Your national ally for affordable housing
Votre alliée nationale pour le logement à prix abordable
Annual Report on
Achievements of 2003 and
Goals for 2004
The health and well being of our communities and our country depends on everyone
in Canada having access to appropriate, secure, decent affordable housing.
The Canadian Housing and Renewal Association (CHRA) is the national voice for
affordable housing for low and modest income households, and the national network
for building on capacity in our communities to meet housing needs.
CHRA promotes greater public understanding of housing needs and solutions by
researching affordable housing issues and outcomes, and designing, monitoring,
evaluating and advising on the development of socioeconomic policies affecting
CHRA encourages and enables the sharing of housing information with local
communities, across the country and internationally, in order to build and support
the capacity of our communities to meet their housing needs.
2003 Achievements 1
1. National Advocacy 2
2. Affordable Housing Initiatives 3
3. Research Projects Underway and Completed in 2003 7
4. Capacity Building 8
5. International Exchange 10
6. 2003 Congress in Toronto 10
7. Publications/Communications 11
2004 Goals 12
1. National Advocacy 12
2. Affordable Housing Initiatives 12
3. Research and Policy 13
4. Capacity Building 15
5. 2004 Congress in Vancouver 16
6. International Exchange 16
7. Publications/Communications 16
In 2003, CHRA heard the welcome words: “CMHC is back in the housing game”.
These words were spoken by the Honourable Steven
Mahoney, Secretary of State responsible for Canada Documents Produced in 2003
Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) at CHRA’s The Future of Canada’s Social
first in a series of regional meetings on critical policy issues Housing Subsidies and Assets,
Regional Meeting, Ottawa, ON,
facing the affordable housing sector. This meeting, held June 11, 2003
June 11, 2003 in Ottawa, addressed the expiry of operating Building the Momentum for
agreements, an issue that is imminent and will have a Affordable Housing and
profound impact on social housing in Canada. The Sustainable Communities, Report
of Atlantic Regional Meeting, Saint
meeting itself was a result of CMHC being back in the John, NB, September 26, 2003
housing game and a three-year agreement concluded
Guaranteeing a Future: The
between CHRA and CMHC in 2002. Challenge to Social Housing as
Operating Agreements Expire
The agreement with CMHC also made it possible for CHRA Report on the National
to hold a second national policy meeting in Saint John, New Symposium on Health and
Housing: A Call to Action, Calgary,
Brunswick in late September. The topic was partnering with October 2-4, 2003
business to build affordable housing. A first national
Capital Replacement Planning:
symposium on the linkages between health and housing also Manual for Co-operative and Non-
received funding through the CHRA/CMHC agreement. Profit Housing Providers
The CHRA/CMHC agreement enabled CHRA to create a
new staff position at the Ottawa office to promote capacity building. Working closely with
CMHC, this person is responsible for helping to support the affordable housing development
sector. Work has begun to gather and disseminate the wealth of information that exists
nationwide and to provide a variety of opportunities for learning. A new CHRA Web site
will feature capacity building information that includes affordable housing initiatives,
development-related case studies and best practices, guides and other tools.
By year-end, the Government of Canada had signed agreements with all the provincial and
territorial governments. The 2003 federal budget added an additional $320 million over five
years to be delivered through these agreements. This will bring the total federal investment in
affordable rental housing to $1 billion by the end of 2007-08. Matching contributions are to
be provided by the provincial and territorial governments and municipal, private and non-
profit partners. These funds are expected to produce approximately 40,000 affordable
housing units across the country. CHRA commended the federal budget for recognizing the
key role housing plays in connection to so many pressing issues, including child poverty,
health care, urban decline and homelessness.
Also in 2003, the federal government extended the Residential Rehabilitation Assistance
Program (RRAP) for three years, and allocated $128 million a year to preserve the existing
stock of affordable housing. In addition, the 2003 federal budget provided a three-year
extension of the Supporting Communities Partnership Initiative (SCPI) at $135 million a year
to help communities sustain their efforts to address homelessness.
CHRA Achievements and Goals Report 1
As part of CHRA’s ongoing effort to improve communications and service to CHRA
members, CHRA commissioned an external company to consult with its members. The
purpose was to hear from members about their views on CHRA strengths, weaknesses,
opportunities, and ways in which CHRA communicates with them. CHRA plans to use the
results of the consultation to guide the development of its Web site and shape
communications and interaction with its membership.
