The Rapid Housing Initiative needs a gender equity perspective

September 23, 2020

In 2019, Canada committed to supporting the most vulnerable communities in accessing affordable and quality housing through the National Housing Strategy. The strategy identified women and children fleeing intimate partner violence as a priority community.

Over the last six months, and in the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of safe and affordable housing for women and children fleeing violence has become a front-facing issue. The “stay home” protocol implemented to slow the spread of COVID-19, meant that victims of intimate partner violence were confined with their abusers and had dwindled access to resources and supports for safety. Women and children fleeing violence continue to face unique barriers in accessing safe, affordable and quality housing and the current global pandemic has exacerbated the urgency for action.

On September 21, 2020, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen announced new Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) to help address the urgent housing needs of vulnerable Canadians by rapidly creating new affordable housing. This strategy is described as a step forward in stimulating the economy, and supporting vulnerable communities. WomanACT applauds the minister on this announcement, and on the development of this new initiative.

To remain in alignment with Canada’s National Housing Strategy, we recommend that the Rapid Housing Initiative adopts a gender equity perspective including:

  • 30% of the proposed 3,000 affordable housing units be reserved specifically for women and children;
  • 10% of the units reserved for women and children be allocated to Indigenous and racialized women and
    WomanACT encourages the Honourable Ahmed Hussen to work directly with the Violence against Women (VAW) sector to ensure the needs of this priority community is addressed.


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