Monday, September 22, 2008

Statement by FCM President on Conservatives' $1.9 billion commitment to national housing and homelessness programs


From the September 17th edition of The Globe and Mail:
OTTAWA, Sept. 17 /CNW Telbec/ - The following is a statement from FCM [The Federation of Canadian Municipalities] President Jean Perrault, Mayor of Sherbrooke, on the Conservative Party's commitment of more than $1.9 billion in funding over five years in support of housing and homelessness programs throughout Canada.

"Today's campaign promise of more than $1.9 billion for housing and homelessness programs is a clear, positive and timely response to Canada's homelessness epidemic and the growing need for more affordable shelter. This announcement demonstrates strong leadership on an issue that touches Canadians literally where they live.

In January, 2008 FCM released its National Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness. At that time we called on the Government of Canada to lead a plan to eliminate homelessness within a decade, and, as a first step, extend vital federal housing programs beyond their planned expiry in March 2009 . When implemented, today's commitment would extend those programs and lay the ground work for a long-term strategy to confront homelessness.

We are further encouraged by the Conservative Party's commitment to work with other governments and communities "to implement concrete, long-term solutions to these challenging issues." This co-operative spirit will help ensure that today's funding commitments not only meet immediate needs, but contribute to lasting solutions.

Municipal governments fund, manage or support many of Canada's homeless shelters and much of the country's public housing stock. Federal funding support not only helps local governments perform these roles, but eases the burden placed on police, emergency and social services when housing and homelessness programs are underfunded.

Along with investments required in infrastructure, public transit, policing, and rural and northern sustainability, the growing need for affordable housing is an issue that is simply too costly, and too important, for local property taxpayers to fund alone. Not only is today's commitment a response to one of the most fundamental needs of the citizens we serve - it is a step toward stronger, more sustainable cities and communities.

We encourage all parties to contribute to the public discussion on housing and homelessness, and outline plans to invest in the places Canadians call home."

For further information:


Maurice Gingues, (613) 907-6395, mgingues@fcm.ca.

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