1. National Advocacy
Meetings with Ministers, Members of Parliament and Senior Officials: CHRA continued
its advocacy work at the federal level and received positive feedback on its efforts. The
Honourable Steven Mahoney, Minister Responsible for CMHC, chose the CHRA Congress
in Toronto as the site to launch his new portfolio. The working relationship and interaction
with the Minister and his staff continued to develop throughout the year, and the Minister
participated in CHRA’s first regional meeting on the Expiry of Operating Agreements Phase
II in Ottawa in June.
Throughout the year, CHRA met with several senior government officials and Ministers at
the federal level to further promote CHRA and the views of its members. CHRA received
increased recognition that the federal government must include CHRA in its discussions on
Submission to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance: In September, CHRA
made a submission to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance. CHRA urged the
government to establish a concrete urban strategy that supports healthy and inclusive
communities and includes an explicit component to address the critical shortfall of affordable
housing. CHRA recommended that the federal government increase funding to develop a
minimum of 25,000 affordable rental units annually. CHRA further recommended that an
affordable housing strategy include: customized and subsidized mortgage insurance for
affordable housing development, a targeted affordable housing tax credit, an examination of
options for rental assistance, and a commitment to reinvest federal savings as existing
operating agreements expire.
Alternative Federal Budget: CHRA continued to be a partner in the Alternative Federal
Budget, with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives taking the lead. In 2003, the
Alternative Federal Budget called for the creation of a Housing Investment Fund to provide
$2 billion over the next three years for new housing.
National Partner of Campaign 2000 Continues: CHRA continued its involvement with
Campaign 2000. In November, Campaign 2000 released its Report Card on Child Poverty in
Canada, which found that increasing numbers of needy children come from families with
working parents. One in six needy children in the year 2000 came from families where one
or both parents worked at some point during that year. Women especially, were vulnerable to
low-paid work: one in three women had low paying jobs, compared with one in five men.
CHRA Achievements and Goals Report 2
Nearly one in four Canadian workers earns $10 an hour or less, and many of those workers
are single female parents. Children in lone parent families are four times as likely to be poor
as children in two-parent families. Aboriginal children and children from immigrant families
overwhelmingly live in poverty. The report stresses that an affordable housing strategy is
required to produce a minimum of 25,000 new affordable units per year.
Sector organizations: CHRA attended the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’
conference in Winnipeg and participated in the Cooperative Housing Federation of Canada’s
session in Atlantic Canada. CHRA also continued to collaborate with the Ontario Non-Profit
Housing Association (ONPHA) and participated in the British Columbia Non-Profit Housing
Association (BCNPHA) annual conference. In addition, CHRA maintained contact with US
and UK governmental and association counterparts to keep abreast of international trends.
2. Affordable Housing Initiatives
Future of Social Housing Subsidies and Assets: Forty-five housing and policy experts
representing federal, provincial and municipal governments, housing providers, and
associations met in Ottawa on June 11, 2003 to discuss the future of Canada’s social housing
subsidies and assets. This was the first in a series of regional meetings on critical policy
issues made possible by the recent funding agreement between CMHC and CHRA.
The expiry of operating agreements is imminent and will have a profound impact on the
social housing assets owned, subsidized and paid for by Canadians. By 2033, virtually all
operating agreements will have expired and the accompanying subsidies withdrawn. The
purpose of the meeting was to begin mapping out a course of action to ensure the long-term
viability of the social housing stock. The Honourable Steven Mahoney, Minister Responsible
for CMHC, attended this event and made it clear to all that the federal government is back in
the housing business. A summary of the proceedings, entitled The Future of Canada’s Social
Housing Subsidies and Assets: National Impacts and Solutions, is available on CHRA’s Web
site – see Expiry of Operating Agreements. The report identifies the need to preserve
Canada’s investment, maintain affordability for those needing rent assistance, and reinvest
the “savings” as agreements expire. For an in-depth analysis of the issue and opportunities,
see Guaranteeing a Future: The Challenge to Social Housing as Operating Agreements
Expire. Additional reports available on CHRA’s Web site include Expiry of Operating
Agreements – Findings on the Big Picture, and Expiry of Operating Agreements: Identifying
CHRA has partnered with the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association to commission the
development of templates and user guides for single and multi-project housing providers.
These resources will be launched on both CHRA and ONPHA Web sites early in January
2004. The goal is to help housing providers understand the viability of their own housing
project(s) once their operating agreements expire. CHRA and ONPHA will be
communicating the importance of these new tools to their membership.
