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What's in housing strategy?

There's a lot of numbers and promises in the new national housing strategy. Here are five key things to know about the strategy.

1. The country will have a new, portable housing benefit starting in 2021. The money can't flow until then because the Liberals need to negotiate funding agreements with provinces and territories to make sure they match federal cash — and ensure the benefit doesn't result in clawbacks to provincial benefit programs. The Liberals estimate that the benefit will provide on average $2,500 a year in help to a total of 300,000 households over seven years.

2. There isn't any help for Canadians having a hard time getting a mortgage. The strategy references federal work to find ways to help get mortgage loan insurance for people who have a hard time qualifying, such as self-employed individuals. However, it doesn't establish a timeline for when a decision on that issue would be made.

3. There is lots of money in the plan, but not all of it is new. Nor does all of it come from the federal government. Billions will have to come from matching spending from the provinces and territories, or else they don't get access to the money. What the Liberals hope is that they can build about 100,000 new affordable housing units, and renovate about 240,000 more.

4. Federal legislation will eventually make housing a fundamental right. That will come with the creation of a federal housing advocate, regular reports to Parliament, and an advisory council that combined will ensure the strategy doesn't go off the rails. It's also a reason why the government is earmarking $241 million for research so that data influences the direction of the strategy.

5. Indigenous Peoples will have to wait another year, at least. The government says it is working on finalizing a housing strategy for Aboriginal Peoples in Canada because deeper consultations still need to take place with national Indigenous groups. The document released Wednesday says that a distinct plan will be created for each First Nations, Inuit and Metis.



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