Canada’s co-op housing apex asks election candidates to put housing on their agenda

The Co-operative Housing Federation has released a six-point platform to solve the country’s housing issues

Ahead of the federal election on 20 September, Canada’s Co-operative Housing Federation (CHF) has launched a campaign to end homelessness and address the housing need.

CHF has also released a six-point platform to solve the country’s housing problems and is asking Canadians to help raise awareness about the campaign. It says 1.7 million households live in a home that is either unaffordable, overcrowded or needs major repairs, while 35,000 Canadians experience homelessness on any given night.

Those wishing to join the campaign can use the platform to send letters to the five major party leaders and local candidates. Over 3,500 have used the platform so far to send letters.

Via the Vote Housing platform, CHF suggests six policies that parties should adopt to end homelessness and housing need. These include an indigenous housing strategy with dedicated investments and an indigenous-led governance structure; committing to the prevention and elimination of homelessness; and developing a minimum of 50,000 units of supportive housing over a decade.

It also calls for building and acquiring a minimum of 300,000 units of affordable non-market, co-operative and non-profit housing over a decade. Other policies are the expansion of rental assistance for low-income households and the progressive realisation of the right to housing.

CHF argues that the financialisation of rental housing in Canada is taking affordable housing out of the market faster than it can be replaced. According to the apex, between 2011 and 2016 over 320,000 units of rental housing were lost to financialisation but the current National Housing Strategy only aims to create 150,000 units over 10 years. More than five million Canadians are worried about paying their rent, adds CHF.

As part of its Vote Housing campaign, CHF hosts a National Housing Debate on 7 September, where representatives from each of the five major political parties will discuss affordable housing and homelessness in Canada.

The apex is encouraging Canadians to pledge their support for the campaign and vote for parties and candidates who aim to address housing issues.

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