CHRA participated in several events to increase awareness of the issues regarding the future
CHRA Achievements and Goals Report 3
of social housing subsidies and assets. Judy Forrest, member of CHRA’s Research and
Policy Committee highlighted the importance of preparing for the expiry of operating
agreements as a panellist at the BC Non-Profit Housing Association conference, and
moderated a session on the expiry of agreements at the Ontario Non-Profit Housing
Association conference. CHRA will continue to focus on the importance of maintaining
Canada’s investment in the existing social housing stock and will work with other
stakeholders to collectively increase awareness of this issue.
Atlantic Regional Meeting: Partnering with Business to Build Affordable Housing: Fifty
delegates representing business, government, academics and the non-profit sector from all
four Atlantic provinces attended this regional meeting in Saint John, New Brunswick on
September 26, 2003. This was the second in a series of regional meetings on critical policy
issues made possible by the recent funding agreement between CMHC and CHRA.
The theme of the meeting was “Partnering with Business to Build Affordable Housing”, and
the workshop explored innovative approaches to engaging the business sector in the
development of affordable housing and sustainable communities. Mayor Shirley McAlary
and the Honourable Tony Huntjens, Minister of Family and Community Services addressed
the delegates. Several speakers presented case studies and examples of excellent programs in
Atlantic Canada that provide good models of innovative approaches that could be used in
other communities. A number of key principles were identified that could guide the
engagement of the business community. A summary of proceedings, entitled Building the
Momentum for Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities is available on the CHRA
One of the outcomes of the Atlantic Regional Meeting was that delegates identified the need
for an Atlantic Network. CHRA was asked to take the lead on this initiative, and worked
with partners from all four provinces to determine the level of interest among local housing
and service delivery groups for a network. On December 10th, CHRA hosted a consultation
forum in Halifax to facilitate face-to-face discussion. A local committee will now review the
results of the work to date and recommend a future course of action.
National Symposium on Health and Housing: A Call to Action: More that 100 delegates
attended CHRA’s two-day national symposium on the linkages between health and housing
in Calgary, Alberta October 2 to 4, 2003. The purpose was to bring together housing and
health professionals to reach a common understanding about the links between housing and
health, and to begin to develop solutions and action plans to bring forward in the policy
realm. The Mayor of Calgary welcomed the delegates and the Honourable Stan Woloshyn,
Alberta Minister Responsible for Seniors also addressed the delegates. Participants and
presenters agreed on the importance of housing as a key determinant of health and began to
identify priorities for research and action. It was noted that while there is strong evidence that
housing is a socio-economic determinant of health, the case would be substantially improved
by more thorough research and documentation. This symposium was made possible through
the support of a variety of sponsors including CMHC, the Canadian Institutes of Health
Research-Institute of Population and Public Health, Canadian Institute for Health
Information-Canadian Population Health Initiative, the City of Calgary, and Raising the
CHRA Achievements and Goals Report 4
Roof. A report on this symposium will be available on CHRA’s Web site early in 2004.
Health and Housing: As a follow-up to the National Symposium on Health and Housing, in
November, CHRA’s Research and Policy Committee joined forces with Dr. Jim Dunn to
develop a funding proposal to the Canadian Institute for Health Research. The project was
approved, and CHRA, in cooperation with Dr. Dunn, received funding to deliver two
workshops in the housing community on the connection between health outcomes and
CHRA/FCM National Affordable Housing Forum: More than 170 delegates attended the
National Affordable Housing Forum co-sponsored by CHRA and FCM. This session was
held on April 9, 2003, to coincide with the CHRA Congress. The Honourable Michael
Wilson provided the keynote address. Other panellists included Michael Shapcott, Olivia
Chow, Michael Bowmen and Dr. John Metson.
Affordability and Choice Today (ACT) Program: CHRA, the Canadian Home Builders’
Association and FCM are partners with CMHC in the ACT program. CHRA sits on the
Management Committee of ACT and promotes ACT at various CHRA symposia and
meetings. In March, the Honourable David Collenette, then Minister responsible for CMHC
announced 10 winners of ACT grants ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 for a total of $110,000.
