• To solve Canada’s social housing problem, we should look to Britain’s privatization schemes

    … the needy would be able to rent newly-built, city-owned houses at subsidized rates for a fixed period of 10 to 15 years. The houses would then be offered for sale at a discount, with the tenants having first dibs at becoming owners of their own homes — something that is beyond reach for most renters… tenants will be likely to set aside the money they’ll need for the ultimate down payment 10 or 15 years hence, invest in their property’s upkeep, and develop a commitment to the safety of the neighbourhoods

  • Tory should commit city money to fixing the social housing problem, then ask the province for help

    “The time for action is now. In fact it was before now, because repairing social housing is a moral, economic and social imperative,” Tory said last week. Really? Why, then, do you not increase the city’s allocation of funds to repair the damaged buildings? Why are you promoting a freeze in property taxes instead of a dedicated 1 or 2 per cent increase to build a fund that stops the closures?

  • Don’t let social housing crumble

    … allowing the corporation’s units to keep deteriorating and be shut down would lead to higher health-care spending, rising crime and a host of other social costs… investing in repairs would create thousands of jobs, spur private investment, and generate billions of extra dollars in federal and provincial taxes. For both social and economic reasons, the provincial and federal governments must commit money for much-needed repairs before this crisis deepens.

  • Bad policy has played a role in Canada’s housing crisis

    We ought to remove existing distortions such as favourable treatment of capital gains on real estate, provincial ownership subsidies, taxpayer-guaranteed mortgages, low residential property taxes and restrictive zoning. These policies encourage businesses and individuals to focus on real estate instead of other economic activity, exacerbate price volatility and fail to improve affordability. What better time to cut back these subsidies than when the market is soaring of its own accord and does not need artificial support?

  • A pre-pre-election budget to bolster Liberal fortunes

    Free pharmaceuticals for young people (a blessing). Transit breaks for old people (a sop). Cheaper child care for young parents (long overdue). Free tuition for most college students (already announced but still worthy and worth repeating). Rent control for everyone (a reprise). Hefty discounts off everyone’s hydro bills (a perennial). And the first balanced budget after a decade of deficits (about time). Which clears the way for its more progressive measures, notably phased pharmacare.

  • Urgent action needed to halt shut-down of social-housing units

    TCHC recently announced that it will be closing about 400 units next year because it doesn’t have enough money to repair them. That’s on top of 600 units already slated to be shut down this year…. the TCHC has a decade-long, $2.6-billion repair plan. But… TCHC says it can only access about $82 million [next year]. So once again the city is looking to the province and to Ottawa to do their part.

  • Liberals set homeless reduction targets ahead of provincial talks

    The upcoming national housing strategy looks to cut by 50 per cent the number of “chronic” homeless — many of whom won’t go to shelters and may be harder to reach through traditional support systems — and “episodic” homeless, those who find themselves on the street repeatedly… The Liberals’ second budget in March showed that they wanted to get money directly to cities and service providers without having to deal with provinces.

  • $5B housing pledge aims to help most vulnerable National Housing

    … the focus would be on supporting the most vulnerable Canadians, which in addition to people struggling with mental health, addictions and domestic abuse also includes seniors, persons with disabilities and veterans… The national strategy… will also include $3 billion dedicated towards strengthening the relationship between provinces and territories, targeted funding for northern communities and Indigenous communities… and increased funding to prevent and reduce homelessness.

  • What if Sociologists Had as Much Influence as Economists?

    … a wide body of sociological research shows how tied up work is with a sense of purpose and identity… Sociology also offers important lessons about poverty that economics alone does not… It’s relatively clear how a change in tax policy or an adjustment to interest rates can make the economy grow faster or slower. It’s less obvious what, if anything, government can do to change forces that are driven by the human psyche.

  • A portable housing benefit could ease our homeless crisis

    Here are five reasons why the portable housing benefit is a smart idea: 1. It is the most efficient way to help households in need and address homelessness… 2. It will reduce homelessness… 3. It will reduce poverty… 4. Its portability means it is tied to an individual, rather than a housing unit, giving people choice [and] … 5. It is already working.