OTTAWA – For the second time in four months, the Liberal government has voted against an NDP initiative to address the housing needs of Canada’s most vulnerable. The government first voted against an NDP bill to recognize housing as a human right, and today, they have defeated a motion to address Canada’s homelessness crisis. 

“I’m disappointed the Liberals believe that aiming to reduce chronic homelessness by fifty percent over ten years is an adequate response to this crisis,” said NDP Housing Critic Sheri Benson. “Where is the urgency? Homelessness is a national crisis affecting 235, 000 Canadians every year.”

Motion M-147 was presented by Benson and would have engaged experts and those with lived experience to develop the first-ever national plan to address the growing epidemic of homelessness in our country. Benson’s motion is supported by a long list of stakeholders, including Monika Dutt, Executive Director at Upstream.

"Health and wellbeing is vital for all of us, and being homeless is a serious barrier to good health. A meaningful focus on homelessness, to complement the National Housing Strategy, should be a political priority,” said Dutt. “Homelessness is a public health issue affecting individuals, families and communities across Canada. It leads to illness and death for many every year, despite us having the resources and the knowledge to permanently end poverty and homelessness in Canada."

“A federal plan to end and prevent homelessness is not only possible, but it is urgently needed. It is not enough to simply say that ‘housing rights are human rights’ - words need to be backed with action, and tragically, many lives have been lost through collective inaction,” added Benson. “It’s frustrating because the NDP has been presenting solutions to the crisis. All this government had to do is vote ‘yes’ and get this work underway. We’re ready to work together on this. How many more lives have to be ruined? How many more lives have to be lost before this government will act with intention to end and prevent homelessness?”