The 2017 National Housing Strategy (NHS) was intended to reduce core housing need and
homelessness through a range of programs, research, and funding initiatives. Five years after the
launch of the NHS, social housing experts and advocates describe the failure of the NHS to meet
the needs of low-income renters. The NHS relies heavily on private market development, and only
3% of units funded by the NHS Rental Construction Financing Initiative are actually affordable to
low-income households. With five years remaining in the NHS’s timeline, there is still time to shift
funding and policy toward what researchers and housing advocates have identified as necessary:
an expansion of non-market, social housing.
This booklet introduces the current housing context in Canada. It compiles recent research on the
history of social housing, offers a scan of existing housing initiatives, and analysis of the National
Housing Strategy. It highlights Canada’s ongoing reliance on the private market for housing
provision, and offers some solutions to the current housing crisis.
The booklet was written as a foundation for discussions at the Social Housing as a Human Right:
Organizing for Change event held in Winnipeg, Manitoba in April 2023. It is our hope that it will
contribute to broader discussions about the ongoing housing crisis, and the need for a social
housing strategy in Canada.
Grant: Community-Driven Solutions to Poverty: Challenges and Possibilities - 2020-2027
Category: Housing and Neighbourhood Revitalization