housing units to help cut down wait lists in Canada’s biggest cities.
Tim Richter, CEO of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, said there is an acute housing crisis in Canada with nearly one in four Canadian households unable to afford housing. The situation will only get worse in the coming years without federal action, he said.
Richter said the money his group and others are asking for could eliminate chronic and episodic homelessness in Canada.
© 2016 The Canadian Press