National Housing Strategy Position Paper

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October 21, 2016
The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos P.c., M.P.
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
KIAOA6

RE: National Housing Strategy, Let's Talk Housing

Dear Minister Duclos,

On behalf of the Board of Directors of Dixon Hall Neighbourhood Services I wish to express our gratitude to you and the Government of Canada for the opportunity to be part of the Let's Talk Housing consultation process. More importantly, we are grateful for the action that we know will result from these consultations.

Dixon Hall's strengths lie in our history - we have been active in Regent Park and surrounding areas since 1929. Our diverse services are integrated as we support the community's most vulnerable residents by providing a range of programs across every stage of life. Dixon Hall has played a leadership
role in the Regent Park Social Development Table, a key part of the Regent Park Revitalization project, since work in the community began more than a decade ago.

Dixon Hall serves more than 10,000 people annually, particularly impacting the most vulnerable and the most at-risk in the communities of Regent Park, Moss Park, Cabbagetown, and St. James Town. Groups served include at-risk youth, seniors, adults with physical and health disabilities, homeless men and
women, individuals searching for employment, youth and adults with mental health issues, and newty immigrated individuals and their families.

We serve those populations through the development and operation of affordable housing, case management, food security, employment opportunities and fellowship programs among dozens of additional programs. We do this because we know that for all members of society to reach their full potential wrap-around supports and opportunities have proven to be most effective.

With that background in mind we wish to recommend:

  1. that the Government of Canada articulate clear, time sensitive, measurable outcomes of the National Housing Strategy for new units developed, and units preserved.
  2. that the National Housing Strategy embrace a community Hub model. Affordable housing has never been built, maintained, supported or preserved in a vacuum. It requires partnerships between all levels of government, to become reality. In addition, deeply affordable housing has been shown to be far more effective in delivery when wrap-around services are provided. Those in need of deeply affordable housing often have complex issues necessitating a wide variety of services offered through a centralized administration. From case management to employment services, we believe that those opportunity community hubs are in the best position to provide positive, long-term outcomes.Given the delegation of duties between governments the National Housing Strategy must clearly articulate and coordinate these services.
  3. that the National Housing Strategy address the need and additional cost to develop and operatehousing for those in great need. Specifically, long term, deep affordability.

We expect the plan developed by the Government will reflect our Canadian values. Namely that simple, decent and affordable housing is a foundation to which every Canadian should have the right. This will take bold leadership, vision and funding. We are anxious to support the Governments efforts in the development of this plan, and its execution.
If you have any questions or concerns about this letter, please do not hesitate to contact me at the address above.

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Neil Hetherington
CEO
cc:  The Honourable Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance, Area M.P.
David Reycraft, Director of Housing Services, Dixon Hall