Reports / Articles

April, 2003

Backgrounder from National Housing and Homelessness Network  

Affordable Housing Framework Agreement:
Federal, provincial, territorial committment for 27,200 units

The Affordable Housing Framework Agreement was signed in Quebec City in November, 2001, by the federal government and all the provinces and territories:

 ·        $1.36 billion in funding: Federal government committed $680 million over five years. Provinces and territories agreed to match, although loophole allows provinces to include money from municipalities or third parties as part of their share. Federal government added an extra $320 million in 2003 budget.

 ·        27,200 new units: Federal government will commit up to $25,000 per unit, with provinces and territories matching. Which means an average of 5,440 units per year over five years.

 ·        Affordability target: The agreement says the new units must be “for low to moderate income households”.

Affordable Housing Program Accountability Framework:

Provinces, territories have to account for spending, actions 

Bilateral housing deals signed between the federal government and seven provinces, plus all three territories, sets out an accountability mechanism, which states:

6.1 CMHC and MMAH agree that governments must be accountable to their constituents for the use of public funds through an open and transparent process which identifies expected results, measures performance, reports results to the public and provides for follow-up. The Parties therefore agree to implement the Affordable Housing Program Accountability Framework in Schedule C.  

The accountability framework includes: 

·        annual statement of expenditure, audited by a licensed auditor, that sets out the specifics of funding; plus,

·        annual performance report that sets out details on program and project activities.

 Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation may withhold funding, or funding already granted may be required to be refunded to CMHC, if it is not spent in accordance with the accountability framework.


NHHN backgrounder

 Housing and homelessness snapshot for Canada:
Growing homelessness, growing affordable housing crisis

 GROWING HOMELESSNESS: An estimated 250,000 Canadians will experience homelessness during the course of a year. A growing number are dying on the streets. The Toronto Disaster Relief Committee’s list of confirmed homeless deaths has grown to 300 names. Families with children are the fastest growing group of homeless.

 LACK OF AFFORDABILITY: In 1999, Statistics Canada reported that half of Canada’s 4.8 million renter households had annual incomes less than $20,947 – which means that they can afford an average rent of less than $524 per month. The poorest one-third (1.6 million households) had annual incomes less than $14,410 – leaving them with $360 per month for rent. 

LACK OF SUPPLY: Very little new affordable rental housing is being built in most parts of Canada since the federal government cancelled its support for new social housing units in 1993. Ontario cancelled its social housing program in 1995. In Ontario, the demolition and conversion of rental housing has outpaced new construction, leading to a net loss of housing units. 

ABORIGINAL:  “Aboriginal people are over-represented in Canada’s homeless population by a factor of about 10. Individuals of Aboriginal original account for 35% of the homeless population in Edmonton, 18% in Calgary, 11% in Vancouver, and 5% in Toronto, but only 3.8%, 1.9%, 1.7% and 0.4% of the general populations in those cities respectively. A disproportionate number of homeless people who sleep on the street rather than in shelters are of Aboriginal origin.” Dr. Stephen Hwang, Homelessness and Health, January 2001 

“Whereas before the 1980s very few people went unhoused, and no one was born homeless, today many thousands of Canadians have no housing and are excluded from community networks and the mainstream patterns of day-to-day life.” Dr. David Hulchanski, University of Toronto, Housing Policies for Tomorrow’s Cities, 2002

One percent Solution:
Comprehensive, fully-funded national housing strategy

 “In the space of fifteen years, Canada has moved from an active and substantive social housing program to the point where it no longer has a national social housing policy.”  Dr. Tom Carter, University of Winnipeg. 2000.

 The One Percent Solution calls on the federal government to commit $2 billion annually for new social housing, with another $2 billion from the provinces and territories. This would fund 30,000 new affordable units annually, plus other related housing programs.

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