After a five hour long discussion, where over twenty residents delegated, Planning and Housing Committee received a report “Our City Starts with Home: Scaling Up Non-Profit Housing in Ottawa” commissioned by the Alliance to End Homelessness Ottawa as part of its Starts with Home campaign. The report shows how the City of Ottawa can play a leadership role to create more affordable housing.
As Chair of Ottawa Community Housing I am very pleased to have received this report, which provides concrete actions that can be taken on the municipal, provincial, and federal levels to create more non-profit housing in Ottawa.
At Committee we also passed a motion, led by Councillor Cathy Curry, to have staff receive the report and consider its recommendations when identifying programs and initiatives for the City’s forthcoming submission to the federal Housing Accelerator Fund, when refreshing the 10 Year Housing and Homelessness Plan, and when planning other initiatives in support of the Municipal Housing Pledge.
This motion will help place the report’s suggestions for actions on how to build more non-profit housing at the fore-front of these discussions. The City of Ottawa is in a housing crisis, and reports such as this, that provide concrete actions for how to build more deeply affordable housing are very important.
One in eight households, are in core housing need, which means they are paying more than 30% of their gross income on housing, or are living in uninhabitable or overcrowded units. And this number does not include those who are identified as homeless, living in rooming houses or long-term care, or student housing. We need bold action, and we need it now.
The Alliance’s report also highlights the need to focus on deep affordability, and base rates on income, rather than 30% of market-rent. This means using the standard Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) definition of affordable housing as “adequate and suitable housing affordable at 30% of before tax household income to very low to moderate-income households”, and adopt area median household income as the household income indicator.
Adopting this standard for affordability will help create deeply affordable homes for people, and I am looking forward, as both Councillor and Chair of Ottawa Community Housing, to pursuing the Report’s actions to increase Ottawa’s non-profit affordable housing stock, and making sure everyone has a home.