Canada has established its first-ever National Housing Strategy. This 10-year, $40-billion national initiative aims to create affordable housing that meets the needs of Canadians. The plan prioritizes vulnerable persons, encourages public participation in the development and evaluation of the policy, and promotes diverse, inclusive communities by building sustainable, accessible and mixed use housing. The strategy has three principles—people, community and partnerships, and was developed through consultation with a wide variety of stakeholders over a two-year period—from researchers and academics to people with lived experiences. The plan includes building more affordable, accessible, inclusive, and sustainable homes. Over the next 10 years, the strategy will provide housing for 530,000 families that are currently in need and cut chronic homelessness by 50%.
The plan is in action, with support and contributions from organizations across Canada, including provincial governments, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, First Nations groups and local organizations. The official website shares monthly videos showing personal stories that show the impact of the plan across Canada. The new strategy can already be seen and felt in communities, from opening the first permanent shelter in British Columbia’s Tri-City area, to a gender-inclusive shelter Wikwemikong Unceded Territory on Manitoulin Island in Ontario, to Mulgrave Park—a 300-unit affordable housing project in central Halifax.
The strategy is placing particular focus on meeting the needs of seniors, Indigenous Peoples, survivors of family violence, people with disabilities, refugees, veterans, and those grappling with homelessness. The plan reports that every year, 135,000 Canadians rely on shelters and that across Canada, 1.7 million Canadians are in need of affordable housing. To address this staggering population, and to help them find more effective, long-term solutions, strategists consulted persons with lived experience of homelessness. The strategy will make a 2.2 billion dollar investment to reduce chronic homelessness in Canada by 50% within the next 10 years. Rather than dictating how that money will be spent, local communities will be able to decide how to deliver housing measures and preventive strategies that meet their most pressing needs. A Veterans Emergency Fund has also been established to provide immediate financial help to any veteran who is in crisis, with a goal to eradicate veteran homelessness.
After safe, secure and affordable housing and mental and physical care, the next step to a new beginning for marginalized and homeless Canadians is meaningful employment. As a registered non-profit, WWU is working to support Streetohome’s mission to provide sustainable employment and purposeful activity for Canada’s marginalized populations. We operate a temporary staffing model, starting in Vancouver, BC, and we are looking to work with companies who want to foster thriving citizens through community inclusiveness and meaningful employment. If you want to learn more about how you can support our mission— download our program overview. Together we can rebuild lives.