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Fresh out of an election, the time for partisan politics is over.

“This situation was created by federal policy and will take federal leadership to reverse ​its devastating consequences.” -Open letter to all federal candidates from 17 mayors across Canada

Whether our politicians know it or not, this federal election has depoliticized the issue of homelessness and housing affordability. Canadians are demanding urgent action across party lines to solve Canada’s housing crisis. How did it come to this?

  • 5 million Canadians worry about paying rent every month

  • 35,000 people are homeless every night

  • 1.7 million households or 27% of renters and 6% of owners live in a home that is overcrowded, unaffordable or needs major repairs ​

We’re feeling the impact across the economic spectrum. In Northumberland County, affordable rental housing is nearly nonexistent; the vacancy rate for all rentals sits at a fraction of one percent. By August, the year-to-date average house price across the county real estate board had climbed to $822,812, far beyond reach for most two-income families. This election saw Canada’s major political parties prioritize chronic homelessness and housing accessibility. Platforms featured new spending on affordable housing units, rental affordability assistance and tax credits for creative housing solutions like multi-general living housing. Vote Housing and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities advanced plans to solve the crisis, while polls show that 80% of Canadians support building new affordable housing as part of our pandemic recovery. Housing is a Human Right The Shift is an Ottawa-based organization working to provoke action to end homelessness, unaffordability and evictions globally by restoring the understanding of housing as a home, not a commodity. It challenges the ways financial actors undermine the right to housing and supports governments to implement human rights-based housing strategies and regulate the impact of the private market on housing. Could this financialization of housing impact us here? At last week’s All-Candidates meeting hosted by the Northumberland Affordable Housing Committee, candidates were asked how their parties will deal with “renoviction” - forcing out tenants by claiming a need for major repairs, clearing the way for rent hikes or resale in a hot real estate market. “Housing needs to be rethought to mean a ‘home,’ not a consumer commodity like gold or oil,” says David Sheffield, Green Wood Coalition Executive Director, who has watched gentrification in Cobourg and Port Hope push tenants out of their homes into homelessness.

“Housing as a human right must be defined and affirmed in policy and legislation. If individual municipalities don’t act on protecting their communities, it’s all going to be guided by this commodification.” -David Sheffield, Green Wood Coalition

A big thank you to each person (there were more than 60) who volunteered their time for #smileporthope as we saw thousands of Smile Cookies sold at Port Hope Tim Hortons locations. 100% of proceeds will support Green Wood's street-level outreach efforts. That's one big bake sale!

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