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HRM In Line with Quality of Life Findings
(Wednesday, November 17,
2004) -- The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) released
a new report in its Quality of Life Reporting System (QOLRS) series
The report, focussing on incomes, shelter and necessities in the 20 QOLRS urban communities, is posted on the FCM website (www.fcm.ca)
Halifax Regional Municipality is in line with the overall findings of the report. Overall prosperity is a gain for most of the population, but also finds that:
• Income growth is static .
• Affordable housing is less available, particularly affordable rental housing.
• Low income families are unable to meet basic needs relying on social transfer payments and minimum wage jobs.
Changes in population have resulted in smaller households; the two-parent family household has declined in number and singles or couples with no children form the majority of households.
A growing proportion of the population is not seeing the benefits of HRMs prosperity. The growing gap in income between high income earners and low income earners continues to expand.
The stock of affordable rental housing has decreased and housing costs overall have increased. For most families, home ownership is still affordable, but increasingly single seniors, lone parent families, immigrants and aboriginals cannot afford the cost of rental housing. The FCM report finds that five of the seven indicators used to measure the risk of homelessness deteriorated from 1991 to 2001. Although the risk of homelessness is greatest in the largest of the QOLRS communities, small and suburban municipalities are also affected.
Lone parent families have experienced reduction in poverty levels, but half still cannot afford rental housing. The social safety net for low income families and individuals is failing to respond. Cuts in social programs and income support programs have contributed to increased poverty for low income households. Poverty for single seniors, low income families, households relying on income assistance, and children is deepening and the ability to met basic needs is impaired.
A separate report released by FCM last week, "Moving Forward: Refining the FCM Recommendations for a National Affordable Housing Strategy," calls for a national housing strategy. It blames the current shortage of affordable housing on the lack of new construction, slowness in mobilizing funds from the Federal-Provincial/ Territorial Affordable Housing Program, and a loss of existing affordable housing.
Barbara Nehiley, HRM Special Projects Advisor
(613) 241 5221, ext.
FCM media line (613) 720-0545