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November 22, 2017

Liberals look to make housing more affordable for neediest families

The Liberals will announce plans today to spend tens of billions in federal dollars on a housing strategy that will provide housing benefits directly to low-income tenants, as well as repairs and renovations to some 300,000 units.

Multiple sources with knowledge of the national housing strategy say the government will also announce plans to legislate a right to housing, which will include requirements to regularly report to Parliament on federal efforts to ease the housing burden for hundreds of thousands of Canadian families.

A new financing program will be created for housing providers to help them repair the existing stock of affordable housing and use their assets to leverage additional cash to build new units.

Although the Liberals will tout some $40 billion in spending over the next decade, the plan relies on provinces and the private sector to kick in cash to stretch federal dollars.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be in Toronto to unveil the full details of the plan, while Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos travels to Vancouver to make a simultaneous announcement on the West Coast to mark National Housing Day.

Recently released census data found that 1.7 million households were in “core housing need” in 2016, meaning they spent more than one-third of their before-tax income on housing that may be substandard or does not meet their needs.

Outside of Vancouver, the cities with the highest rates of core housing need were in Ontario. In Toronto, close to one in five households were financially stretched — the highest rate of any city in the country.

The government hopes that building 80,000 new affordable rental units, along with billions more in spending over the next decade, will lift 500,000 of those families out of core housing need and help a further 500,000 avoid or get out of homelessness.

Keep reading on CTV News