Across the country tens of thousands of low-income co-op housing residents are in danger of losing their affordable homes – unless the federal government takes action.
The problem: Expiring federal subsidies for low-income households in co-operative housing
Federal and provincial funding agreements that assist more than 20,000 low-income households living in co-operative housing with their rents are coming to an end in large numbers. Unless governments agree to help, the co‑ops where these low-income Canadians live will be unable to offer them affordable rents based on their incomes. From Thunder Bay to Charlottetown to Ottawa to Burnaby, low-income households in co-ops risk homelessness.
Co-ops have been highly successful in building healthy mixed income communities for more than 40 years. But from the beginning that success has been built on a close partnership with government. Co-op members have managed their housing and kept costs reasonable – while the federal and provincial governments provided funding for the subsidies needed to make rents affordable for low-income residents. With operating agreements, which provide the funding, rapidly running out, housing co-ops cannot possibly take on the financial role of their government partner in supporting people in need. Without a renewed government commitment to that partnership housing co-ops will not be to offer affordable rents to their low-income residents.
The problem does not only threaten co‑op households. Across Canada, there are at least another 300,000 vulnerable households in non-profit and public housing whose assistance will be cut when federal operating agreements with these housing providers end.
The solution: Continuing government partnership to keep co-op homes affordable for low-income households
The solution for co-op housing is simple. CHF Canada proposes that Ottawa use the money saved from expiring agreements to share in the cost of new rent supplement programs managed by the provinces and territories. In this way, the federal government would renew its critical role as a funding partner and share the cost of continuing support for low-income co-op households with provincial and territorial governments. Over 280 co-ops, municipalities and other stakeholders are calling for this solution.