The Speech from the Throne is this Wednesday. Telegraphing government priorities we may expect in the speech, today the Federal Government announced an over $1.2 billion investment to respond to the urgent needs of people experiencing homelessness. This is an important first step.
The announcement consisted of a Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) to help address urgent housing needs of vulnerable Canadians by rapidly creating new affordable housing. This $1 billion initiative will cover the construction of modular housing, as well as the acquisition of land, and the conversion of existing buildings to affordable housing. The RHI is the newest initiative of the National Housing Strategy (NHS). It is expected to enable the rapid creation of up to 3,000 new affordable housing units across the country and will help stimulate the economy.
In addition to this substantial investment in housing, the Government of Canada is also providing $236.7 million through Reaching Home to extend and expand the emergency response to the COVID-19 outbreak for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. This funding is in addition to the $157.5 million announced in April 2020 to help communities address the immediate impacts of the pandemic.
Every indication is that the federal government is open to ambitious housing and homelessness investments - now it’s up to us to ensure they match that ambition with action.
As we look forward to Wednesday’s speech, we need to thank our federal leaders for this necessary first step and encourage them to follow through on the rest of what we are looking for, as outlined in our #RecoveryforAll campaign.