Written by: Lauren Anderson
Edited by: Jacqueline Cheung
Dear CCP readers,
Understanding how accessible and affordable housing is an important aspect of homelessness, is key to a larger understanding of the whole picture. The Canadian Courage Project aims to build awareness on all issues relating to homelessness and educate others in our community.
If you would like to learn more information regarding the current state of homelessness in Canada and the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), welcome! If you are returning for more information about the particular challenges faced by youth experiencing homelessness and those with animal companions, welcome back! If you are new to our blog, welcome to the community and thank you for your interest in learning more about issues regarding the homelessness crisis in Canada and beyond - you are one step closer to becoming a changemaker in your community, and you are in great company.
In this blog post, we will be discussing areas relating to affordable housing including, important legislation, nonprofit services, and the current housing crisis.
Canada’s Ongoing Housing Crisis
Housing is an incredibly important infrastructure that has an impact on the issue of homelessness. When a person living in a homeless state does not have stable housing options, it can greatly impact other facets of their life. Although they could have stable employment, it is difficult to hold a job when you have nowhere to live. A lack of housing can also impact their emotional and physical well-being. On top of that, for parents with children, a lack of housing affects the entire family unit. Housing is a human need and right.
Dr. Yushu Zhu, an assistant professor of urban studies and public policy, recently explained the current state of unattainable housing in Canada. She focused on discussing how younger adults face less options for affordable housing and what is being done about the problem. She believes that local government involvement in remedying the housing crisis and creating more affordable housing for all is vital. In the next section, we discuss several local legislations that have been enacted to solve the housing crisis in various areas of Ontario, Canada.
In 2017, the federal government of Canada announced a 10-year strategy to boost housing resources nationwide. As part of this decade-long plan, Ontario is specifically committed to developing an action plan every three years. Since Ontario is receiving funding from the National Housing Strategy, they must explain how the funds are being used every three years. This level of accountability is valued and will be an incentive to continue making meaningful efforts towards more housing for those in need.
Across the nation, Ontario has the largest housing need, making up 44.1% of the Canadian population who are in need of stable and secure housing. Ontario has made housing a priority, with an effort to build 1.5 million homes by 2031. There have been efforts made to adequately support each area of housing: rentals, social/community housing, and supportive housing. The Ontario community housing renewal strategy works in partnership with community organizations and members to sustain and repair the current housing system. Community housing is defined as, “housing owned and operated by non-profit housing corporations, housing co-operatives and municipal governments or district social services administration boards.” This type of housing provides housing for people working in low-income jobs, senior citizens, those living on social assistance programs, people living with mental and/or physical disabilities, and people who have experienced homelessness. These groups of people are in high-risk groups for homelessness. It is crucial that programs like this are continuously funded and discussed at the local and federal level. There have been two new programs started in 2019-2020.
Funding for service managers to replace the federal Social Housing Agreement funding that expires yearly.
Requires service managers to give priority to Indigenous community housing providers.
Provides service managers flexible funding to address local priorities focused on affordable housing supply.
Affordable housing supply includes: new affordable rental construction, community housing repair, rental assistance, tenant support, and affordable home ownership.
In Hamilton, the local politicians learned that a commitment of a $40 million investment, and $30 million each year thereafter, to lead the path towards ending homelessness. A large aspect of this budget would include secure housing to provide a stable transition after surviving homelessness. The issue is that this is a large financial investment, but the issue of homelessness continues to rise. An early investment might prevent a larger one in the future.
The more people that are able to live safely and securely, there is an increase in employment, well-being, and it’s stimulating for the economy.
One interesting take in the discussion of the housing crisis is focusing on the human need for housing rather than placing profits as a chief priority. Housing has become expensive and unattainable in many cities worldwide, but it is important that we focus on human dignity and priortize the safety of members in our community.
The non-profit sector has been dedicated to alleviating factors affecting the state of homelessness, including housing advocacy. Some local organizations include:
These are just a few organizations in the charity/non-profit sector that are dedicated to making noble progress for the state of housing in Canada. The Canadian Courage project is partnered with several organizations that provide shelter or housing services to people experiencing homelessness. One of these organizations is Eva’s (listed above)! Aside from our partnerships, the CCP is dedicated to educating community members on the various factors that contribute to homelessness. We believe by increasing education and contributing to homeless resources, we are able to make an impact. Our goal is to better the well-being of people facing homelessness. If you would like to join our team or support us on our mission, please contact us!
Thank you for reading our blog! Feel free to leave a comment with your feedback and/or insights to help us enrich the quality of future posts and cater to the interests of our community of changemakers.
The CCP Team
Government of Ontario. (n.d.). Housing in Ontario. Retrieved March 28, 2023, from https://www.ontario.ca/page/housing-in-ontario
Kiers, J. (2022, January 16). Hamilton’s homelessness crisis: Advocates call for more action as winter storm hits. Global News. https://globalnews.ca/news/9575744/hamilton-homelessness-crisis/
Community Services Department, Region of Waterloo. (n.d.). COCHI and OPHI guidelines. Retrieved March 28, 2023, from https://www.regionofwaterloo.ca/en/living-here/cochi-and-ophi-guidelines.aspx
Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services. (n.d.). Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative (OPHI) homeownership program – Apply now! Retrieved March 28, 2023, from https://www.oahssc.ca/ophi/
Ostroff, J. (2022, February 28). Canadian housing crisis discussed by SFU professor. The Peak. https://the-peak.ca/2022/02/canadian-housing-crisis-discussed-by-sfu-professor/
CircleActs. (2021, August 19). 8 Canadian charities providing houses and helping the homeless. Best of High Impact Philanthropy and Donation. https://circleacts.org/8-canadian-charities-providing-houses-and-helping-the-homeless/
Hands Up Canada. (n.d.). Home. Retrieved March 28, 2023, from https://handsupcanada.com/
Toronto Homeless Help Services. (n.d.). Home. Retrieved March 28, 2023, from https://www.torontohhs.org/
Eva’s Initiatives for Homeless Youth. (n.d.). Home. Retrieved March 28, 2023, from https://www.evas.ca/
The Canadian Courage Project. (n.d.). Partners. Retrieved March 28, 2023, from https://www.thecanadiancourageproject.org/partners