Housing and homelessness

Subscribe to Housing and homelessness
With the country facing significant and unpredictable headwinds going into another federal election year, the 2019 Alternative Federal Budget (AFB) shows that Canada can boost competitiveness and encourage innovation by investing in people, not by giving corporations more tax cuts.
Finding affordable, secure, good quality housing is an essential and immediate part of the early settlement process for immigrants and refugees. Yet, obtaining appropriate housing can be daunting and often impossible in housing markets with a dearth of affordable housing and low vacancy rates. Newcomers are often unfamiliar with the particularities of local practices, lack social networks, and have limited financial resources, which contribute to their struggles when searching for housing that meets their needs.
The Trailer Overdose Prevention Site (TOPS, as its usually called, or Area 62) in Vancouver. Photo by Travis Lupick.
Illustration by Tim Scarth / Photos of Montreal by the author
Ten years ago the political geographer David Harvey wrote, “The freedom to make and remake our cities and ourselves is…one of the most precious yet most neglected of our human rights.” With roots in 1960s civil rights struggles, Henri Levebvre's concept of a "right to the city" was revitalized by Harvey and others in the heat of the 2008 financial crisis and Occupy Wall Street.
The right to the city comes out of critical theory, a branch of intellectual thought originating in the early 20th century at the University of Frankfurt. The Frankfurt School consisted of a group of radical scholars who theorized about the rise of mass popular culture and its effect on society.
In Winnipeg there is a need for more affordable housing, as 21 percent of households (64,065 households) are living in unaffordable housing – according to CMHC’s definition of spending more than 30 percent of income on shelter.  Additionally, there are approximately 1,500 people experiencing homelessness in the city.  While affordable housing has traditionally been provided by federal or provincial governments, municipalities have a range of tools to respond to need and are most connected to the local housing market.
In Winnipeg there is a need for more affordable housing, as 21 percent of households (64,065 households) are living in unaffordable housing – according to CMHC’s definition of spending more than 30 percent of income on shelter.  Additionally, there are approximately 1,500 people experiencing homelessness in the city.  While affordable housing has traditionally been provided by federal or provincial governments, municipalities have a range of tools to respond to need and are most connected to the local housing market.
We’re now 10 years on from the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression. Or, as our national mythology puts it, 10 years since Canada breathed a deep sigh of relief as the crisis mostly grazed our economy and financial system.
In Part 2 of our feature on the state of the economy 10 years after the crisis, the Monitor heads to the bank. With radical ideas for reforming finance's retail, mortgage and investing functions from John Anderson, Michal Rozworski, Kevin Young and Alper Yagci, Roxanne Dubois and Brett Scott. Here's a sample of what you'll find inside this issue:

Pages