Providing adequate housing for homeless people, helping those in greatest need, helping Indigenous people with housing and ensuring all Canadians have access to affordable housing – these were the biggest items on the Canadian people’s wishlist, created in the Let’s Talk Housing consultation.
The results of the four-month, nationwide consultation were released in a 66-page report called What We Heard on November 22 – National Housing Day – by the federal government.
More than 7,000 Canadians across the country participated in the consultation, sharing their ideas and opinions through an online survey, expert and stakeholder roundtables, focus groups and written submissions.
The findings are intended to shape the federal government’s forthcoming new National Housing Strategy, which will focus on the following key requirements identified by the Canadian people.
- Helping those in greatest need – including low-income Canadians, the homeless and victims fleeing violence.
- Helping Indigenous peoples achieve better housing outcomes – creating a separate, but parallel housing strategy is needed to address the unique housing challenges facing Métis, Inuit and First Nations peoples.
- Tackling homelessness – ideally to eliminate homelessness in Canada entirely, but short of that, make it rare, brief and non-recurring.
- Making housing more affordable for all Canadians – respondents said this was the most important housing outcome. This is especially a concern for low-income households and other vulnerable Canadians.
- Adopting a housing systems perspective – to better coordinate the various housing initiatives already in place.
- Housing policies and programs should center on people and place –so residents have access to jobs, schools and supports, with housing located in safe neighbourhoods with daycare facilities, community services, public transportation, recreational and other amenities nearby.
- Setting clear outcomes and targets – and to report back to Canadians on progress in achieving better housing.
- Delivering long-term and predictable funding – necessary to plan and deliver more affordable housing.
- Realizing the right to housing – to examine whether current laws, policies and practices are sufficient to prevent homelessness, forced evictions and discrimination in having adequate housing.
- Improving data collection, analysis and research – to better understand housing conditions and the housing needs of Canadians, and in order to develop informed, cost-effective, policies, programs and initiatives.
- A collaborative approach to housing – building on the capacity of all orders of government and other partners, in order to achieve a national vision of housing.
Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, said, “Affordable housing can connect individuals with the facilities and services they need to build secure, productive and meaningful lives for themselves. Living close to jobs, public transportation and childcare enables people to participate fully in society and the economy. A National Housing Strategy will align the efforts and resources of all players – governments, stakeholders in the private and non-profit sectors and others – toward improving housing outcomes for all Canadians.”
The government added in the report, “We are committing to release a comprehensive National Housing Strategy in 2017.”
Download the full report here.