The following video presents “Michael Shapcott – Affordable Housing and Homelessness in Canada November 20, 2012.”

  • Michael Shapcott is Director of Affordable Housing and Community Innovation at the Wellesley Institute, an independent, non-profit policy, research and social enterprise / innovation institute.
    • Shapcott has worked extensively in Toronto, in many parts of Canada, nationally and internationally on housing and housing rights, poverty, social exclusion, urban health and health equity.
      • He has worked with community and municipal officials in a dozen Canadian cities to develop local housing plans.
      • Shapcott has worked with Aboriginal housing and service providers nationally and in a number of communities to develop practical and effective strategies for Aboriginal housing under Aboriginal control.
      • He is co-author, with Jack Layton, of “Homelessness: The Making and Unmaking of a Crisis” (Penguin, 2008) and co-editor, with David Hulchanski, of “Finding Room: Policy Options for a Canadian Rental Housing Strategy” (CUCS Press, 2004).
    • He has worked on housing rights issues with the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.
      • He is co-chair of Canada’s National Housing and Homelessness Network.
      • He is active internationally with the Habitat International Coalition and has worked with community partners on housing issues in Beijing, Istanbul and Nairobi, as well as seven U.S. cities.
  • United Nations Human Rights: International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Part III, Article 11 states:
    1. The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions. The States Parties will take appropriate steps to ensure the realization of this right
  • Duration of video is 53 minutes:40 seconds.

This is an update to the following previous blogs:

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, Chair of the Big City Mayors’ Caucus at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) meeting in Ottawa (October 28, 2013), just launched the Fixing Canada’s Housing Crunch campaign.

  • This is FCM’s national campaign calling on:
    • all orders of government in Canada to focus on the high cost of housing, the most urgent financial issue facing Canadians — Fixing Canada’s Housing Crunch.
    • the federal government to commit to a long-term plan for housing, working with municipalities and all orders of government to address the following crucial issues.

      • Rising housing costs have pushed Canadians’ personal debts to record level.
        • According to CBC News report, the Royal Bank of Canada’s August survey released the following figures:
          1. The average level of personal debt in Canada rose 21 per cent this year to $15,910.
          2. Since Alberta was hit hard by floods early in the summer, its average debt loads jumped 63 per cent to $24,271.
          3. Western Canadians carried the highest levels of debt, with average personal debt loads in British Columbia up 38 per cent to $15,549 and in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, up 32 per cent to $16,145.
          4. Among Eastern Canadians, average debt in Ontario was up 13 per cent to $17,416, in Quebec up three per cent to $10,458 and in Atlantic Canada, up 12 per cent to $15,243.
      • A growing number of Canadians are being priced out of the housing market, putting pressure on a crowded rental market and crumbling affordable housing units, and forcing the most vulnerable citizens onto the streets.
        • Bankruptcies among Canadian retirees is on the rise since the increase in debt among seniors was the biggest year-over-year of all age groups.
        • The number of families and young children accessing emergency shelters in Waterloo Region of Ontario has more than tripled since 2008.
        • Ontario’s minimum wage is not enough for people to meet the minimum affordable housing wage.
          • In 2012, minimum wage was $10.25 and the minimum affordable housing wage for a bachelor apartment was $12.38.
        • A bachelor rental apartment is unaffordable for people reliant on social assistance alone.
          • In 2012, an Ontario Works recipient’s housing allowance was $376, and an Ontario Disability Support Program recipient would get $479.
          • The average rent for a bachelor unit is $644 per month.

Did you know?

  • One in four Canadians is paying more than they can afford for housing, and mortgage debt held by Canadians now stands at just over $1.1 trillion.
    • These costs are undermining Canadians’ personal financial security while household debt, as the Bank of Canada notes, is putting our national economy at risk.
  • At the same time, $1.7 billion in annual federal affordable housing investments are set to expire, with the greatest drop, $500 million, slated for the next five years.

