Feds dither on housing

TheStar.com – comment/editorial – Feds dither on housing
April 02, 2008

Human Resources Minister Monte Solberg has finally agreed to meet with his provincial housing counterparts tonight. It will be the first such meeting since September 2005.

Solberg skipped the last scheduled federal-provincial meeting in Vancouver in February but pledged to meet within 60 days. With time running out, he has agreed to a brief 1 1/2 hour session.

The provincial ministers, who met in his absence, plan to press the federal government to extend the three existing affordable housing and homeless strategies, all of which run out in March next year.

The programs, first approved by the Liberals in 2005, provided $1.6 billion for affordable housing units, assistance to landlords to upgrade housing stock, and services and transitional funds for the homeless across Canada.

The provincial ministers will also urge Solberg to pledge to develop a national housing framework, promised at the last meeting under the previous Liberal government.

“The clock is ticking,” said Jim Watson, Ontario minister of municipal affairs. “A year from now, all these programs will have ended.”

Meanwhile, 125,000 people in Ontario are on waiting lists for affordable housing.

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