Housing crisis

Mayors speak out on housing crisis at conference of municipalities

Mayors and municipal leaders from across Canada gathered in Regina this week for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) conference. This is the first in-person meeting since 2019.

Delegates from federal, provincial and municipal governments advocate to each other on how to improve the lives of Canadians.

The pandemic has increased the need for affordable housing across the county. Regina Mayor Sandra Masters said every jurisdiction has a role to play.

“It’s not something municipalities can do on their own,” she said. “I think what you’re hearing from municipalities is that we’re ready to play our part, but we need other levels of government to play theirs as well.

Mike Savage, chair of FCM’s Big City Mayors’ Caucus and Mayor of Halifax, believed that federal programs like the Housing Acceleration Fund had the ability to create change across the country.

The fund aims to remove barriers and help municipalities build housing faster in ambitious and innovative ways.

“When it comes to housing and homelessness, the federal government has the money; the provinces have the jurisdiction; cities have the problem, Savage said. “And it’s not just housing, but the right kind of housing. The solutions are there. »

In Halifax, a rapid housing initiative has created more than 130 units for the homeless community, with support from the provincial government of Nova Scotia, which spent $5 million on the project.

“We really need the other orders of government to step in,” Savage said.

In Regina, the city partnered with community organizations to find temporary housing. The Government of Saskatchewan was able to provide the necessary supports in collaboration with the city.

Masters said it was essential to ensure there were enough houses for people to move into.

“Like in every other city in our country, getting more [homes] built is paramount,” she said.

“People don’t want to hear about competence,” Savage said. “They want to see solutions.”