Alliance to End Homelessness Ottawa Statement on the Rapid Housing Initiative

Alliance to End Homelessness Ottawa Statement on the Rapid Housing Initiative

On September 21, the federal government announced a $1 billion initiative to create 3,000 new affordable units across Canada. The Rapid Housing Initiative announcement is an important investment into our communities. More investments

like this one are necessary to get Canada out of our homelessness and health crisis.

  • $1 billion is an important investment for affordable housing in Canada. We look forward to working with all levels of governments to build on this initial investment.

  • This investment will finance 3,000 affordable units across Canada. There are currently 12,000 households on the waitlist for affordable housing in Ottawa alone.

  • In the late 1980’s -1990’s, the federal government was investing to build 20,000 units of affordable housing stock annually. 

  • Between 6 - 20% of rental households have been unable to pay their rent during the pandemic. 

    • In Ontario alone, this translates to between 90,000 and 310,000 households who may face eviction. 

    • In Ottawa this amounts to 2,500 households who may face eviction.

  • We are in a housing and homelessness crisis that without more government investment, will become an even larger public health emergency and prolong this pandemic. 

Housing is one of the most basic human needs people have. Without a home, it is tough to work, send kids to school, and in the world of COVID-19, stop the spread of this virus. Evictions and increased homelessness could very easily overwhelm our healthcare system. Shelters are already overcrowded. People with nowhere to go but a congregate setting have the potential to quickly increase community spread of COVID-19.

While the federal government investment is welcome news, it is nowhere near what is required to make sure every person has a safe, affordable place to live. 

Homelessness is not inevitable. It is a policy choice made over 30 years ago when we as a country stopped investing in affordable housing. Since then we have seen housing prices rise at exponential rates, no longer guaranteeing that everyone can afford a safe place to live. 

We must pressure our governments to make deep investments in affordable housing that will kickstart the economy again, protect our country’s health during COVID-19, and ensure we all get through this better than we started. Housing is the foundation of recovery.  

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Address: PO Box 22021, Ottawa, ON K1V 0W2

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