We’re now 10 years on from the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression. Or, as our national mythology puts it, 10 years since Canada breathed a deep sigh of relief as the crisis mostly grazed our economy and financial system.

Ten years after the crisis, many Canadian cities are still in crisis. What follows is a look at the contours and roots of our urban housing crisis, and some avenues for exiting it in a way that would benefit the majority of people.

We could learn a lot from Helsinki, which has managed a 35 per cent reduction in homelessness

You aren’t going to end homelessness by putting people in shelters. You are going to end homelessness by giving people homes.

Not just those who are clean and sober. But also the addicted and the mentally ill.

“We used to think that people somehow needed to get sober to be able to live in a flat,” said Jan Vapaavuori, mayor of Helsinki. “But then we turned that around. You need an apartment in order to get sober.”

The quote is from one of a series of Politico articles by Charlie Duxbury, on the housing challenge facing Europe, where the picture is as bleak as it is here.

Except in Finland — the only EU country in which homelessness is falling.

The Ontario riding where the most people per capita used food banks to help fill their fridges and pantries last year was right here in Ottawa.

Feed Ontario released an interactive map Wednesday, detailing food bank usage per provincial riding.

It found that 15 per cent of residents in Ottawa–Vanier visited a food bank in 2018 — more than 16,500 people. It was the riding with the highest per capita number of visits in the entire province.

The break-even point for the new calculation is $13,200 — those earning more may be worse off

The proposed revamp of the Ontario Disability Support Program — though promised to provide recipients with “dignity” — would likely harm many of those recipients living in poverty, a study by Reegan Financial finds.

Currently, ODSP recipients can earn up to $200 of work income per month or $2400 per year, with each additional dollar earned reducing benefits by $0.50. The Ford government’s proposed revamp will calculate qualifications annually, while allowing recipients to earn up to $6,000 per year in work income, without clawbacks. Beyond that, however, each dollar earned would reduce benefits by $0.75.

For those earning below $6000 per year, Reegan financial adviser Ron Malis told PressProgress, the revamp is an improvement over the existing rules. But, Malis said “the break-even point — where someone would do no-better and no-worse with the rule change — is $13,200 per year, in net income. Above that $13,200, the recipient does worse under the new rules”.

Ontario government expenditure estimates signal deep cuts to provincial housing support programs

The Ontario government’s 2019-2020 expenditure estimates for the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing show more cuts are coming to housing supports, rent support and homeless assistance efforts.

Housing advocates recently expressed worry after the Ford government cancelled a plan for 800 units of affordable housing in the GTA. But the most-recent budget estimates suggest this is just the start of the attacks on provincial housing supports.

Here are 10 things to know about affordable housing in Alberta specifically:

1. The previous provincial government undertook important initiatives pertaining to affordable housing.

2. According to the most recent Census, 11.4% of Alberta households experience core housing need, representing more than 164,000 households.

3. Seniors living alone in Alberta face particularly high rates of core housing need.

4. Female lone-parent households in Alberta also face a particularly high rate of core housing need.

5. Members of Alberta First Nations also experience very high rates of core housing need.

6. Housing typically constitutes a larger share of spending for low-income households (compared with middle- and higher-income households).

7. On a per capita basis, Alberta has far fewer subsidized housing units than the rest of Canada.

8. Some Alberta cities have much more low-cost rental housing (per capita) than others.

9. Going forward, the impact of the federal government’s National Housing Strategy will be modest.

10. There are considerable cost savings to be realized when investing in affordable housing, especially when the tenants have serious mental health challenges.

Closed-door meetings are being held to figure out the best way to clear another tent city out of Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park, according to one city councillor.

Councillor Jean Swanson says she can’t disclose details of possible remedies being discussed at City Hall.

There are more than 100 tents at the site and Swanson is advocating for adequate housing to be found for all the campers.

“A lot of them don’t want to go to a crappy SRO because of bed bugs and rats and cockroaches. The conditions are bad,” she says.