Libby urges the Conservative government to fund affordable housing


House of Commons


June 1, 2012

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, a new report from the City of Vancouver shows that homelessness doubled in the last year.

Despite this urgent crisis, the government has not invested a dime for housing in the budget. In fact, it was not even mentioned.

How can the government justify no new federal investments when housing in Vancouver is so unaffordable or non-existent for so many?

Vancouver’s city council has led the way to end homelessness but it cannot do it alone.

Will the government heed Vancouver’s call to invest in housing to keep thousands more people from becoming homeless in the next two years, which is what it is predicted?

Hon. Diane Finley (Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, our government has made unprecedented investments in helping people fight homelessness by ensuring they have access to affordable housing. Through our economic action plan, over 14,000 projects that would help many more families than that were initiated. Unfortunately, the NDP voted against them. We also signed five-year agreements with the provinces so they would have stable, predictable funding to fight homelessness and to promote affordable housing and, sadly, the NDP voted against every one of those initiatives as well.

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, I think the minister knows that the federal investment was a one-time deal that ended and fell far short of what actually needs to be done for affordable housing in this country.

The fact is that over 600,000 families in Canada rely on social housing. With the end of the federal money, low-income households will see their housing costs skyrocket, leading to more insecurity.

Why is the government so oblivious to maintaining the affordability of the social housing we have, like co-ops, and ignoring the desperate plight of Canadians who still remain homeless today?

Why is the minister not addressing that?