“Our cities and communities need a stable and secure housing market that creates jobs, attracts new workers, meets the needs of seniors and young families, and keeps our most vulnerable citizens off the streets.

“We believe the government’s commitment in Budget 2013 to evidence-based solutions such as the Housing First approach for homelessness is a promising start, but they need to back it up with real results and expand that action to other areas of our affordable housing problem. Canada’s housing challenges are too big and too complex for any single order of government to solve on its own.”

Gregor Robertson, Mayor of Vancouver and Chair of the Big City Mayors Caucus

This video presents “Restoring Hope for the Homeless in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side.

  • “British Columbia (BC) is leading Canada in the creation of innovative programs addressing the needs of the homeless.
  • To protect and upgrade an important source of affordable housing stock for people at risk of homelessness, BC Housing acquired 26 Single Room Occupancy (SRO) hotels.
  • The SRO Renewal Initiative will renovate and restore 13 SRO hotels in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and provide a sustainable model for social housing.
    • This work will help to revitalize the neighbourhood and provide approximately 900 residents with safe, clean and affordable housing.
  • The SRO initiative represents a groundbreaking model for public‐private partnerships (P3) in Canada.
    • By bundling the renovation and maintenance of the 13 SRO hotels, it represents a new infrastructure class and is the first P3 that leverages federal funding through the P3 Canada Fund under the Brownfield redevelopment category.
    • With this initiative, B.C. is leading P3 innovation across Canada.

Above, Social Housing in a SRO hotel in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

Above, Social Housing in a SRO hotel in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

The City of Toronto fully supports Fixing Canada’s Housing Crunch.

  • According to Councillor Ana Bailão (Ward 18 Davenport), there are more than 90,000 Toronto households on the social housing waiting list.
  • Last June, Toronto launched its own social housing campaign – Close the Housing Gap – designed to persuade the federal and provincial governments to put people first by continuing to fund social housing at existing levels and by making new, long-term funding available for social housing capital repairs.
  • Along with many other municipalities across Canada, Toronto will host a forum to engage residents in the FCM campaign.

As part of the campaign, FCM is launching an interactive website at www.fcm.ca/housingcrunch.

  • The site also provides the results to the new housing survey, tools and information that illustrate why Canadians continue to struggle to pay for the costs of shelter.

Please Help to Fix Canada’s Housing Crunch

Please help spread the news!

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

NEWS RELEASE

October 28, 2013

Toronto joins national campaign to fix housing crunch

The City of Toronto fully supports Fixing Canada’s Housing Crunch, the campaign launched today by Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, Chair of the Big City Mayors’ Caucus at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ (FCM) meeting in Ottawa. The campaign calls on the federal government to establish a national housing strategy.

“This campaign is important because too many Canadians – seniors, low-income families, people with disabilities – are without an affordable home, and too many live in homes that desperately need health and safety repair and modernization,” said Councillor Ana Bailão (Ward 18 Davenport), Chair of the City’s Affordable Housing Committee, who was in Ottawa with Councillor Pam McConnell (Ward 28 Toronto Centre-Rosedale) for the campaign launch.

“With more than 90,000 Toronto households on the social housing waiting list, City Council is united in its view on this important issue,” said Councillor Bailão. “We are here today to speak out on behalf of people like them who need their governments to step up – not step back – when it comes to supporting a strong housing system, a system that maintains our national social housing legacy and meets the growing housing needs across our country.”

Last June, Toronto launched its own social housing campaign – Close the Housing Gap – designed to persuade the federal and provincial governments to put people first by continuing to fund social housing at existing levels and by making new, long-term funding available for social housing capital repairs.

Along with many other municipalities across Canada, Toronto will host a forum to engage residents in the FCM campaign.

More details about Close the Housing Gap can be found at http://www.putpeoplefirst.ca.

More information about Fixing Canada’s Housing Crunch campaign is available at http://www.fcm.ca/housingcrunch.

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. Toronto’s government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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