Monday September 01, 2014

City supports FCM housing concerns

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Yorkton Council is on-side with Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) concerns over housing in Canada.

At its regular meeting of Council Monday, City Manager Davids Putz explained the FCM concerns.

“High home prices and record levels of household debt are pricing a growing number of

Canadians out of home ownership, which places mounting pressure on an already crowded rental market and on affordable housing units,” he said.

“Whether it’s attracting new workers and creating jobs or supporting a rapidly ageing population and our most vulnerable citizens, a stable and secure housing market is essential to community and economic growth. The Bank of Canada is calling the imbalance in the housing market the number one domestic risk facing the economy. $1.7 billion in annual Federal funding for Canada’s 600,000 social housing units has already started to expire, putting one-third or 200,000 social housing units at risk. More than a decade of stagnant investment in rental housing and the pending loss of $1.7 billion annually in federal housing dollars are leaving fewer and fewer housing options for Canadians.”

FCM is calling for all orders of government to work together on a long-term plan that will set the course for action and relieve Canada’s housing crunch — a long-term plan that will:

• address the rising costs of housing

• improve predictability of investments

• address the scarcity of rental housing

• ensure renewal of the expiring federal dollars for affordable housing

• fulfill the 2013 budget commitment to work with FCM to reduce homelessness

Putz said locally housing is certainly an issue.

“The Housing Needs Assessment Study, City of Yorkton, 2011 identified that in the next 10 years, the population of seniors (55+) will grow by 25 per cent in Yorkton, which will put more pressure in providing services to the seniors including affordable and accessible housing. In the next ten years 1,510 residents will join the 55+ age groups, out of which 419 will represent 55-64 age group and 1,091 will represent 65+ age groups,” he offered.

“Municipalities have been working to increase and preserve the supply of rental and affordable housing through measures such as tax exemptions, streamlined approvals, intensification and redevelopment, and alternative development standards.”

As a result of the issue Council unanimously endorsed the FCM housing campaign and urges the minister of employment and social development to develop a long-term plan for housing that puts core investments on solid ground, increases predictability, protects Canadians from the planned expiry of $1.7 billion in social housing agreements and ensures a healthy stock of affordable rental housing for Canadians.

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