Bold commitments to end chronic homelessness and build more affordable housing
Tuesday’s Speech from the Throne follows the historic commitment to completely eliminate chronic homelessness made in September 2020’s Throne Speech by promising to prioritize action on affordable housing and homelessness “whether it was building more units per year, increasing affordable housing, or ending chronic homelessness, the Government is committed to working with its partners to get real results."
“I can’t remember a federal government that has put this much focus on housing and homelessness. But it will be the results that matter,'' says Tim Richter, President and CEO of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness and Chair of Vote Housing. “Housing is a major concern for Canadians who overwhelmingly support federal government action. I joined my colleagues from the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada, The Canadian Lived Experience Leadership Network and The Canadian Housing and Renewal Association making the case for a reset on housing heading into this Throne Speech.”
The commitments in Tuesday’s Throne Speech are encouraging, and Vote Housing will be pushing the government to make the necessary investments to realize them. Stemming from our 2021 federal election campaign, Vote Housing has put together Our Action Plan for Parliament outlining our six campaign policies alongside the IMMEDIATE actions that Parliament can take to end homelessness and make housing safe and affordable for all.
While there is much that we will be looking for in the forthcoming federal budget, given the commitments in the Throne Speech, what was missing is a commitment to an Urban, Rural and Northern Indigenous Housing Strategy. This is a disappointing and dangerous oversight given 1 in 15 Indigenous peoples living in an urban centre will experience homelessness compared to 1 in 128 for the general population. In order for Canada to meet its Reconciliation goals, it must meaningfully address the inequity and violence of colonization. A "For Indigenous, By Indigenous" urban, rural and northern Indigenous housing strategy is a critical missing component of the National Housing Strategy, and needs to be a key priority.
Housing need and homelessness are solvable, and we have made a good start. Vote Housing and all our partners are ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work on our shared goals with the federal government. Now is the time to ensure the promises outlined in the Throne Speech are followed with the resources to achieve them, and commitments lead to a reality where everyone has a safe place to call home.