Serving the public interest every day The specific corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives undertaken by rental housing providers, and described in these pages, reflect todayâ€™s approach to CSR and to environmental sustainability. Millennials and others want the companies they work for, and the companies they rent from, to do good in the world. For decades, many rental housing providers have made major, but usually lowkey, contributions to various charities, but growing numbers of rental housing providers are now making more visible contributions to CSR in the housing field. Governments are now coming to for-profit housing providers looking for more direct contributions to the perceived public good. Many housing providers will answer those calls, but we should not forget that just by operating efficiently and properly, rental providers are serving the public good. Many rental housing providers make major contributions to society every day. In Canada each year, twice as many low-income households live in private rental units as live in social housing. Put another way, Canadaâ€™s for-profit rental providers house twice as many low-income people as non-profits and other community housing providers do.
20 | March 2019
When the government wanted to find housing for the Syrian refugees, they came to the private sector, and the private sector stepped up. When tens of thousands of people fled the forest fires around Fort McMurray, they found temporary shelter in public facilities, but then very quickly moved to units rented by private housing providers across Alberta and Saskatchewan. Likewise, when communities grow, private builders and for-profit rental providers are invariably the people who develop, build and provide the vast bulk of the new housing people need. Government rarely acts quickly enough or with enough resources or efficiency, whereas for-profit providers see the opportunity, assemble the resources, make the investments and provide the housing supply that people need. By all means, rental providers can bring out specific CSR initiatives, but let us all remember that most of what rental housing providers do every day, in their own interests, also greatly serves the public interest. John Dickie, CFAA President
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