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National Housing Strategy

Visitation Province

A new collaborative, made up of Women and Men Religious, has been formed to explore ways to help people attain affordable housing in Toronto.

During their last meeting, it was agreed to send a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau in response to the new National Housing Strategy which was announced November 22, 2017. This group then reached out for support to other religious communities. Sister Rebecca McKenna, with the support of the team, has endorsed this letter in the name of Visitation Province.

Dear Prime Minister:

We are members of Catholic religious congregations in Canada. Our communities have a legacy of working with those who are poor and marginalized, including people who are homeless and precariously housed.

We congratulate your government on adopting a National Housing Strategy that includes recognizing housing as a human right. We are delighted to see the federal government taking on the leadership role it once played in ensuring that people in Canada have roofs over their heads.

We understand some of the difficulties that families face in finding affordable housing, particularly in large urban centres. Many of our congregations have sponsored refugees. Even with our resources and connections, finding affordable housing for them was a huge challenge. Those looking for housing without this kind of support face even greater struggles. This housing crisis must end.

The promise of new federal loans, increased supply, and a housing benefit will provide much-needed relief to those who struggle to afford housing. We look forward to learning more about how these new programs will work to help people live with dignity.

We are concerned that the Strategy makes little reference to supportive housing. Non-profit housing with extra staff is vital for people exiting chronic homelessness or living with serious mental illness or addictions. Without supports, people in these groups can quickly descend back into situations of homelessness.

Our group is exploring possible partnerships with developers and non-profit housing providers to help fill the gap in Toronto where housing is desperately needed. Through our efforts, we hope to make a small but important impact. But coordinated plans and agreements between federal, provincial, and municipal governments are needed to tackle this systemic issue.

Thank you for the time, dedication, and energy you bring to this important issue. We hope you will consider our words carefully and look forward to your response. 


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