Some of the ACT funding will be used by various groups to: introduce a new zoning
designation permitting four distinct land uses; modify bylaws for the renovation of existing
buildings for an innovative artisan live/work cooperative; revise a zoning bylaw and
residential development guidelines to provide guidance on developing housing in
mountainous terrain, sustainable development, innovative servicing and environmental
sensitivity; work with a municipality to identify and address regulatory barriers faced by non-
profit groups that want to acquire and redevelop surplus municipal property for affordable
housing; work with a few municipalities to adopt smart growth bylaws and policies for
development; reduce the multiplicity of unique local government application forms in 13
municipalities in BC’s Capital Region and harmonize development review procedures; study
various regulatory changes that will lead to innovative housing strategies for a resort town;
and increase awareness of secondary suites as an affordable housing option and encourage
secondary suites as a means of increasing the supply of affordable housing. At the time of
the funding announcement, 189 projects had been awarded a total of approximately $2.2
million in ACT grants.
Provincial relations: CHRA continued to strengthen relations with senior officials from the
provincial and territorial governments who began to look increasingly to CHRA to play a
central role in coordinating and disseminating information.
Homegrown Solutions: CHRA completed the Homegrown Solutions project and prepared a
final report. Beginning in 1995, CHRA was the delivery agency for the Homegrown
Solutions initiative, a CMHC-funded grant program that provided seed funding to
communities exploring new ways to address the need for affordable housing. During the
program, CHRA conducted four proposal calls and received over 240 applications for seed
CHRA Achievements and Goals Report 5
grant funding. In total, Homegrown Solutions administered just under $1.4 million to
provide grants for 67 initiatives to investigate and document ways to provide affordable
CHRA Achievements and Goals Report 6
For each report, CHRA prepared a two-page highlight sheet summarizing the
initiative, its impact on producing affordable housing and the lessons learned by the
proponent. These highlights are posted on the CHRA Web site and will continue to be a
useful resource to stimulate ideas. The highlights also provide contact information to
facilitate network building across Canada so others can adapt and build on the ideas and
initiatives undertaken as a result of Homegrown Solutions.
To obtain detailed final reports, contact the Canadian Housing Information Centre (CHIC) at
1-800-668-2642 or e-mail email@example.com
3. Research Projects Underway and Completed in 2003
Future of Social Housing Subsidies and Assets: Building on its previous work on this
issue, in 2003, CHRA commissioned the report Guaranteeing a Future: The Challenge to
Social Housing as Operating Agreements Expire. This report explores the implications for
Canada’s social housing sector of expiry of operating agreements between governments and
the owners of non-profit, public and co-operative housing. CHRA has been working with its
partners to understand the implications of operating agreement expiries, promote awareness
of this issue, and identify appropriate actions well in advance of the expiries.
Operating agreements for Canada’s social housing have already begun to expire. Over the
next 30 years, agreements for about 593,000 federally funded and cost-shared units and more
than 90,000 provincially funded, non-profit, public and co-op units will have expired.
Withdrawal of subsidy is linked to the date when mortgages or debentures are paid off and
will involve a total reduction of $32.1 billion in federal funds between now and 2040, when
the last agreements expire. The primary concern for housing providers will be viability: how
will they maintain their units and meet their costs once government subsidies are withdrawn?
Will housing charges alone be enough to continue operating? For affordable housing to
remain viable following expiry of operating agreements, stakeholders must commit
themselves to immediate financial planning and policy discussions.
The full report and summary is available on CHRA’s Web site. The summary is also
presented in CHRA’s new line of Research in Brief publications. A copy was sent to all
members in November.
National Housing Research Committee: CHRA continued to be an active member of the
National Housing Research Committee (NHRC) and was represented by Rob Cressman, Judy
Forrest, and Barb de Ruyter. Participation on the National Housing Research Committee
provides a connection among the provinces, territories and various national organizations
involved in housing. The full committee met in Ottawa May 8th. At that time, Rob
Cressman, a member of the NHRC Housing and Health Working Group, met with
representatives of various national health organizations to foster links and help plan for the
2003 National Symposium on Health and Housing. At the November NHRC meetings, Rob
Cressman and Joyce Potter made presentations to the Housing and Health Working Group.
CHRA Achievements and Goals Report 7
Judy Forrest and Sharon Chisholm represented CHRA at the full committee session. The
NHRC has asked CHRA to provide an update on the future of Canada’s social housing
subsidies and assets in the next edition of their publication to NHRC members (early 2004).
Capital Replacement Planning Manual: CHRA, in collaboration with the Co-operative
Housing Federation of Canada and Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association, produced the
Capital Replacement Planning Manual for co-operative and non-profit housing providers.
