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Jess Frampton

Will anyone ever be able to afford a home?

Housing mania is gripping the United States and Canada – with millions wanting but unable to find an affordable place to live.

For years, both countries have faced a growing housing crisis. The pandemic exacerbated the struggle, and only now are governments starting to take the problem seriously. Still, securing affordable housing remains a daily struggle for would-be buyers, renters, and a growing number who are either homeless or under-housed.

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President Joe Biden speaks as he announces a new plan for federal student loan relief during a visit to Madison Area Technical College Truax Campus, in Madison, Wisconsin, on April 8, 2024.

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

The battle for Gen Z

With President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau facing upcoming elections, the battle is on to capture young voters. Biden will face former President Donald Trump next November, and the next Canadian election is due by the fall of 2025, but both contests are already underway. Younger folks in both countries are turning increasingly sour on the status quo as they face affordability challenges and feel left behind.

Trudeau has expressly said his government was focusing on Gen Z and millennials, “restoring fairness for them.” And on Tuesday, his government unveiled its “Gen Z budget,” going all in on measures for parents with younger children (new cash for childcare and a school food program), students (interest-free student loans), and housing policy aimed at opening space in the market for younger buyers who’ve been shut out in recent years (with a first-time buyer, 30-year mortgage amortization period and tax breaks for home purchases).

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Houses are seen under construction in a neighbourhood of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

REUTERS/Lars Hagberg

Betting big on housing

Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government is going all-in on housing. The government has been rolling out announcements ahead of the official budget drop on April 16, a departure from the tradition of politicos trying to keep a tight lid on plans.

This week, as the country grapples with a housing affordability crisis, the government announced CA$6 billion in funding for home building and municipal infrastructure. But a few provinces, including Alberta and Ontario, pushed back, complaining about the strings attached to some of the cash, which would require provincial governments to permit builders to put up fourplexes without needing special approval.

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The dog, Bobi, that broke the record for oldest dog ever at 30 years-old, is pictured at Conqueiros, in Leiria, Portugal, February 4, 2023.

REUTERS/Catarina Demony

Hard Numbers: Dog title temporarily revoked, Young Irish adults live with parents, Russian air travelers live in fear, Houthi strikes crush cargo

31: Hold up, dawg. Guinness World Records has temporarily rescinded the title of World’s Oldest Dog that was awarded last year to a Rafeiro do Alentejo guard dog in Portugal that was allegedly 31 when it died (that’s more than 200 human years). New vet testimony has cast doubt on the dog’s real age.
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Up up and away: Will skiers see more or less snow at Whistler this year?

Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH via Reuters

Hard Numbers: El Niño messes with snow, US shutdown looms again, Toronto developers pause condos, climate report calls out Canada

25: It’s an El Niño year again – meaning warmer Pacific waters will affect global weather patterns. For Western Canada, that means it’s likely to get 25cm less snow than average this winter, while Northern Quebec and Labrador generally could get 25cm more. In the US, southern states will likely see above-average snow accumulation this winter as well.
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Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, hands small Canadian flags to 53 new Canadian citizens representing 22 diverse nations, as they embark on their citizenship journey during a special ceremony at Canada Place, on Oct. 12, 2023, in Edmonton, Alberta.

Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Reuters

Support for immigration fades in Canada

While political tension around immigration in Canada is nowhere near as intense as in Washington, there are signs that may soon change. Canadians’ traditionally strong support for high levels of immigration is slipping, according to a long-running tracking poll, putting pressure on Ottawa to stop letting so many people in.

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Migrants share space at a makeshift shelter in Denver, Colo., on Friday, Jan. 13, 2023.

Hyoung Chang/Pool via REUTERS

Migrant and housing crises hit both sides of border

Denver, Colorado, is an American poster child for the challenges that arise when a housing crisis meets a rise in migration coupled with insufficient support for newcomers.
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Luisa Viera

Is the clock ticking on Biden and Trudeau?

Both Canada and the United States suffer from perpetual campaigns.
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