The Future of Public Housing

Janet McClain
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX2671A

In the last few years, government involvement in public housing has reached a record low level of production with most provinces suspending activity altogther. The cost of subsidy and maintenance of existing public housing stock has now come into question, as well as how to accommodate an increasing demand for public housing (or the equivalent) if price levels continue to rise in the private rental market.

The structure of this project is to prepare a major Council discussion paper that sets the historical context for the development of public housing in Canada and a review of the trends in federal and provincial housing policy that have altered this histroical role in the last ten years. Background informaiton on the stock, clientele, operating subsidies and administrative arrangments will be provided for each province. A major part of the paper will focus on the current status and key issues relating to reinvestment in the stock, provincial vs. municipal jurisdiction, eligibility requirements, tenant-management problems etc. The status of Canadian public housing will also be placed in the context of recent changes in the U.S. and Great Britain.

To expand the base of published material, a standard set of questions has been developed to be asked through telephone interviews and by mail that will document current provinical and local housing authorities policiies and procedures.

Over the last 15 years, the Council has written reports, discussion papers and held conferences that focussed on development and improvement of public housing. The Council has established a position of supporting this social housing programme which still provides the most comprehensive housing support to seniors, single parents and the working poor as part of a package of government-sponsored housing programmes to meet the needs of communities.

It is likely that the conclusions and recommendations of this paper will draw considerable interest and attention as the paper is due for completion at approximately the same time as the report of the evaluaiton of CMHC social housing programmes. Similarly, internal examination of the operations of public housing is underway in most provinces.

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