Housing to become a right

The federal Liberals' are sending signals that they are ready to make a right to housing part of its national housing strategy.

The declaration appears largely aspirational in nature at this point, as sources with knowledge of the government's thinking said there won't be any legislated specifics tied to the promise — unlike the detailed benchmarks on other parts of the plan to measure progress.

Government officials have told housing and homeless advocates to expect a declaration in the plan set to be released this fall, and have it put into legislation to make a bold statement that would be difficult for a future government to ignore or reverse.

A spokesman for Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said the government couldn't yet speak definitively to the details of the strategy.

The UN special rapporteur on adequate housing said declaring a right to housing in Canada would be a huge step forward for the country as it looks to curb homelessness and poverty.

"This country has been very slow to embrace all social and economic rights, including the right the housing," said Leilani Farha, who is also executive director of Canada Without Poverty.

"They're being pretty bold and creative in their thinking. I don't know how that thinking translates into strategy."

Federal coffers will dole out $11.2 billion over the next decade on the housing strategy, which is being billed as a plan to ensure everyone in the country can find housing that is affordable and meets their needs.

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