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Home Policy Articles: Welfare & Social Issues: Housing


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2006 Manitoba Alternative Budget: Investing in Tomorrow, Today

Even though there have been positive signs in the Manitoban economy, this paper cautions that problems lie ahead: a) a growing gap between rich and poor; b) the inequality between women and men in income; c) poor environmental policy; d) a growing concern for farmers; e) a failing health care system; and f) a crumbling urban infrastructure.

Action for Neighbourhood Change Begins

In this brief article Anne Makhoul describes Action for Neighbourhood Change (ANC), a 14-month “strategic research and learning project that will assess how locally-driven revitalization strategies can help citizens build strong, sustainable neighbourhoods.”

Behind the Issues: Ontario 2003 - Investing in affordable homes

Michael Shapcott examines the issue of affordable housing in the provincial election campaign. He notes that, in the 1995 election, the Conservative government came to power on a promise to get the government out of the housing business and let the private market deliver new, much-needed affordable housing for low-income Ontarians.

Building Assets Through Housing

In many Canadian cities, middle-class homeowners are sitting on greater wealth than would have been the case than by simply saving.

Getting the Balance Right: Saskatchewan Alternative Budget, 2006-07

This alternative Saskatchewan budget, presented by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, focuses on three areas that the Centre considers undervalued: economic security, health services, and education.

Home Insecurity: The State of Social Housing Funding in BC

Recent trends in social housing in BC suggest that the issue of social housing funding has gained new urgency. According to John Irwin, senior levels of government have largely abandoned the social housing field, leaving those people who cannot afford housing, or who do not already have access to existing social housing programs, to fend for themselves.

Home Truths: Why the Housing System Matters to All Canadians

The book’s introduction is available as a PDF, however, the entire book can only be purchased from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA). In this book, author Andrew Jackson outlines links between housing and the well-being of all Canadians. He argues that Canada lacks an overarching policy framework to give housing a proper place on the policy agenda.

Housing is Good Social Policy

This is a full-length research paper from the CPRN, written by Tom Carter and Chesya Polevychok. In this document, the authors explore the relationship between housing and social policy, and the role that housing and housing policy play in making social policy more effective. The authors underscore the importance of housing as a platform for the success of other social policy areas.

Housing Policies: New Times, New Foundations

In this paper, Duncan Maclennan uses recent experiences of housing policies in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand as a basis to consider the possibilities and challenges vis-à-vis modern housing policies. While there are differences between and amongst the countries cited in the study, the author finds that many commonalities exist – particularly in terms of the social and economic processes that drive policy change.

Housing Policy for Tomorrow’s Cities

The starting point for Hulchanski’s research is the 2001 announcement by the Minister of Finance that the Government of Canada would spend $136 million per year, for five years, to assist in constructing affordable rental housing. Hulchanski suggests this is an insufficient amount to address the problems associated with urbanization; in her view this serves as another example where the federal government has demonstrated its lack of responsibility vis-à-vis dealing with housing problems in Canada.

Housing, Horizontality and Social Policy

In this paper, David Hay examines the implications of housing policy in Canada. He argues that access to affordable and adequate housing is essential for individuals and their well-being. In Hay’s view, suitable housing is critical to ensure good health, educational performance, job security, and community safety. He also points out that building and selling homes creates jobs, contributes to economic spending, and generates community investments and economic development. Therefore, it is important to carefully examine Canada’s housing policy.

Le Chantier in Saint-Michel – Tackling Poverty and Social Inclusion

Le Chantier de revitalisation urbane et sociale, a task force for urban and social renewal, was launched in March 2004 in Saint-Michel, a neighbourhood of Montreal.

Moving Forward: Alternative Federal Budget 2006

Analyzing the federal Conservative minority platform, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives presents an alternative federal budget that honours commitments to prior parliamentary decisions (including child care, First Nations, cities and Kyoto), improves the lives of Canadians, and meets international obligations (including aid commitments)

Our Winters of Discontent: Addressing the Problem of Rising Home Heating Costs

Due to Canada’s climate, residential heating is a necessity, and is largely provided by fossil fuels. Larry Hughes examines the vulnerability of residents to increases in the cost of natural gas, fuel oil, and electricity generated from fossil fuels.

