When the job market is still recovering, we should be working to ensure that more Canadians have a roof over their head. Yet the Conservative government is moving in the complete opposite direction: they are reducing federal support for affordable housing for the most vulnerable Canadians. The instability in people’s lives that comes from homelessness has a tremendous cost on the rest of society.
It makes it harder to rejoin the labour force, and causes declines in physical and mental health. For taxpayers, the costs of emergency services and shelters for the homeless are more expensive than providing them a place to live. An estimated 150,000 to 300,000 Canadians are homeless, and many more can’t afford housing with enough bedrooms for their family. It’s a major problem that strikes at the core of what our country stands for.
Yet the Conservative government is phasing out federal support for affordable housing in co-operatives that put the cost of housing within reach of low-income Canadians. In British Columbia alone, 2,857 households go to bed each night wondering where they will live when the government cuts off funding.
That’s not right. The federal government should be at the table with cities, provinces, churches and others who are trying to address the challenge of homelessness. Investing in affordable housing will help the most at-risk Canadians live healthy lives and contribute to the economy.
Everyone else gets it. Let’s hope the Conservatives will too.
Mauril Belanger, MP – Liberal Party of Canada