We Need a Plan to End Homelessness in Canada

It is time to end homelessness in Canada.

On October 16, 2017, I introduced my Private Member's Motion, M-147 to create a Special Committee on Homelessness. The committee would have been tasked with creating a plan to prevent and end homelessness.

I became a Member of Parliament for this very reason. As the CEO of the United Way of Saskatoon & Area, I experienced firsthand what is possible when the community works together to end homelessness. 

Now, with the Federal Government stepping in to housing with its National Housing Strategy, there is an historic opportunity to develop a national plan to end homelessness. Working together, we can hear perspectives from across Canada, including community and local partners, national housing and homelessness organizations, Indigenous peoples, provincial & municipal governments and other experts and leaders.

Communities are doing great work. The Federal Government has the ability to bring these invaluable resources together to build a national plan and find solutions.

Unfortunately, the Liberal government voted against a plan to end homelessness in March. They are satisfied with the aim of reduing homelessness by 50% over ten years, with no clear plan providing tangible goals.

Click here for a list of Frequently Asked Questions

M-147 Foire Aux Questions

Text of Motion / Texte de la motion

 

Endorsements

Thank you to those who stepped up to endorse my Motion.

Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) - "After decades of absence, the Federal Government is stepping back to the table on the issue of housing with the plan to create a National Housing Strategy. This strategy is an opportunity to develop a national plan to prevent and end homelessness. Together with federal government’s leadership we can build a national plan that will work to address homelessness."

Raising the Roof - "We are focused on developing, testing and scaling programs/interventions that focus on preventing homelessness across Canada.  We whole heartedly endorse your motion and thank you for your leadership and courage in stepping forward".

The Canadian Housing and Renewal Association - "The Canadian Housing and Renewal Association represents the interests of the social, affordable, and non profit housing sector in Canada.  As one of Canada’s leading national organizations dedicated to providing Housing For All, CHRA supports Motion 147 put forth by Sheri Benson, MP (Saskatoon West) that would create a special Parliamentary committee to conduct hearings on the matter of homelessness and to propose a national plan to prevent and end homelessness.  With a new National Housing Strategy forthcoming, it is imperative that the federal government and federal decision-makers maintain a focus on addressing the scourge of homelessness, and put in place a mechanism that can identify the tools, policies, and programs that will provide access to safe and affordable housing for all people living in Canada.  A special Committee on homelessness would provide such a mechanism.

CHRA supports M-147, as it will create a means to focus attention on the goal of providing Housing For All people living in Canada.  CHRA encourages all Members of Parliament to vote in its favour."

His Worship Mayor Charlie Clark, Mayor of Saskatoon - “Members of Parliament and the public deserve to know that the investments being made in housing are having the necessary and desired impacts. By setting up this committee it can be determined what roles each level of government can most efficiently play in order to end and prevent homelessness in our communities and our country. I commend the federal government’s National Housing Strategy, and a plan specifically on homelessness will serve to complement that important work.” 

Homelessness and Housing Umbrella Group (Waterloo) - “The Homelessness and Housing Umbrella Group is proud to endorse Sheri Benson’s motion, M-147, which will be a vital step for the government to develop a plan to end and prevent homelessness in Canada. Time and time again, evidence suggests that having a permanent, safe, affordable and accessible place to live is the foundation for improving individuals’ and families’ quality of life. All Canadians deserve a place to call home.”

YWCA Saskatoon - "YWCA Saskatoon wholeheartedly supports Ms. Bensons’ Motion M-147 Special Committee on Homelessness.  Homelessness is an issue that as a society we have collective responsibility to solve.  Sheri Benson’s background in the Community makes her the ideal candidate to lead this important work.  YWCA Saskatoon urges all Members of Parliament to vote in favour of this important motion."

Quint Development Corporation - "We very much view the
provision of affordable housing and addressing homelessness as an essential part of building stronger communities. We need a plan to define and recommend the best role for federal leadership. Quint supports this motion to provide a means for Canadians and politicians to work together to put an end to this crisis."

The Peel Alliance to End Homelessness - “As a community collaborative dedicated to creating system change and eliminating homelessness in the Region of Peel, we believe that an integrated approach to address homelessness must start at the federal government. It has been clearly demonstrated that reducing homelessness produces enormous financial benefits, and alleviates unacceptable personal costs to Canadians.”

YWCA Lethbridge & District - "YWCA Lethbridge & District would like to voice its support for the motion by Sheri Benson, MP, Saskatoon West, that a Special Committee to Study Homelessness be appointed.

The Federal Government has committed to a National Housing Strategy, and therefore, has shown its commitment to address the issues of Homelessness in Canada. Having a special committee conduct hearings on homelessness and propose a national plan to prevent and end homelessness will give voice to vulnerable populations including seniors, Indigenous, persons with disabilities, veterans, those dealing with mental health and/or addiction issues and survivors fleeing domestic violence, specifically women and girls.

We applaud the efforts of Ms. Benson for taking the initiative with this motion and we hope for the successful implementation of this committee."

Monika Dutt, Executive Director, Upstream - "All Canadians want health and well being above all else, and as we come to better understand the true sources of health with every passing day, 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,
leading to thousands of preventable deaths every year — but we have the resources and the knowledge to permanently end poverty and homelessness in Canada."

Raj Hathiramani, Ph.D. Traumatologist/Mental Health Specialist, Battleford, SK - “This is truly an admirable project. For a period of years, I was hoping that a Member of Parliament would have the courage and fortitude to attempt to end the anguish and suffering of so many, who are destitute out on the streets. Having worked with a Law firm which specializes in Residential School claims, I can assure you that monetary compensation does not alleviate the issue of homelessness. Homelessness is a complex issue which is strongly related to past traumatic experiences, addictions, personality disorders and perhaps even factors not yet explored or researched. I offer you my support in moving this important plan forward.”

Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO) - "For years we have been demanding a National Housing Strategy. Now that we have a commitment from the Government of Canada, it is important that we take the time to hear from people and get the strategy right."

The Simcoe County Alliance to End Homelessness (SCATEH) - "We believe that everyone should have a safe place to call home. The National Housing Strategy is a great starting point, but it will not end homelessness on its own, and we are proud to endorse Motion M-147 as an important show of federal leadership to address the current homelessness crisis."