Housing continues to be a joint priority for Anglicans and Lutherans as they support Bill C-400, a private member’s bill calling on the government to develop a national housing strategy. Anglican and Lutheran staff leaders engaged in this issue invite local church members to connect with MPs about the bill before it goes before Parliament, Feb. 13.
An estimated 400,000 Canadians do not have healthy homes. The UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing has observed that “Canada is one of the few countries in the world without a national housing strategy.”
Bill C-400 recognizes housing as a human right. It would commit the government to work with non-profits, the private sector, Aboriginal communities, and all levels of government in developing a national housing strategy. With set timelines and goals, the strategy would then address the root causes of homelessness and set a plan to provide housing for all.
Church members are encouraged to write to or meet with their MPs about Bill C-400 as soon as possible. Resources are available through Dignity for All, a campaign co-founded by long-time ecumenical partner Citizens for Public Justice.
This advocacy push is one example of housing work Christians do on a daily basis across Canada.
In Victoria, Evangelical Lutheran churches network with other non-profits to ensure adequate housing for all levels of poverty: those who live on government subsidies, the working poor, and the lower middle class.
In Winnipeg, St. Matthew’s Anglican Church is converting its property to 25 units of affordable housing for limited income families, a neighbourhood resource centre, and a dedicated worship space.
Many more examples exist across the country, including at a regional level.
On a national level, the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada are developing a shared resolution on housing and homelessness to be presented at Joint Assembly, to be held July 2013 in Ottawa. The resolution will commit both churches to continued local action and government advocacy.
To support Bill C-400, consult these Dignity for All resources:
- Read the backgrounder on Bill C-400
- Use this template letter to write to your MP
- Use these talking points when meeting with your MP
- Access all resources on the Dignity for All website. Many resources are also available in French.
For more information about this work, email Henriette Thompson, public witness coordinator for social justice (ACC) or the Rev. Paul Gehrs, assistant to the bishop, justice and leadership (ELCIC).
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