Money, strategy needed to combat homelessness
Jeff Hodson/metro vancouver
Canada can eliminate chronic homelessness in 10 years at a cost of $3.35 billion annually, the country’s big city mayors said yesterday in Vancouver.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) yesterday called for long-term and sustainable funding to help house the nation’s homeless.
"We have said for many, many years that we a need a long-term strategy," said Anne-Marie DeCicco-Best, mayor of London, Ont., who unveiled the FCM housing action plan yesterday with co-chair, Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan.
The federal government currently funds about $2 billion through a variety of different housing programs, all of which end Mar. 31, 2009. The mayors want funding guaranteed for at least 10 years.
"We can’t go from year to year with programs — which are all very good — but are not part of a strategic action plan that people can count on and understand."
By releasing the report now, the mayors hope it will spark federal support for long-term funding before current programs expire.
The report, entitled Sustaining the Momentum, includes creating 2,000 new transitional and supportive housing a year for chronic homeless.
Other measures involve modernizing existing housing and creating or preserving affordable rental stock.