Proceedings of the Prairie Urban Congress 2000
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Institute of Urban Studies
The Prairie Urban Congress was held at a very opportune time. Municipalities and community-based organizations currently face a difficult set of circumstances. The federal government has been devolving housing responsibilities to lower levels of government and this devolution has, often by default, resulted in new roles and responsibilities at the municipal and community levels. Senior levels of government are providing very little funding for new affordable housing and community development initiatives. Municipalities and community-based groups are facing increasing pressure to provide housing and associated support services for low and moderate-income families. At the same time, municipalities face increasing resistance to higher taxes to provide such services. Reports from the five urban municipalities attending the Congress indicate there are different housing and community development circumstances in each centre. Nevertheless, they have a great deal in common, particularly a need for more affordable housing and a struggle to cobble together the resources necessary to provide this housing. It is obvious from the information provided in this report that there are many creative and effective initiatives in the five centres but the amount of new housing provided is modest compared to the growing levels of need. The discussions also illustrate a need for capacity building at the neighbourhood level so communities can become more involved in decisions surrounding housing and community development initiatives.