CMHC provided funding and additional input and will distribute copies of the manual to
housing providers through its regional offices. The manual is designed to offer housing
providers a step-by-step approach and tools to plan for long-term capital replacement needs.
It can be used as a stand-alone document or in conjunction with CMHC’s Capital
Replacement Planning Software. The manual shows users how to create and use a capital
replacement plan so that sufficient funds are available when needed, replacements are made
at the right time and are affordable, and rents remain stable. A trainer’s manual is also being
prepared to assist in the delivery of training sessions.
Communications: A key focus of the Research and Policy Committee in 2003 was
improving the link between the Committee and CHRA Board of Directors. The Research
and Policy Committee presented their priorities to the Board at the end of January and
received approval. Several Board Members participated in a face-to-face meeting of the
Research and Policy Committee that took place following the 2003 Congress in Toronto.
The Chair of the Research and Policy Committee presented an update of activities and a
proposed work plan for 2004 to the Board at their meeting in Calgary. In addition, Joyce
Potter joined the Research and Policy Committee to serve as the formal link to the Board of
Directors and Executive.
4. Capacity Building
2003 saw the hiring of a capacity building coordinator and the start of capacity building work
that will, over the next two years, bring needed support to the affordable housing
The mandate of the capacity building program is to support growth of Canada’s affordable
housing stock by:
Responding to specific information requests;
Linking people seeking guidance as they undertake affordable housing development
projects with people who have successfully achieved similar tasks and who can
provide pertinent and timely advice;
Disseminating to interested parties information related to housing development; and
Providing structured learning opportunities (e.g. seminars, workshops, courses, and
information sharing conference calls).
Responding to Specific Information Requests: The capacity building coordinator is
available for information inquiries pertaining to affordable housing development. Groups
CHRA Achievements and Goals Report 8
seeking assistance are encouraged to do some of their own research first, but if guidance is
needed they are encouraged to contact CHRA for assistance. CHRA has a wide variety of
information resources on hand. If particular resources are not available in house, CHRA will
make every effort to find them.
Linking People and Information: Where written information and research do not fully meet
a partner’s information needs, the help and advice of someone with real life experience may
be beneficial. CHRA’s network of contacts and partners across the country is expansive, and
linking people together is a key role that CHRA will play in the coming years.
Information Dissemination: CHRA has been developing an e-mail news update system to
direct emerging information related to affordable housing development to anyone interested
in receiving it. This system will be launched in 2004. Please contact the capacity building
coordinator if you would like to join the e-mail list.
A new CHRA Web site is currently under development, and will feature capacity building
information. This will include information about housing seminars and events happening
across the country, the latest news related to affordable housing development, development-
related case studies and best practices, guides and other tools, and links to valuable
information on partner sites. CHRA will strive to make its site the definitive Canadian
affordable housing policy and development portal.
CHRA has maintained an ongoing dialogue with CMHC about the importance of developing
an education and training program to meet the information needs of the affordable housing
sector. In early 2004 CMHC is expected to announce details of a capacity training initiative
as part of the broader housing development tool kit it announced in 2003. Preliminary
discussions suggest that CHRA will be a key delivery partner in this training initiative, and
CHRA looks forward to working with partners across Canada in 2004 to bring learning
opportunities to interested communities.
On November 7, 2003 CHRA partnered in the delivery of a forum in Montreal on partnership
building in the affordable housing sector. The full day session was very well attended,
attracting a high proportion of university students who demonstrated a keen interest in
In December, CHRA partnered with Human Resources Development Canada and the City of
Ottawa to deliver a municipal forum that addressed the issue of the not-in-my-backyard
(NIMBY) syndrome. The focus was on strategies for avoiding and addressing NIMBY to
minimize its impacts on affordable housing development. Planning is also underway for a
national capacity building teleforum to be held early in 2004 on the topic of NIMBY. These
two events will contribute substantive new tools and new learning around this important
Also in December, CHRA undertook research to determine the level of interest among
housing providers and advocates in Atlantic Canada for the potential establishment of a
regional affordable housing network. The research will be complete in January 2004. On
CHRA Achievements and Goals Report 9
December 10th, CHRA hosted a meeting of housing development stakeholders from across
the region to review interim research findings and get further input on the network concept.
Early feedback indicates that a network would be widely supported.
CHRA plans to hold one national capacity building forum each year, in conjunction with the
annual congress. Planning is underway for the first forum to be held in March in Vancouver.