Profiting From a Manufactured Housing Crisis

In Profiting From a Manufactured Housing Crisis, Michael Shapcott, of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, argues that Ontario is in the midst of a rental housing crisis. According to Shapcott, weakened tenant protection laws have allowed investors to buy up rental properties and drive up rents. This problem is compounded, in Shapcott’s view, by Conservative government cuts to housing and the downloading of responsibility for social housing from the Province to municipalities.

Review of Economic and Social Trends in Manitoba: Government Should not Step on Community's Toes in Housing

This brief report examines the federal government’s relationship with the provinces on housing issues. over the past 15 years. As Doug Smith explains, the federal government has given the provincial governments responsibility for managing existing social housing projects.

State of the Crisis, 2003: Ontario housing policies are de-housing Ontarians

In this report, Michael Shapcott examines housing policies in Ontario. According to Shapcott, Ontario has lost 45,000 private rental units over the past eight years; it has also lost 23,300 affordable social housing units, along with another 59,600 affordable social housing units that should have been built. The author contends that, no matter who’s measuring, there is a growing need for affordable rental housing in the Province.

Supporting Identity and Social Needs: The Many Faces of Co-op Housing

Ian Skelton’s paper Supporting Identity and Social Needs: The Many Faces of Co-op Housing, argues that co-operative housing could be a useful element of a new Canadian housing policy. Skelton bases this claim on a review of co-op housing policy in Canada, the United States, Australia, Sweden, and Great Britain; examining the nature of cooperatives and the different forms they take. He then establishes how co-operatives are situated vis-à-vis national housing policies in each of these countries, and applies the lessons learned from international experiences to Canada.

The Federal Government and Homelessness: Community Initiative or Dictation from Above?

Leo and August argue that the traditional hierarchical structure of federalism often results in policies that do not meet the differing needs of diverse Canadian communities. They contend that the federal government’s 1999 National Homelessness Initiative is a recognition of these differing needs: it provides funding, but claims to allow substantial scope for local determination of how money is best spent in each community.

The Group of Six

Sherri Torjman discusses Vibrant Communities, an initiative which serves as the foundation for a ‘Group of Six’ trying to develop a distinctive approach to community-based poverty reduction. An important part of Vibrant Communities is its learning partnership in which 14 communities are looking both individually and collectively to find local solutions to reduce poverty.

The Spoils of the Boom: Incomes, profits and poverty in Alberta

According to Diana Gibson, although Alberta is experiencing a boom, many Albertans do not feel they are benefiting. Unemployment levels are at all-time lows, however, inflation rates are at national highs. of t...

The Unintended Consequences of Housing Policy

William Strange contends that affordable housing is a basic pillar of a civilized society, but that it is a pillar which has crumbled alarmingly in recent decades in Canada. He points to the soaring numbers of homeless people living on city streets as evidence of this. He suggests, however, that fiscally sound policies can repair the system, and that political will and bold action are also required.

The Vote or Veto Budget: An Analysis of the 2005 Federal Budget

In this paper, Ken Battle, Sherri Torjman, Michael Mendelson, and Steve Pomeroy assess the 2005 federal budget according to three principles the Caledon Institute put forward during pre-budget consultations.

Tough Times in the Big Easy: Lessons From a Catastrophe

This report, written by Andrew Archibald and Trefor Munn-Venn, explores the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina and proposes lessons the Canadian public and private sectors should take away from the ordeal.

Victoria's Regional Housing Trust Fund: So Far, So Good

Anne Makhoul explains how the Capital Regional District (CRD) passed a motion in November 2004 to create a Regional Housing Trust Fund (RHTF). Municipal governments and non-profit agencies can set up housing trusts to support affordable housing options. The author outlines the history of effort and steps to establish an affordable housing trust in the region, including the Housing Affordability Partnership (HAP) and the Quality of Life CHALLENGE.

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