We achieved an important victory this week by getting young adults added to the list of vulnerable groups in Canada's new National Housing Strategy ("NHS").
A big thanks to volunteer and Gen Squeeze advisor N.K. Singh and to Vancouver Quadra MP Joyce Murray for helping lock in this small change, which has the potential to make a big difference for young people!
Why this matters
The NHS now lists its primary focus as "meeting the needs of vulnerable populations, such as women and children fleeing family violence, seniors, Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, those dealing with mental health and addiction issues, veterans and young adults (emphasis added)."
The addition of young adults to that list is important for two reasons. First, this classification in the housing strategy ensures that projects designed to serve young adults can be eligible for billions in new federal funding.
Second, it sets a solid foundation from which we can advocate for the next phase of the NHS to look more holistically at how the real estate market is failing younger generations.
Next phase of strategy needs to go beyond social housing
We give the 2017 NHS 5 out of 10 stars. It gets high marks as a national social housing strategy, because it invests significant funds in rejuvenating our stock of social housing and co-op homes, does more to reduce homelessness, and anticipates a portable housing benefit for low-income renters. That’s all great stuff.
But we ultimately need an NHS that goes beyond the social housing sector, and recognizes that even middle-income earners are being left behind by the current housing market, including millions of young Canadians.
The play by play
When the Government of Canada first issued material relating to the NHS in late 2016 and early 2017, young adults were left out of the list of vulnerable groups.
This omission was surprising, because we had had several meetings with government officials about the plan, including meetings attended by the Prime Minister, Minster responsible for Housing, and the President of the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, in which we stressed that millions of young Canadians were being left behind by out of control housing markets.
To try to correct this omission — and to advocate for other changes — we doubled-down and met with 7 MPs in just three days, and then had follow-up meetings with ministry staff.
In the final stretch, Vancouver Quadra MP Joyce Murray played a key role by taking our recommendation directly to Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, who is responsible for the NHS. A big thanks to MP Murray, who ensured that young adults were included as a vulnerable group in the final strategy.
We will continue to make this case to the minister responsible for housing in a variety of ways, including, we hope, by getting a seat on the new National Housing Council established as part of the strategy announced in November.
See more wins
We’ve been on a roll lately. Learn about our recent campaign successes:
Let’s do more
We want to restore housing affordability for renters and owners — forever.
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