These agreements are consistent with the new vision of housing under the National Housing Strategy, and are more flexible and consistent with the expected results. In 2011, Steve Pomeroy wrote a report on the imminent end of public assistance to social housing. The report examined 200 agreements covering 9,000 social housing units. As this was not a statistical analysis, it cannot be generalized to all social housing agreements. Nevertheless, it raises important questions and concerns about the viability of non-profit housing providers as soon as contracts expire. On March 8, 2019, a 10-year agreement was signed between the Government of Canada and the Government of Alberta. The agreement will invest $678 million to protect, renew and expand social and community housing in Alberta. Given the current homelessness crisis, the continued use of the CMHC surplus would increase the affordable housing stock, particularly where the need is greatest. Sharon Chisholm, former Executive Director of the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association, suggested that “[I] would tell the federal government that it will maintain the line on the existing budget, if it does not increase it, 80% of that budget could be spent on new housing. If the mortgages are repaid, it could add 21,000 units of housing per year.
If the provinces give the pedal to the metal and the partner, it could double” (Standing Senate Committee, 2009, p.87). An earlier CHRA study (2006) calculated that, as soon as all enterprise agreements expire, federal, provincial and territorial governments would save about $3.5 billion per year by 2040. This raises questions about the savings to be achieved through reduced spending. Housing activists are also raising questions about the surplus of CMHC raised through housing activities in Canada. The 2006 study called for reinvestment in housing projects that have profitability problems or help replace capital, as these properties are well paid and it would be cheaper to invest in them than to replace them. When the agreements were developed, it was assumed that after mortgages matured, cash flow requirements would decrease and housing projects could continue to offer affordable rents without subsidies. But that was not the case, and in 1993 the federal government began to withdraw from social housing by transferring the financial responsibility for social housing to the provinces. Housing strategies need to address the priority housing policies of the NHHA that are of interest to the state or territory. Priority areas for housing include the majority of the unreased social housing portfolio managed by the provinces and territories under various long-term agreements. These agreements define the funding guidelines and conditions for housing programs, with management in the hands of those most in contact with local needs.