Liberals Vote Against a National Plan to End Homelessness

I’m disappointed the Liberals believe that aiming to reduce chronic homelessness by fifty percent over ten years is an adequate response to this crisis. Where is the urgency?

For the second time in four months, the Liberal government has voted against an NDP initiative to address the housing needs of Canada’s most vulnerable. In November 2017, the government voted against Rachel Blaney’s bill to recognize housing as a human right, and today, they have defeated a motion to address Canada’s homelessness crisis.

Motion M-147 was presented by NDP Housing Critic Sheri Benson and would have engaged experts and those with lived experience to develop the first-ever national plan to address the growing epidemic of homelessness in our country.

“I’m disappointed the Liberals believe that aiming to reduce chronic homelessness by fifty percent over ten years is an adequate response to this crisis”, said Benson.  “Where is the urgency?” Homelessness is a national crisis affecting 235, 000 Canadians every year.”

Benson’s motion is supported by a long list of endorsers, including Monika Dutt, Executive Director at Upstream, who said,

"Health and wellbeing is vital for all of us, and being homeless is a serious barrier to good health. A meaningful focus on homelessness, to complement the National Housing Strategy, should be a political priority. Homelessness is a public health issue affecting individuals, families and communities across Canada. It leads to illness and death for many every year, despite us having the resources and the knowledge to permanently end poverty and homelessness in Canada."

“A federal plan to end and prevent homelessness is not only possible, but it is urgently needed. It is not enough to simply say that ‘housing rights are human rights’ - words need to be backed with action, and tragically, many lives have been lost through collective inaction,” said Benson.

“I’m frustrated because my NDP colleagues and I have been presenting solutions. All this government has to do is vote ‘yes’ and get this work underway. I’m ready to work together on this. How many more lives have to be ruined? How many more lives have to be lost before this government will act with intention to end and prevent homelessness?”