Open Letter

On Friday, November 22nd, the following letter was sent to Minister of State for Social Development, Candice Bergen as well as Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. The Leaders and housing critics of the opposition parties were also contacted. You can download this: Sample Open Letter to Minister Bergen and add your own comments before sending it to Minister Bergen and your local MP.

Minister Bergen can be contacted at: candice.bergen@parl.gc.ca

Dear Minister Bergen:

Beginning on National Housing Day, Friday, November 22nd thousands of people across Canada will raise their voices in support of Housing as a Human Right! We all have a part to play in ending homelessness  – governments and organizations across Canada are working everyday to support human rights and the creation of social housing in our communities, but more action is needed by all levels of government, especially the federal government. Every year, 200,000 people are absolutely homeless in Canada, and millions more are inadequately housed[1]. Aboriginal people, women, people with disabilities, racialized community members, seniors, youth, newcomers and others face particularly high rates of homelessness and housing inadequacy.

The following undersigned groups urge your government to take the following three actions in order to end this housing crisis:

  1. In the next budget, the federal government must protect existing social housing. 600,000 people and their families could be forced to move to inadequate housing or be made homeless by rent increases they cannot afford if Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation fails to restore the annual operating grants investment of $1.7 billion annually in social housing subsidies.
  1. In the next budget, federal funding for social housing construction and programs and services for the homeless must be made permanent. Funding for flexible local, regional and provincial approaches must be provided every year. This includes the Investment in Affordable Housing which funds construction of new housing units and the Homelessness Partnering Strategy which provides funding for programs & services for people who are homeless.
  1. The federal government must coordinate a pan-Canadian housing strategy which respects provincial jurisdiction, based on human rights. Housing is a human right. It’s time that the federal government convene a meeting together with all levels of government, in consultation with civil society and Aboriginal groups, to establish a Canadian housing strategy that respects provincial jurisdiction, designed to respect, promote and fulfill the right to safe, adequate and affordable housing.

We look forward to hearing what steps your government will be taking to protect social housing in Canada and to end homelessness and inadequate housing.

Sincerely,

Pan-Canadian Week of Action for Housing Organizing Group,

On behalf of the endorsing organizations


[1] The State of Homelessness in Canada 2013, Toronto: Canadian Homelessness Research Network Press.

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