An update on Canada’s National Housing Strategy
Steve Pomeroy, arguably Canada’s top affordable housing policy expert, has written a status update on Canada’s National Housing Strategy (NHS). His overview includes some great background material on Canadian housing policy generally.
Points raised in his analysis include the following:
-The Trudeau government’s much-anticipated NHS was unveiled in November 2017.
-In most provinces and territories, federal funding accounts for less than 10% of homelessness funding. Provincial, territorial and municipal orders of government fund most of the rest. Yet, just 5% of new funding under the NHS has been earmarked towards the Trudeau government’s goal of reducing chronic homelessness by half.
-Our federal government is good at funding/financing affordable housing; provincial/territorial governments, by contrast, are good at housing program design and implementation. Each should stick to what it’s good at (ergo: the federal government should let provincial and territorial governments lead when it comes to program design/implementation). Sadly, history suggests that federal officials will be reluctant to treat provincial/territorial governments as equal partners during the implementation of the NHS.
-Canada’s federal government does a very poor job of enumerating new social (i.e., non-profit) housing builds.
-Steve thinks it’s a mistake for the federal government to require provincial/territorial cost-matching for the Canada Housing Benefit (which is an important component of the NHS); though he’s not suggesting provincial and territorial governments get a ‘free ride’ on it either.
-Non-profit housing providers across Canada have been having trouble accessing funding currently available under the NHS.
Steve’s full analysis can be found here: http://www.focus-consult.com/wp-content/uploads/What-will-2019-hold-for-Canada%E2%80%99s-affordable-housing-sector-Revised-.pdf
An overview of the NHS itself can be found here: http://calgaryhomeless.com/info/research-blog/ten-things-know-canadas-newly-unveiled-national-housing-strategy/
Nick Falvo is a Calgary-based research consultant. He has a PhD in public policy.