Halifax, NS— The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-Nova Scotia with the Housing for All Working Group released the report, Keys to a housing secure future for all Nova Scotians today.
The CCPA-NS convened the Housing for All Working Group to answer the question: what would it take to ensure that everyone has meaningful access to safe, permanently affordable, secure, supported and adequate housing in Nova Scotia?
Cape Breton University Associate Professor, Catherine Leviten-Reid, served as the academic lead on the Working Group, had this to say, “The report prioritizes public, non-market affordable housing, funded by general revenue, that is affordable, quality, green, democratic, and addresses equitable access for everyone. The evidence is clear: We need to move away from the current approach to housing, which relies heavily on the market to meet housing needs and leaves so many without any assurance that they will have access to this basic human right.”
“This report centres the expert voices of those on the front-line of the housing crisis from across Nova Scotia, including the advocates and activists in housing, social and economic justice, and those with deep knowledge, whether as providers of non-profit housing, shelter, and community-based support services, or as academics. Other than those who have experienced the crisis first hand, they know best what the impact of the private for-profit market driven approaches to housing and homelessness has been,” says Christine Saulnier, Co-lead of the Working Group and Director of CCPA-NS.
As Sheri Lecker, Executive Director of Adsum for Women & Children and working group member said: “The process ensured that all working group members could directly take part in generating the policy solutions. The principled approach meant that we could focus on recommending solutions that will adequately address why certain groups are continually excluded from having a housing secure future.”
Working Group member, Jen Powley, of No More Warehousing, said this of the recommendations: “Critical to ensuring everyone has access to a home is to urgently address the human rights violation that leaves people with disabilities in institutions. People with disabilities deserve to have community-based housing options with adequate supports to meet their needs and until that occurs we will not realize the goal of ensuring housing is a fundamental right to which all people are entitled.”
“The myth that the affordable housing crisis is an urban issue is evident in the disproportionate resources directed to large urban areas. The challenges rural community organizations face including a lack of understanding of the rural context and the many barriers in place to accessing funding have forced many community organizations to give up in frustration. A provincial, human rights approach to the housing crisis is needed to bring about long-term change and build community wellbeing throughout the whole province,” says Working Group Member, Colleen Cameron, of the Antigonish Poverty Reduction Coalition.
“As this report also makes clear: housing is about more than just housing, it is about a lack of income for rent, no money to pay the heat and power bill, and not knowing where or
how to get help with these issues or knowing the rules or how to find or fill out the forms necessary to get subsidized or public housing. Everyone deserves to be supported to live in dignity in the community of their choosing,” says Working Group member, Stella Lord, Community Society to End Poverty Nova Scotia.
“To address the affordable housing and homelessness crises requires a multifaceted plan like is proposed here because providing rental assistance without rent control will simply provide landlords with profit subsidies. Instituting strong rent control without significant and ongoing investment in non-market housing and without addressing poverty, will not address the lack of permanent affordable housing for all of those who are spending more than 30% of their income on shelter,” says Working Group member, Alec Stratford, Chair of CCPA-NS and Director of the Nova Scotia College of Social Workers.
Stratford adds: “Our plan will reduce poverty and result in significant job creation and provide a significant boost to post-pandemic economic growth, while addressing the root causes of the housing crisis and building a healthy housing secure future for everyone.”
This report is being released in partnership with community organizations forming the Housing for All Working Group. The report is available on the CCPA website at https://www.policyalternatives.ca/offices/nova-scotia/publications
For more information or to arrange an interview with the author or representatives from the respective partner organizations, Lauren Matheson, 902-579-9555 (cell) or [email protected]
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is an independent, non-partisan research institute concerned with issues of social and economic justice.