National Housing Statistics

September 19, 2008

Caring Community

A constituent recently sent me these statistics on housing that have been published by the Wellesley Institute.  One of the federal policies that Mayor Hazel McCallion is calling for is a national housing strategy.

Housing insecurity at record levels

  • One-in-four Canadian households pay 30% or more of their income on housing – that’s three million households, or close to eight million women, men and children.
  • Housing is the biggest expense for low, moderate and middle-income households; housing costs over the past decade grew faster than inflation even though incomes were stagnant.
  • High housing costs are a key reason that 720,231 people across Canada lined up at food banks in March of 2007.
  • In the early 1980s, more than 10 out of every 100 new homes in Canada were truly affordable. By 2007, less than one-in-one-hundred new homes were truly affordable.
  • Canada’s rental vacancy rate has been below 3% (the danger zone) since the year 2000.
  • More than 300,000 Canadians experience homelessness annually; the number of shelter beds in Canada jumped by 22% in one year to 26,872 in 2007.

Federal investments lowest in two decades

  • Federal housing investments of $2 billion in 2008 are at their lowest level since 2002. On a per-capita basis, or as a percentage of Canada’s Gross Domestic Product, federal housing investments in 2008 were at their lowest level in two decades.
  • Federal per capita spending on housing of $61 is about half the $115 average per capita among the ten provinces.
  • Compared to our partners in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Canada has slipped from number two in 1980 to number seven in 2003.
  • In 2006, the United Nations called housing and homelessness in Canada a “national emergency”, a finding confirmed by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing after his official fact-finding mission to Canada in 2007.

Key federal investments set to expire

  • The federal homelessness program (Homelessness Partnering Initiative – $135 million annually) expires in fiscal 2008. Hundreds of programs and services in 61 communities will be forced to wind down in the fall of 2008.
  • The federal housing repair program (Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program – $128 million annually) expires in fiscal 2008. Tens of thousands of homes are assisted annually.
  • The $1.4 billion in affordable housing investments authorized by Parliament in 2005 (Bill C-48) has been fully allocated and no new affordable investments are scheduled.
  • From 2004 to 2012, net income for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (the federal housing agency) will rise by 49% to $1.4 billion annually, but CMHC affordable housing spending will drop by 95% to a mere $8 million for the entire country in 2012.

 The Wellesley Institute //

45 Charles Street East, Suite 101, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M4Y 1S2

About Karen Farbridge

An unwavering change maker seeking a just, democratic and sustainable world.

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