By Seanna Strassburger
Category: 12 to 17 years old
My idea is for the government to provide safe and free housing for qualifying families in Canada. This housing can be in the format of communal living, where individual families have their own family space, but cooking and common areas would be communal living. This would benefit the families involved in many ways mainly it would help create a sense of neighborhood and community again. Everyone in the home would be expected to contribute to the running of it, and use their skills to assist and help other if possible. It would allow those in the communal living areas to pass on and teach their skills to others living in the area. Whether it be cooking, cleaning or handyman skills to maintain living quarters, yard work, car- pooling, etc.
This housing should be free for families who make below a certain threshold, as those families become financially stable and are making more money their rent will move to the second stage – rent geared to income. Once families make enough to not qualify for rent geared to income they would then move to full market rent. This program is intended to give families’ struggling financially an opportunity to provide themselves and their families safe and secure housing while tackling other aspects of living in poverty.
The goal is that the people who have very little money will be able to use what money they do have to help with training, going back to school and providing for their families. By eliminating / reducing the housing costs, -these families will have the opportunity to work and use their income for services necessary to improve their quality of life – such as better food, better education, increased access to health services and an opportunity to save money. The hope is that children grow up seeing successful family’s members and members of their community and choose to improve their own career opportunities by being more successful in school, therefore attending post-secondary education, and hopefully eliminating cycle of generations relying on social assistance. These youth will also be more proactive in their own and others health, which will create a healthier population, which will eventually ease the burden of increased healthcare costs on the government.
If all Canadians had access to safe affordable / free housing, there would be a decrease in poverty, which indirectly creates a safer environment. There is a direct link between poverty and high rates of incarceration, which costs the tax payer and government a significant amount of money per year.
There would be a decrease in social assistance payments. Estimates place the monetary value at $720M/YR at the provincial level.
This idea wouldn’t be cheap. It would cost the government a lot of money up front and taxes would increase, but in the end the gov’t would save on costs such as welfare, health care, bankruptcy’s etc. Once the buildings are paid off with tenants doing repairs etc. the costs to tax payers will diminish, therefore taxes could even go down.