Housing advocates and experts surveyed for their thoughts on the “Housing Budget” announced by the federal government April 12 mostly agreed this budget is good for housing, but does little for homelessness.

Canadian Housing Evidence Collaborative (CHEC) Adjunct Professor Duncan Maclennan gave “two cheers for the 2024 Budget: the commitment to reducing pressures and problems is substantial; there are some signs, at last, of improving policy governance and shaping a more effective social sector.”

His praise came with a warning, though: the budget alone will not fix the housing crisis, and we shouldn’t expect it to. “Resolving the issues requires more than augmented fiscal resources and more housing rights,” he said. “It requires Canadian housing policymakers, planners and providers to stop doing failing ‘business as usual.’”

For instance, Maclennan said hiking the capital gains tax “to help fund affordable solutions [in] a housing system that allows untaxed and unearned housing and land gains to damage the sector and distort the economy makes no fiscal sense.”

Others would like to see more funding for low-income earners. The National Right to Housing Network media release noted: “Our governments will need to move full speed ahead to strengthen and further invest in these positive measures, while addressing the disproportionate investment and lack of regulation in the private housing market.”

They point out that “Budget 2024’s $15 billion investment in the Apartment Construction Loan Program, for example, holds a bigger price tag than all other measures combined, despite this program producing virtually no affordable housing and providing no downward pressure on rents for over 7 years.”

The Canadian Centre for Housing Rights said: “It is encouraging to see the federal government take a leadership role in tackling the housing crisis through a comprehensive approach with significant new investments and a suite of measures … While we welcome these announcements, they pale in comparison to the depth of need across the country.”

The Social Housing and Human Rights (SHHR) coalition said it was “disappointed” the budget “failed to adequately invest in housing that is affordable to the lowest-income households and people experiencing homelessness.” The coalition has identified a need for a minimum of 500,000 new non-market social housing units over 10 years.

“Apart from these modest steps in the right direction, Budget 2024 continues to rely primarily on failed policies that focus on incentivizing the private market to produce low-rent housing,” SHHR said.