NDP Critic for Housing Jenny Kwan made the following statement:
“The 3,000 units promised through the Rapid Housing Initiative are nowhere near enough when 235,000 people experience homelessness every year.
This falls far short of what housing providers and advocates have been calling for and what the reality of those who are homeless need. The cold and wet weather is upon us. Tent cities are occurring all throughout the country. An allocation of 3,000 units will not even come close to addressing the homelessness crisis. In addition to capital funds, we need the Liberal government to be a partner in providing resources in the delivery of supportive wraparound services to this vulnerable population.
The government also continues to ignore Indigenous housing needs. It is deplorable that the Liberals have failed to deliver on their promise for an urban, rural and northern Indigenous housing strategy led by Indigenous peoples time and again. The 2017 National Housing Strategy completely ignored this critical need, and it was left out of the Throne Speech again even though it’s in the Minister’s mandate letter.
It’s so disheartening that there are no dedicated funds from the Rapid Housing Initiative for urban, rural, and northern Indigenous housing providers when more than 80 per cent of Indigenous peoples live in urban, rural, and northern communities and Indigenous peoples are 11 times more likely to use a homeless shelter.
In the lower mainland, 40 per cent of the homeless population identify as Indigenous. According to Indigenous housing providers in Ontario, there are some 22,000 Indigenous people who are homeless right now. This government continues to fail some of the most vulnerable people in our country.
Despite declaring housing as a human right in 2017, the Prime Minister failed to back it up with meaningful action. We wouldn’t be in this housing crisis in the first place if the Liberals didn’t cancel the National Affordable Housing program in 1993.”