November 22, 2017 – Today, we celebrate National Housing Day and the release of the much-anticipated National Housing Strategy (NHS). Individuals well-being and the health of communities is a priority for United Way and we anticipate the important role the NHS will play in supporting local efforts to address housing needs, homelessness and poverty. United Way leadership has been working with the National Housing Collaborative to lobby the Federal Government and impact the NHS.

This represents a big advocacy win for the National Housing Collaborative and results are encouraging:

  • We called for a federally led pan-Canadian initiative to end homelessness in 10 years, underpinned by a strong vision ->  The NHS is oriented around a rights-based approach to ensure housing for all Canadians.
  • We called for the creation of financial initiatives to boost the supply of market and non-market rental housing ->New supply, which had largely been announced previously, is already starting to be rolled out.
  • We called for a renewed commitment to improve and expand social housing -> There is a commitment to reinvest in the existing social housing stock and to continue rent subsidies for low-income tenants.
  • We called for a new portable housing benefit -> While not of a scale to address the full need, the housing benefit announced as part of the NHS involves a significant investment of dollars.

Portable Housing Benefit

  • The new Canada Housing Benefit, in particular, represents a major public policy victory, drawing a strong link between housing and poverty.
  • It’s an historic next step in diminishing homelessness and eliminating deep core housing need.
  • It was high on the list of supports we pushed for as it has the potential to lift tens of thousands of households out of poverty.

Next Steps and Local Impact

There is much more to be done. Our attention must now shift to implementation. While the announcement sets out some very clear markers, and the investments made in the 2017-18 federal budget are significant, many details have yet to be determined. We’ll be watching negotiations with provinces and territories.

The NHS will certainly impact local initiatives such as 100 Homes Penticton and Kelowna’s Journey Home. Further assessment and impact will be measured as the NHS rolls out in each province.

About the National Housing Collaborative

United Way Centraide Canada and United Way Toronto and York Region convened the NHC in the spring of 2016 to influence the NHS. The NHC is an alliance of non-profit and private housing associations and charitable foundations. The NHC has advocated hard for greater fairness and opportunity for all Canadians to have stable and safe places to live.

For more details on the Federal National Housing Strategy, visit:

Read Global News coverage:

Read the United Way policy paper: