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NATIONAL HOUSING STRATEGY UPDATE: JANUARY 2000




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A Message from MP Libby Davies (Vancouver East)

NATIONAL HOUSING STRATEGY UPDATE: JANUARY 2000

MESSAGE TO CLAUDETTE BRADSHAW:
ďTHANKS FOR THE HOMELESS STRATEGY Ė
BUT WHERE ARE THE HOMES ????Ē


Dear friends,

 Some of you have called my office to ask if Iím planning on going ahead
with my motion to establish a national housing strategy (M-123).  My answer
is YES!  Itís more important than ever to send a message to the federal
government that what is desperately needed are long-term solutions to the
housing crisis.

 The root cause of homelessness is a lack of housing.  Itís as simple as
that.  Housing activists have said it, reports have confirmed it, homeless
families know it.  Why wonít this government get it?

 On December 17th, Claudette Bradshaw and Alfonso Gagliano went to Toronto
to announce a three-year $753 million dollar homelessness strategy.  The
problem was, they left out the homes.

Itís like agreeing to build the house, but cutting off the money before the
roof is on!

 After months of consulting, and with a projected hundred billion dollar
budgetary surplus at their disposal, the Liberals announced only one new
program - the Supporting Communities Partnership Initiative.  Itís a $305
million investment stretched over three years.  Beyond that, the details
remain hazy.  Most have interpreted it to be a source of matching federal
funds for a patchwork of one-time local projects.  The rest of the new
money Ė targeted to existing emergency and RRAP programs - will go toward
shelters and temporary beds.

 Will this announcement solve the homelessness and housing crisis in Canada?
It will not.  And the reason it will not is because it fails to reverse the
governmentís fateful 1993 decision to withdraw from social housing
construction.

The Liberal solution is to institutionalize shelters Ė and thatís no
solution at all.


WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE ?

My motion (M-123) calls on the federal government to adopt a national
strategy and housing supply program, in co-operation with the provinces,
that recognizes housing as a human right and meets the goal of providing an
additional 1% of federal budgetary spending to meet basic housing needs in
Canada.



 A national housing strategy means:

-a federal investment of an additional 1% of overall spending.  This amounts
to an additional $2 billion annually on housing, a small amount compared to
a projected $100 billion federal surplus.

- a national approach that is national in scope and in vision - no more
patchwork solutions!

- a return to the supply of social housing.  The federal government has not
built any new social housing units since 1993.  Ottawa must heed the call of
the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and take the lead by funding a new
housing program that would create 70,000 new units annually over 10 years -
a total of 20,000 new units, 10,000 renovated units and 40,000 rent
subsidies.

Canada is the only developed country in the western world without a national
housing strategy.  Its time to turn that disgrace into a rallying point for
those of us who care about social justice and who want to live in a country
governed by compassion, not contempt for those struggling to make ends meet.

Keep your cards, letters and petitions of support coming in.  When my motion
is debated we need to send a message to the Liberal Cabinet that we expect a
meaningful response to this housing crisis Ė and that response must include
HOUSING!

Letís be clear - in a country as wealthy as ours, we have the resources, we
have the ability, all it takes is the political will!

Libby

PS Ė We still donít have a precise date as to when M-123 will be debated.
As soon as I know Ė you will!  In the meantime - if you have any questions
at all, donít hesitate to get in touch.  You can reach me by phone at
(613)992-6030, by e-mail at daviel9@parl.gc.ca, postage free to 483 West
Block, House of Commons, or by fax at (613)995-7412.


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