Homelessness in Canada
Ten Things You Should Know About Housing and Homelessness in Canada
Everyone in Canada has the right to a safe, secure, adequate and affordable home.
- Canada's private economy is booming, yet one in five Canadian families are living in poverty, with Aboriginal people, women and recent immigrants bearing the heaviest burden.
- Canadians are divided along housing lines: Tenant household incomes are falling, even as rents rise faster than inflation — creating a nation-wide affordability squeeze. Owner household incomes are increasing, but rapidly rising house prices are pricing even middle-income households out of the market.
- Over the last decade, less than one in every 100 new homes built in Canada was truly affordable — creating a nation-wide supply squeeze. As our population increases, the need for new affordable homes also rises, but the number of new units remains desperately low.
- Government housing and social spending was cut in the 1980s and 1990s, which helped generate multi-billion federal surpluses, including big surpluses at Canada's national housing agency, but these surpluses have not been reinvested in new affordable homes.
- The United Nations called housing and homelessness a "national emergency" during its most recent review of Canada's compliance with international housing laws. Canada is falling short of its partners in the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development. Our social housing sector is smaller than most other developed countries.
- In September of 2005, federal, provincial and territorial housing ministers promised that they were "accelerating work" on a Canadian housing framework. The ministers haven't met since then, and no housing framework has been released.
- Canada has a record of housing success. National housing programs in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, funding more than half a million good quality, affordable co-operative and non-profit homes that continue to provide good homes to millions of women, men and children. All of those programs have been cancelled.
The preceding information comes from the Wellesley Institute.