Exploring the Trajectory of Housing Assistance Policies in Canada
This article explores the degree to which changes in housing assistance policies (HAPs) reflect the structural shift from the welfare state era towards neoliberalism and financialization, as opposed to efforts concerning the right to shelter that have emerged in Canada between the mid-twentieth century and the housing surge of the 1990s and early-to-mid 2000s. My central argument is that the HAPs instituted by the Canadian state during the welfare state era were shown to garner limited legitimacy among policy-makers and served as an effective scapegoat for a state that came to shift the goals of HAPs towards purposes more explicitly associated with neoliberalism and financialization. To support this argument, I make the following claims that are informed by my empirical findings. Firstly, I show how Canada’s transition from the pre-1980s welfare state era into the contemporary epoch of neoliberalism and financialization saw the state largely withdraw from providing HAPs in the form of public assistance. The twenty first century brought drastic cutbacks to social housing support through public resources. At the same time, I explain that HAP policies were diverted to ramp up the demand for homeownership and access to mortgages which primarily benefited lenders
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