“We know that everyone truly deserves a safe and affordable place to call home – it’s the right thing to do”
KENORA – Last week’s column highlighted some of the federal initiates and programs underway to create more safe and affordable housing in Northwestern Ontario. Since 2016, more than $5.7-billion has been invested in housing projects across Canada. These investments have helped almost a million families find a home such as seniors, Indigenous people, women and children fleeing domestic violence and young adults.
But what do these investments mean for Northwestern Ontario? The Kenora Riding alone has received investments of over $49-million, which means 917 affordable housing units have been built or repaired. In addition, over $16-million have been invested in housing subsidies, which means 5,219 rental units were made more affordable for Northerners. In total, that’s over $65-million in housing investments for the North.
For example, safe, secure, and affordable housing is a fundamental issue for our seniors in the North. In Canada, there are more seniors over the age of 65 than there are children under the age of 15. In addition, seniors comprise about a third of the households living in community housing and they should not have to choose between paying rent and buying groceries or their medications. That’s why I support Canada’s first ever National Housing Strategy (NHS), 10-year, $40-billion plan, which will help Northerners and seniors with a place to call home.
Phase I of the NHS – the Federal Community Housing Initiative, which began April 1, 2018, will provide funding over a two-year period to assist federally-administered community housing projects. The Strategy will create some 7,000 new housing units, as well as renovate existing units to keep community housing affordable. It also offers direct funding to low-income seniors struggling to make ends meet.
We know there is a lot more work to do to ensure that every Northerner, young or old, has access to affordable housing, but this is a very strong start, and I am confident that we will continue to see strong growth in the availability and affordability of community housing.
We know that everyone truly deserves a safe and affordable place to call home – it’s the right thing to do for the North, and it’s the right thing for Canada.