5. International Exchange
Tri-Country Conference: CHRA has been part of the tri-country project for the last 14 years
with partners from the UK and US. The three countries hold an international housing policy
conference every two years. During the year, CHRA ensured ongoing liaison and
communication with its tri-country partners. NAHRO will host the next Tri-Country
Conference in the United States in 2004.
Liaison with UK counterparts: CHRA representatives attended the Chartered Institute of
Housing Conference in Harrogate, England and further cemented the relationship with
CHRA’s UK counterparts as part of the association’s outreach, international work and tri-
country commitments. The conference provided an exceptional opportunity to meet and
dialogue with a considerable number of housing professionals from across the UK. CHRA
coordinated a UK study tour to Ottawa and Toronto in late-October, which further
strengthened ties with the Chartered Institute of Housing and its diverse membership.
Rooftops: CHRA President, John Metson and Kit Hickey, CHRA Research and Policy
Committee member and President of the New Brunswick Non-Profit Housing Association
went to Kenya in March as participants of a Rooftops Canada education tour. CHRA Past-
President Bob Cohen was in South Africa for three months as a member of a Rooftops
Canada project to develop social housing in a Johannesburg township.
6. 2003 Congress in Toronto
CHRA’s 35th Congress in Toronto, April 9 to 12 was a great success with more than 350
delegates in attendance. Frances Lankin, President and CEO of the United Way of Greater
Toronto provided an inspiring opening address. A series of workshops, plenary sessions and
mobile tours took place during the three-day event. The Congress ended with an address
from the Honourable David Collenette, then Minister Responsible for CMHC, as well as the
Honourable Steven Mahoney, who had been newly appointed as Secretary of State (Selected
Rodney Dykes of RDHS Limited in Liverpool, England, received the International Award in
recognition of his outstanding contribution to professional exchange and advancement of
common strategies for housing solutions in Canada, the US and UK. Robert Cressman,
Director of the Regional Municipality of Halton and Chair of the CHRA Research and Policy
Committee received the 2003 CMHC Award in honour of his outstanding contribution to
social housing. James Graham, Director of Operations for the Nova Scotia Department of
CHRA Achievements and Goals Report 10
Community Services, received the Graham Emslie Award for his dedication and commitment
to enhancing the quality of people’s lives through affordable housing in Nova Scotia. The
Societe d’habitation populaire de l’Est de Montreal (SHAPEM) received the Robert Hale Jr.
Award for its leading role in the urban and social revitalization of Montreal’s East End and
its ongoing commitment to affordable housing and community development. Peter Smith,
Chair of the CMHC Board of Directors, received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his
long-standing commitment to improving housing opportunities in Canada.
Communicating with its members, professional organizations and other interested
stakeholders is a key part of the CHRA strategic framework. CHRA continued to
communicate with its members through its quarterly magazine, Canadian Housing, through
its monthly newsletter, Update, and via its Web site.
CHRA Membership Consultation: CHRA hired an external company to conduct a
membership survey to help shape the development of CHRA’s communication tools,
including the Web site.
Canadian Housing: This journal provides a forum for the expression of views on evolving
housing policy in Canada and makes a significant contribution to the affordable housing
literature. It also updates members on recent developments and events on the national and
international housing scene. In 2003, CHRA published three issues of Canadian Housing.
Several themes were addressed, including an update on the Federal – Provincial/Territorial
Agreements, the importance of healthy communities in our rapidly changing world, and
housing issues facing new immigrants to Canada. One issue was devoted to the Tri-Country
Conference, and featured several articles on housing policies in programs in the US and UK,
and implications for Canada.
UPDATE: The monthly newsletter Update delivers fresh news and current information to
CHRA members. It provides a quick summary of affordable housing issues and events.
There was a temporary halt in production in the early summer as staff focused on the delivery
of regional workshops.
CHRA Web Site: CHRA continued its work to improve the design and content of its Web
site and to improve access to CHRA reports and publications through the Web. CHRA hired
a consultant to conduct a user needs survey to obtain input from randomly selected CHRA
members to assist in the redesign and enhancement of CHRA’s Web site. A survey was also
sent to all members to provide input. An Ottawa-based technology and computer design
consultant is expected to re-design the Web site by year-end. Web enhancements and design
should continue throughout the year and in 2004.
