Resolutions at CHF Canada’s 2009 annual meeting
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Resolution 3: Federal action on Canada’s Affordable Housing Shortage
MOVED BY: Board of Directors
Director, Corporate Affairs
311 – 225 Metcalfe Street
Ottawa, ON K2P 1P9
Tel: (800) 465-2752, ext.231
THAT CHF Canada call on the federal government to:
- develop a strategy that ensures the continuity of rent-geared-to-income (RGI) occupancy charges for the low-income households of federally funded housing providers, after current funding agreements expire;
- extend CMHC’s Direct Lending Program to non-profit community housing providers so that providers can blend existing mortgage debt with new long-term borrowing, allowing them to reinvest in their housing and preserve Canada’s affordable housing legacy for the next generation;
- with the provinces, territories and affordable housing stakeholders, develop a strategy to reduce and eventually eliminate chronic homelessness and core housing need in Canada.
OUR REASONS FOR THIS RESOLUTION ARE:
- At every annual meeting, the board prepares a resolution that outlines the main housing issues facing our country.
- Over the past few years, CHF Canada has helped convince the federal government – no matter which party formed the government – to continue to allocate federal funds to provinces and territories for housing programs, including new development. In its January 2009 Budget, the federal government proposed that over three billion dollars in federal contributions and loans be used for housing purposes. In particular, the Harper government said it would contribute $1 billion toward the renovation and retrofitting of Canada’s social housing; housing co‑ops will make good use of this federal contribution.
- Housing co‑operatives under federal jurisdiction need federal action. Rent-geared-to-income subsidies for low-income households were reduced in the Section 95 program until the former Liberal government was finally persuaded to fix this problem in 2005. At previous annual meetings, members have passed resolutions that propose that up to 50% of the homes in Canada’s housing co‑ops could be made available to low-income households, if new subsidies are available. This would represent about 10,000 more affordable homes in housing co‑ops.
- Co‑ops have a more urgent problem, too. When their federal operating agreements end – and all will end by 2020 – RGI subsidies also end. Low-income members are worried about whether they will be able to stay in their co‑op homes, without government subsidies. Co‑ops are worried about whether they will be able to continue to provide housing to low-income households.
- So, a new federal subsidy program needs to be designed so that housing co‑ops can continue to serve low-income households. Without a new program, the public investment in these co ops will be lost.
New Direct Lending
- Most of Canada’s housing co‑ops, built in the late 1970s and 1980s, now need renovation, retrofitting modernization so as to save energy. Although the new federal program will help many, other co‑ops will need to borrow money to carry out the work they need. So, the federal government should make loans available to housing co‑ops through CMHC’s Direct Lending Program, which offers lower interest rates than co‑ops would find from other lenders. The greatest benefits will be found if co‑ops are able to consolidate their existing first mortgage obligations into new financing.
National Housing Strategy
- Today, nearly 4 million Canadians remain in core housing need, paying more than 30% of their income for housing, or living in inadequate homes. Some 250,000 Canadians are homeless. Canada’s affordable housing needs have been known for many years. Housing co op members have been leaders in the lobby for more affordable housing in Canada.
- Affordable housing is a national challenge. Many housing groups, along with others like the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, have called on the federal government to lead in the development of a national housing strategy. Canada continues to be the world’s only industrialized nation without a national housing strategy.
- The development of a national housing strategy will bring together the federal government, provinces, territories and municipalities, as well as affordable housing groups, to address Canada’s housing need.
WE THINK THAT THIS WILL COST:
Funding for CHF Canada’s government relations and lobbying activities have been included in the 2009 and 2010 operating budgets.