News / Ottawa

Protesters want right to a home

Call for PM to put more cash into social housing.

Protestors erect large signs with the faces of people who need proper housing outside the Prime Minister's Office.

Ryan Tumilty / Metro Order this photo

Protestors erect large signs with the faces of people who need proper housing outside the Prime Minister's Office.

Hundreds rallied outside the Prime Minister’s Office Thursday, calling for the government to do more for social housing across the country and to ensure everyone has a right to a roof over their heads.

Protesters with the Front d'action populaire en réaménagement urbain (FRAPRU) and the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) marched throughout downtown before rallying outside the Prime Minister’s Office, calling for more money for social housing.

OCAP spokesperson Yogi Acharya said wait times for social housing exceed a decade in some cities and it’s time the government got serious.

Acharya said it was a Liberal government in the 1990’s that moved the federal government out of social housing and their record hasn’t changed.

“The Liberal record on housing is tellingly abysmal and it has stayed consistent for the past two decades,” he said.

He said the government’s $11 billion commitment on housing, which they made in this year’s budget, is spread out over 11 years with little of the money up front.

“The money is a mere rhetorical flourish,” he said. “That is not a situation we are prepared to accept.”

Marchers posted four large billboards outside the PMO’s office on Wellington Street with specific stories about people who had no housing.

Véronique Laflamme, with FRAPRU, said the government needs to put serious money behind building new housing and maintaining what already exists.

“We want to double the budget for social housing and we also want an announcement that government will maintain the money it gave in the past.”

Laflamme said they want to see more funding in the government’s housing strategy, which is expected next month, but they also want a clearly articulated right to housing.

She said people don’t have a right to housing if they can't afford it.

“Adequate housing is housing where you have security, where the cost doesn’t affect your other essential needs,” he said. “There is a denial of the right to housing for people across the country."

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