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Archived - Minister Finley delivers keynote address at conference on housing and homelessness

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CALGARY, ALBERTA, February 18, 2009-The Government of Canada is helping those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless build a stronger future for themselves.

Today, the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), gave a keynote address at Growing Home: Housing and Homelessness in Canada, the second national conference on homelessness.

"Our government supports many Canadians with housing needs and is fulfilling its commitment to help those seeking to break free of the cycle of homelessness and poverty," said Minister Finley. "That's why I am pleased that our Government's Economic Action Plan outlines major investments for low-income Canadians that will allow governments to work together to improve the quality and energy efficiency of up to 200,000 social housing units for Canadians who need it most."

The Minister delivered the keynote address at the University of Calgary's Faculty of Social Work, as part of a three-day conference aimed at providing a venue for sharing ideas, experiences, research and best practices regarding homelessness. A wide range of individuals attended the conference, including people who are, have been or are at risk of becoming homeless, service providers, policymakers, academics and students.

"Our government is working hard at breaking down barriers that prevent Canadians from achieving self-sufficiency and full participation in society," said Minister Finley.

In September 2008, the Government of Canada announced $1.9 billion over five years for housing and homelessness programs for low-income Canadians. This funding will ensure we can continue to assist those who need support, including homeless people and those at risk of homelessness-low-income Canadians, seniors, people with disabilities, recent immigrants and Aboriginal Canadians.

This funding was confirmed in the Economic Action Plan. In addition, the Government is taking action to strengthen the country's economy with a further investment of more than $2 billion over two years to build new and renovate existing social housing, as well as up to $2 billion in low-cost loans to fund housing-related infrastructure.

The Homelessness Partnering Strategy recognizes that housing stability is essential to self-sufficiency and full participation in Canadian society. It focuses on transitional and supportive housing to help people overcome homelessness. With its clear goals of improved partnerships, enhanced sustainability and tangible results, the Strategy provides concrete, meaningful and lasting results for Canadians in need.

As Canada's national housing agency, CMHC draws on more than 60 years of experience to help Canadians gain access to a variety of quality, environmentally sustainable, and affordable homes-homes that will continue to create vibrant, healthy communities and cities across the country.

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This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.

For more information on the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, please visit
www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/homelessness.

Further information on CMHC can be found at www.cmhc.ca.

For further information (media only):

Michelle Bakos
Press Secretary
Office of Minister Finley
819-994-2482

National Media Relations Office
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
819-994-5559


Backgrounder


The Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) is a unique community-based program aimed at preventing and reducing homelessness by providing direct support and funding to more than 60 communities across Canada. The HPS took effect April 1, 2007, with annual funding of $134.8 million for two years. It has been extended for two additional years from April 1, 2009, to March 31, 2011.

Under the HPS, the Government of Canada is offering to work in partnership with all provinces and territories. Such partnerships would encourage better alignment of federal and provincial/territorial investments, and help provide a seamless continuum of support for homeless people.

The HPS has three main initiatives: the Homelessness Partnership Initiative (HPI), the Homelessness Accountability Network and the Surplus Federal Real Property for Homelessness Initiative.

The Homelessness Partnership Initiative is the cornerstone of the Homelessness Partnering Strategy. Its housing-first approach recognizes that the first step is to provide individuals with transitional and supportive housing.

The HPI has four funding components:

  • Designated Communities
  • Outreach Communities
  • Aboriginal Communities
  • Federal Horizontal Pilot Projects

The Homelessness Accountability Network helps to strengthen program accountability. It also develops knowledge and encourages organizations to reinforce their networks and share best practices.

The Surplus Federal Real Property for Homelessness Initiative makes surplus federal property as well as land available to community organizations, the not-for-profit sector, and other levels of government, for projects to prevent and reduce homelessness.

For more information on the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, please visit
www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/homelessness.

The Government of Canada, through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), is investing $1 billion under the Affordable Housing Initiative (AHI) in a collaborative initiative between the federal, provincial and territorial governments.

The AHI increases the supply of affordable housing for low-income Canadians.

The AHI is governed by a multilateral housing framework developed by federal, provincial and territorial housing ministers. This framework established the broad parameters for bilateral Affordable Housing Program Agreements that were signed with each province and territory.

The share of the federal funding available in each province or territory, as well as the overall terms and conditions that must be met, is set out in the bilateral agreements. Within these terms and conditions, provinces and territories have the primary responsibility for designing and implementing housing programs in their respective jurisdictions, including the selection of housing projects that receive AHI funding.

Under the bilateral agreements, the provinces and territories cost-match federal investments made through the AHI. Funding may also come from other sources such as municipalities, the private sector or donations. These contributions can be a grant, a stream of ongoing subsidies or value of in-kind contributions such as land. The AHI has created or preserved approximately 40,000 affordable housing units so far and leveraged two dollars from others for every dollar invested.

Renovation Programs
CMHC's suite of renovation programs, including the Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program (RRAP), help preserve the existing stock of affordable housing. These programs provide financial assistance to homeowners and landlords to preserve affordable housing and ensure that housing occupied by low-income households meets basic health and safety standards. These programs also assist with home modifications and adaptations to enable seniors and persons with disabilities to live independently in their homes. They also help fund improvements to shelters, or create shelters, for victims of family violence, and preserve housing for people who are at risk of homelessness.

CMHC renovation programs are delivered in partnership with most provincial and territorial governments and are available in all regions of Canada, including First Nations communities. Since 1973, more than 800,000 households have benefited from assistance under the renovation programs.


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