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Major city mayors urge Ottawa on housing

Major city mayors urge Ottawa on housing
Major city mayors urge Ottawa on housing

(Ottawa) The mayors of Canada’s largest cities say they have pressured the federal government to clarify its goal of eradicating chronic homelessness and better housing Indigenous people in urban areas.

Posted on May 31, 2021 at 9:09 p.m.

Jordan Press
The Canadian Press

Speaking on behalf of his colleagues, Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson reported that Federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland had been riddled with pointed questions about her government’s commitments in the last Speech from the Throne.

The Liberals previously promised to cut chronically homeless people in the country by half. These people often find themselves on the street for extended periods of time and are more difficult to reach since they do not necessarily go to shelters.

The mayors have failed to secure a timeline from the Deputy Prime Minister, says Iveson, without providing further details on their own expectations.

According to him, these targets will have to be jointly determined between municipal, provincial and federal authorities.

In a virtual press conference, the mayor of Alberta noted that the solution lies in affordable housing, an even more pressing need in the context of real estate overheating, and more direct funding for resources intended for Indigenous people in urban areas.

“There is a direct link with various colonialist practices, including residential schools, which created intergenerational trauma that contributes to this,” the outgoing president of the big city mayors caucus told the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) .

A parliamentary committee recently urged the government to close the gap in housing support for Indigenous people living in cities.

Adequate sustained funding and a strategy developed by the communities concerned to provide culturally appropriate services were recommended.

The situation only worsened during the pandemic, with prices continuing to climb, as families lost sources of income and support services were limited by health restrictions.

Mr. Iveson said the booming housing market is a concern for city leaders. They fear that middle-class families will no longer be able to buy a house and that low-income citizens will be unable to find affordable rent.

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