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Budget a disaster for housing crisis, co-ops say
February 23, 2005
For housing co-ops trying to find homes for thousands of needy people on their waiting lists, todays federal budget is a huge disappointment.
The budget talks about delivering on commitments, said Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada President RenÉ Daoust, but where is the $1.5 billion promised in the last election for affordable housing?
Our members are called constantly by people desperate for affordable housing. We want to help them but we dont have the resources to cope with the housing crisis on our own.
Canadas housing co-ops, built under various federal and provincial housing programs, house a quarter of a million Canadians in over 90,000 affordable homes. There are co-ops in every province and territory.
But housing co-ops depend on government subsidies and rent supplements to keep their units affordable. In recent years, many of them have seen those subsidies drastically reduced.
Housing co-ops have been pushing the federal government for a national rent supplement program for co-ops and other non-profit housing, and programs to build or renovate new units.
The government has recognized that 1.7 million people dont have adequate shelter and yet theyre not planning on doing anything about it. We were pleased to be involved in Housing Minister Joe Fontanas national consultations, aimed at creating a framework for addressing housing and homelessness problems in Canada. We need additional rent supplements to make existing co-ops more affordable. And we need more affordable housing. The budget talks about investing in people children and their families, in seniors, in disabled people. But how will this help these people if they dont have homes. These are the very people were trying to help. But we cant do it without money.
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