Government needs to prioritize affordable housing

Kitchener Mayor Carl Zehr put forth a proposal in support of a Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) campaign called Fixing Canada’s Housing Crunch. FCM is demanding a long-term federal housing plan as some of the federal programs are expiring in the next few years.

Thus far, there is no indication that the federal government is set to reinvest the expired money back into financing which would result in major losses for affordable housing funding.

Waterloo Region is just one area that could be impacted due to the federal nature of the programs, communities across the country are set to lose funds. For a government that prides itself on a strong economic track record, affordable housing seems like a natural priority.

Housing is essential for all citizens and is foundational in supporting young families and stimulating job growth.  It is also crucial for senior citizens and those struggling near or under the poverty line.

The demand for affordable housing is growing; if program funding shrinks, it could be extremely problematic. The government needs to take a lead in funding programs that are crucial to the national economy and support other levels of government in addressing the problem on the ground.

Aside from the economic argument, it is a social and moral issue that the government should address. A government does have some responsibility to act in the best interest of its citizens, particularly in regards to issues that deal with fundamental necessities like shelter.

If people are actively looking for affordable housing and waiting lists are long it reflects directly upon the inaction of the government.

The Harper government is looking to prove itself to the Canadian public as elections near and this could be an issue that can be used to strengthen the conservative image among several voting groups.

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