OTTAWA, October 25, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - The federal government can make better use of taxpayers' dollars in the 2011 budget without increasing spending by adopting practical policy measures to address the lack of affordable housing options for low-income Canadians in housing need, said Nicholas Gazzard, Executive Director of the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada (CHF Canada).
Gazzard made the economic case for affordable housing investment and transparency on behalf of Canada's 2,200 non-profit housing co-operatives to the federal Standing Committee on Finance as part of its annual pre-budget consultations. CHF Canada called for:
A transparent accountability framework linking federal housing spending to measurable outcomes helping Canadians in housing need;
A study on the consequences of the steady erosion of $1.7 billion in federal assistance for low-income families living in social housing and the impact this will have on the affordability of this housing;
Support for two co-operative legacy projects as part of the International Year of Co-operatives in 2012.
Gazzard recognized that the federal government made significant investments for social housing in the 2009 and 2010 budgets: namely $1 billion through Canada's Economic Action Plan and $1.9 billion over a five-year period announced in 2008 to fund the Affordable Housing Initiative (AHI).
"Canada's housing co-ops hope that the federal government can build on these significant investments," said Gazzard. "Co-ops are ready to work with governments at all levels to build on these successes by implementing CHF Canada's key proposals to safeguard Canada's aging social housing stock."
In its brief to the Committee, CHF Canada argued that Canadian taxpayers deserve to see better value for their hard earned dollars for the benefit of nearly four million Canadians in housing need. The federal government has the right to ask for transparency for AHI transfers to provincial and territorial governments, and future AHI transfers should require matching, long-term and predictable funding from provincial and territorial counterparts for the development of new affordable housing, including housing co-ops.
CHF Canada is the national voice of the Canadian co-operative housing movement. Its members include over 900 non-profit housing co-operatives and other organizations across Canada. More than a quarter of a million Canadians live in housing co-ops, in every province and territory.