Canada is getting its first ever National Housing Strategy, at a cost of $40 billion over 10 years, Justin Trudeau announced on Wednesday.
The Prime Minister made the announcement alongside Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, in Vancouver.
Among the measures announced are a $4-billion Canada Housing Benefit, to be planned with provinces and launched in 2020 to respond to local housing needs and priorities.
According to a release, the benefit will provide an estimated average of $2,500 per year to each household receiving it, helping at least 300,000 families when fully implemented.
Initially though, the strategy aims to focus on those Canadians most in need, and aims to supply community housing to 530,000 families in need.
That includes women and children fleeing family violence, seniors, Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, those dealing with mental health and addiction issues, veterans and young adults.
Overall, the strategy aims to cut chronic homelessness in half, give 530,000 families a home, and build up to 100,000 new affordable homes.
The government also plans to build and repair more homes than previous governments have under federal programs between 2005 and 2015.
As well, the strategy aims to protect an additional 385,000 households from losing an affordable place to live.
The strategy was developed in consultation with people who have struggled to find good housing, experts, stakeholders, think tanks, provinces, territories, and municipalities.
Following calls from advocates, the government has committed to ensuring that at least 25% of strategy funds go to projects for women, girls and their families.
And within the next year, a bill will be introduced obligating the federal government to keep a National Housing Strategy and report to Parliament on housing targets and outcomes.
In the release, Trudeau said everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to call home.
“Canada’s first ever National Housing Strategy is a once-in-a-generation vision to reduce homelessness, support community housing and shelter spaces, and address challenges of housing affordability,” said Trudeau.
“We took a major step forward on housing today, and we will continue to deliver initiatives that strengthen the middle class and lift more Canadians out of poverty.”
Overall, investment in the strategy includes:
Given how many new homes will be built or repaired due to the strategy, it also includes targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and ensure building accessibility.
As well, the government is co-developing housing strategies with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nations based on self-determination, reconciliation, respect, and cooperation.