Research in Brief: In an effort to facilitate distribution of the findings of important policy
and research reports, CHRA has introduced a new publication, Research in Brief. The first
topic, Guaranteeing a Future: The Challenge to Social Housing as Operating Agreements
CHRA Achievements and Goals Report 11
Expire, was distributed to CHRA members in November.
In the year ahead, CHRA will build on its achievements from 2003 and continue to serve as
the national voice for affordable housing in Canada. Work will focus on the following
Affordable housing initiatives
Research and policy
Key initiatives targeted for 2004 include the following:
1. National Advocacy
CHRA will continue to advocate for, and influence public opinion on, the design and
implementation of a national housing strategy. Specific goals for 2004 include:
Continue to meet regularly with Cabinet Ministers, MPs, MLAs, federal and
provincial officials and municipal government representatives on affordable housing
Contribute to the Alternative Federal Budget for 2004
Prepare a formal response and submission to the Parliamentary Standing Committee
on Finance following the February 2004 Budget
Continue working with FCM in developing a new housing policy for Canada
Maintain links with provincial and federal officials to implement the Affordable
Rental Housing Program.
Develop a four-page Hill Times affordable housing insert for delivery to all MPs and
Prepare for the coordination and delivery of two regional meetings and one national
2. Affordable Housing Initiatives
CHRA will continue to research and develop cutting edge initiatives to create and manage
affordable housing. In 2004, CHRA will continue to deliver regional meetings and a national
symposium on housing policy issues as follows:
Connecting Housing to Social Services at the Municipal Level – April 2004, Montreal
CHRA Achievements and Goals Report 12
Capacity Building Workshop – Collaborating to Build Affordable Housing – March
31, 2004, Vancouver
National Symposium – Strengthening Canada’s Affordable Housing Agenda, June
24-25, 2004, Ottawa
Securing New Investments for Affordable Housing – September 2004, Saskatoon.
CHRA will also continue to work on a variety of initiatives, including:
Participating in the Affordability and Choice Today (ACT) program as a member of
the Management Committee
Participating on the National Housing Research Committee
Building government support for affordable housing among all levels of government
Promoting partnerships with national, provincial and community-based organizations,
and the private, financial, voluntary and government sectors interested in affordable
Fostering networking opportunities among CHRA members to discuss affordable
3. Research and Policy
The 2004 research and policy priorities will be closely linked to the delivery of regional
meetings and the national symposium. Research priorities for 2004-2005 include:
a) Housing as part of the Federal Urban Agenda
The “urban agenda” policy discourse must address the environment, infrastructure and
why affordable housing is essential to building healthy cities. It is also proposed that one
of CHRA’s regional or national meetings consider the interrelationships of housing and
economic development, the environment, and immigration. This topic will be addressed
at the National Symposium in Ottawa.
b) Housing and health
The 2003 national symposium on housing and health increased CHRA’s credibility on
this issue. CHRA plans to build on this work and focus on housing as a cost-effective
health solution. As a result of funding from the Canadian Institute for Health Research,
CHRA, in cooperation with Dr. Jim Dunn, will deliver two workshops in the housing
community on the connection between health outcomes and housing.
c) Future of social housing subsidies and assets
A current CHRA priority is to develop ways to safeguard current social housing subsidy
streams and social housing assets, which are the great legacy of the public and non-profit
housing era in federal housing policy. This will be one of the themes of the 2004 national
symposium. One of the goals is to identify options for using the savings from existing
social housing to reinvest in the current stock or fund new affordable housing initiatives.
CHRA Achievements and Goals Report 13
d) Alternative financing mechanisms (e.g., non-profit mortgage insurance, tax
It is necessary to build on CHRA’s past work on mortgage insurance, tax policy and
incentives to maximize the benefits of federal funding for affordable housing and to
complement capacity-building efforts. One of the goals is to develop new affordable
housing financing tools. Initiatives that create multiple stakeholders and support market
investment mechanisms are seen as a necessity if Canada is to assume a greater scale of
affordable housing activity. This will be a topic at the Saskatoon Regional Meeting.
e) Monitoring provincial and municipal activities in the devolved era
In this era of devolved social housing programs, and where new federal initiatives take
multiple forms across the country in the Social Union Framework Agreement (SUFA),
more systematic monitoring is needed. CHRA will continue to monitor provincial and
municipal activities and report on trends and outcomes.
