The mayor of Regina is pleased to see such a large transfer of federal dollars as part of a national housing strategy, but Michael Fougere still wants more clarity on the recently announced plan.
The federal plan would see $40 billion spent over 10 years to address the issue of affordable housing.
Hundreds of thousands of housing units would be repaired and thousands more created under the plan. It would also establish a new housing benefit of about $2,500 a year on average, serving as a subsidy for low-income earners to help pay for a place to live.
Provinces are being called upon to provide billions of dollars towards the plan as well. Some of the money wouldn’t actually come until after the next federal election.
Fougere said it’s nice to have this plan in the works after years of the federal government being largely absent from any serious housing discussions. He said the money will begin to answer part of the city’s housing issues, but he still has questions about what the plan could do to address homelessness.
“It begins to address them. But I know there’s been on the margins, discussion of homelessness, but when you’re talking about a national strategy, you can’t continue the conversation without talking about homelessness because every city in Canada has this problem.”
There’s also a degree of uncertainty involved for the mayor with a large portion of the national strategy contingent on getting the provinces on board. However, Fougere said the city will continue aggressively trying to eradicate homelessness.
“It doesn’t change what we want to do. It may change the timelines if we knew there was a stronger commitment, a more clear commitment on homelessness.”
He said it’s possible the strategy will be discussed further when mayors from across the country meet in Toronto next week as part of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Big City Mayors’ Caucus.