Read Habitat for Humanity Canada’s recommendations for a national housing strategy which were provided to the Government of Canada.

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Bridging the gap between social/rental housing and market housing

Affordable homeownership helps to bridge the gap between social/rental housing and market housing.  Because the gap is too big for families to manage on their own, Habitat is the bridge that makes it possible.  Affordable homeownership helps break the cycle of poverty and is a path for Canadians into the middle class. For example, 37 per cent of Habitat families that buy their own home come directly from social housing.  Affordable homeownership therefore helps to free up much needed units in social or rental housing. 

Not investing in affordable homeownership therefore puts pressure on other parts of the housing continuum.

Recommendations

While our submission on Canada’s national housing strategy recommends investing in all parts of the housing continuum, our focus is in the area of affordable homeownership.

  1. Reduce the level of core housing need for vulnerable groups through investments in Indigenous housing, homelessness, affordable rental housing and maintaining and expanding the stock of social housing. 
     
  2. Work with Indigenous communities to create and implement an Indigenous Housing Strategy.   The strategy would build the capacity of all Indigenous communities to become more proficient and self-sufficient at managing housing and would include initiatives that create new and more housing options for Indigenous families.
     
  3. Bridge the gap in the housing continuum between social/rental housing and market housing
    1. We recommend a $200 million investment in Habitat for Humanity’s Affordable Homeownership Program over 8 years through the Social Infrastructure Fund.

    2. These investments can be further supported by providing Habitat with access to low-cost capital and supporting the development of affordable housing by making government land or property available at a low or no cost.

This will result in the creation of 1,600 new affordable homes for Canadian families, including Indigenous families living on and off reserve and the renovation of 800 homes in northern communities.  Some 600 units of social housing would be freed up, as 37 per cent of families were living in social housing prior to buying a Habitat home.  The mortgage payments from families are reinvested in Habitat’s “Fund for Humanity” and used to build more homes.   By year 8 of the original investment, an additional 160 homes will be created. This multiplier effect continues over the years.
 
These actions and government investments will help grow Canada’s economy.  Government funding will also leverage over $200 million in non-government contributions and provide a social return on investment of some $280 million over the 8 years.

Most importantly, it will break the cycle of poverty for children and families, and their families for generations to come.