f) Monitoring the shape and outcomes of new federal housing initiatives
After a period of strong advocacy, Canada has now introduced its new affordable rental
housing program and housing initiatives as part of the Supporting Communities
Partnership Initiative (SCPI). In this shifting and evolving federal-provincial
environment, monitoring these initiatives will be a significant focus of CHRA.
g) Housing affordability, stock trends, market rental investment
Monitoring affordability, stock and market trends is also a part of what CHRA does. This
area is gaining more CMHC attention, and provides an opportunity for CHRA to have
input into the interpretation of trends, informing the media and public opinion, etc. With
a growing population yet fixed affordable housing stock, and a changing investment
climate, monitoring is as important as ever. CHRA will consider issuing a digestible
h) Other Ongoing Research Concerns
Several other research areas have been identified as important issues for CHRA. These
Best practices in social housing management. This issue relates to CHRA’s
capacity-building mandate, and is the topic of a recently-completed CHRA
Housing and social assistance. The relationship of housing programs to other social
policy areas is an ongoing concern. Within this, the specific big-dollar
intersections between social assistance and social housing remain a matter that
CHRA Achievements and Goals Report 14
needs better analysis and new policy. New analyses may be needed in the current
era after “welfare reform” and housing devolution.
Housing and homelessness. There is broad recognition across much of the political
spectrum that homelessness is, in part, a housing problem. This is another
intersection area of housing and broader social policy. Considerable research is
being funded through HRDC and others.
Aboriginal housing. This is an area of increasing focus for CHRA. There are rising
housing needs as the urban Aboriginal population grows rapidly, and a close
interrelation with other social policy and community development issues.
Research priorities in this area should be developed in conjunction with partners
and allies in the Aboriginal community.
4. Capacity Building
CHRA will continue to encourage involvement in capacity building initiatives through a
variety of approaches. The key focus will be on communication and promoting information
sharing among housing providers. Some key activities for 2004 include the following:
CHRA Web site: One of the key goals for 2004 is to expand CHRA’s Web site to meet
member needs. Web site users will be able to access the wealth of existing information on
innovative affordable housing development, including case studies that describe innovative
approaches and best practices. The Web site is intended to facilitate networking among
members and promote events in support of capacity building, such as CHRA’s
teleconferencing meetings, workshops, seminars and other opportunities for training.
CHRA database: CHRA will develop its membership database to track members’ interests
on housing development. This will enable CHRA to streamline communications and provide
information targeted to members’ interests.
Capacity building workshops, seminars, and other opportunities for learning: CHRA
will organize one capacity building workshop per year in conjunction with the annual
Congress. CHRA will hold its first national capacity building forum on March 31, 2004 in
Vancouver – one day before sessions begin at CHRA’s Congress. The session’s theme
focuses on developing collaborative, multi-partner housing projects. For additional
information on this forum, please contact CHRA.
CHRA will hold its first national capacity building teleforum early in 2004. The purpose is
to discuss how groups across the country address NIMBY issues. One of the goals is to find
ways for a large number of groups across the country to take part in discussions in a
CHRA’s capacity building coordinator will continue to be available to work with individual
organizations in need of help finding the information and mentors needed to move their
affordable housing projects forward.
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CHRA will also continue to respond to opportunities to facilitate networking among groups
and individuals sharing common interests in affordable housing development. The continued
support of housing interests in Atlantic Canada as groups work toward the establishment of a
regional network is a good example of this type of work.
5. 2004 Congress in Vancouver
CHRA’s 36th Annual Congress will be held in Vancouver from March 31 to April 3, 2004.
The theme will be “Sustainable Communities: Building a New Urban Landscape.” As
Canada becomes increasingly urbanized, our cities are being called upon to address
environmental challenges, respond to new immigrant flows, and deliver new programs that
encourage sustainable development. The 2004 CHRA Congress will explore how the
environment and development issues combine to create sustainable communities and will
highlight the importance of affordable housing as a prerequisite for successful cities. Former
Premier Michael Harcourt will be the keynote speaker.
6. International Exchange
Tri-Country Conference: CHRA will assist in planning and will attend the 2004 Tri-
Country conference to be hosted by US partner NAHRO.
Rooftops: CHRA will continue to ensure active participation in Rooftops.
Communication is another key component of the CHRA strategic framework. CHRA will
continue to improve its Web site and the search engine to facilitate research and will post
current reports in a timely manner. CHRA will also continue to produce the Canadian
Housing magazine, its monthly newsletter, Update, and its new series, Research in Brief.
CHRA Achievements and Goals Report 16