Though she’s encouraged by the advent of a National Housing Strategy, Rachel Blaney had hoped the federal government would have moved the multi-billion dollar plan forward in a more meaningful manner.
The strategy aims to remove 530,000 Canadian families from ‘housing need,’ and reduce chronic homelessness by half over the next decade.
Blaney, the North Island-Powell River MP, is concerned about the short-term, especially for those who reside outside urban areas. She says 90 per cent of the funding will not start to flow until 2020.
“After the discussions that we’ve had, and the issues we’ve brought forward from rural and remote communities, and other communities across Canada, I was hoping to see (the strategy) a little more beefed up in the budget,” Blaney said Monday in her final media teleconference of 2018. “As we know, so many people are struggling with housing. We’re hearing it again and again from small businesses as well, trying to hire people, trying to retain people, and the issue is they can’t find anywhere to live.”
One of the biggest challenges is demand outweighing supply. She credits the provincial government for initiating housing projects, but wants to see the federal government step up to make different types of housing available for all citizens.
She appreciates the community groups that are bringing housing challenges to the attention of senior governments.
“Housing is a significant challenge across the riding. When you’re in a crisis, it seems to make sense that you move the money sooner than later. What the minister is asking is for people to wait a little bit longer, when we need to see those houses as soon as we possibly can.”