The Government of Canada has announced a 10-year, $40 billion National Housing Strategy that it says will help reduce homelessness and improve the availability and quality of housing for Canadians in need.
According to the federal government, across Canada, 1.7 million Canadians are in need of housing. The Strategy has set the following goals:
- reducing chronic homelessness by 50 percent;
- removing more than 530,000 households from housing need;
- creating four times as many new housing units as built under federal programs from 2005 to 2015;
- repairing three times as many existing housing units as repaired under federal programs from 2005 to 2015; and
- protecting an additional 385,000 households from losing an affordable place to live.
Housing is a key social determinant of health. The Mental Health and Addictions Leadership Advisory Council, appointed by the Ontario government, has recommended a goal of an additional 30,000 supportive housing units across the province over the next 10 years.
As housing service providers with deep connections to our local communities, our 30 CMHA branches see this target as a minimum requirement for Ontario.
A 2016 report on Toronto Community Housing estimates that in Toronto alone nearly 24,000 households include at least one person with a mental illness, and an estimated 9,000 tenants have a serious and persistent mental illness. Without adequate supports, many of these tenants risk losing their tenancy.
In partnership with other stakeholders, CMHA Ontario continues its efforts to promote the need for housing in general and supportive housing in particular for people with lived experience of mental illness. CMHA Ontario has called for increased investments in housing, as well as the need to reduce barriers to housing as one way to reduce the overall costs to health care, police and justice, and social services sectors.
For more information, read the full strategy.