Posts Tagged ‘Affordable housing’

Client Profile: St. Clare’s celebrates opening 22 new deeply affordable housing units

September 16th, 2020 by Iler Campbell

The new building with its cut-steel artwork adorning the balconies.

St. Clare’s Multifaith Housing Society is a charitable organization that provides affordable mixed-income housing in downtown Toronto. St. Clare’s was formed in 1998 by people who knew that the only way to end homelessness was to build affordable housing. This summer, St. Clare’s celebrated the opening of 22 new deeply affordable units in Toronto’s Kensington Market neighborhood.

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National housing strategy affirms that housing rights are human rights

December 14th, 2017 by Shelina Ali

This article was first published on rabble.ca

Last month, the federal government released what it is calling the country’s first national housing strategy(NHS). Some highlights include establishing a National Housing Co‑Investment Fund, providing support to provinces and territories to build a community-based housing sector, developing a First Nations National Housing and Infrastructure Strategy, and creating a portable rent supplement to assist families who are waiting for social housing.

Given the dismal outlook in Canada for access to affordable housing, there are many reasons to look skeptically at the commitments in the NHS. But from a legal perspective, the government has actually made a very significant acknowledgment that housing rights are human rights, and through the NHS, has affirmed Canada’s commitment to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, a multilateral treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1966. This acknowledgment opens up a very real path to push for recognition that positive rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms exist. Achieving this would be a dramatic change to the human rights landscape in Canada.  Continue reading “National housing strategy affirms that housing rights are human rights”

Protecting housing and human rights without limiting options

September 28th, 2017 by Michael Hackl

This article was first published on rabble.ca

Canada has been facing a housing crisis for a number of years now, with rising costs affecting both homeowners and tenants. According to the Canadian Rental Housing Index, renters in Canada are spending an average of 22 per cent of their before-tax income on rent and utilities. Further, this index reported that 40 per cent of renter households were spending more than 30 per cent of their before-tax income on rent and utilities, and a staggering 19 per cent were spending over 50 per cent of their before-tax income on rent and utilities. Keep in mind that the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) defines affordable housing as housing that costs less than 30 per cent of before-tax household income. This means that almost half of renter households in Canada are not in affordable housing, and one in five homes are spending over half of their before-tax income just to have a roof over their heads.

Imagine then, the relief that a family in Vancouver must have felt on being told that they had reached the top of a waiting list for a two-bedroom apartment that would have resulted in a significant reduction in their housing costs if they had been offered the unit. Unfortunately for them, the housing provider did not offer them the unit. At the time that the family was told that they were first on the waiting list, the family consisted of two parents and a two-year-old son, but the mother was seven months pregnant (and has since given birth to a baby girl). According to a voicemail left by a representative of the housing provider, they could not offer the family the unit because they did not know the sex of their then unborn child. For its part, the housing provider has said that the family was not being considered for the unit in any event, but the family feels they were passed over for this apartment because they have two young children of different sexes and the housing provider was unwilling to offer them a unit where those two children would share a bedroom.

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The Rental Fairness Act: What does it mean for renters in Ontario?

June 30th, 2017 by Safia Lakhani

This article was first published on rabble.ca

The Rental Fairness Act, (the “RFA”) is part of Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan, a strategy released in April 2017 to promote affordable housing in Toronto. The RFA, which received Royal Assent on May 30, 2017, eliminates the exemption to rent increase rules and requires landlords to compensate tenants if they wish to terminate a tenancy for personal use. Below are some of the key amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act, (the “Act”) and what they mean for affordable housing in Ontario. Continue reading “The Rental Fairness Act: What does it mean for renters in Ontario?”

Parkdale tenants take action on affordable housing with rent strike

May 25th, 2017 by Katie Douglas

This article was first published on rabble.ca

At the beginning of May, a group of tenants in Parkdale, a Toronto neighbourhood that is home to many newcomers and low‑income residents, went on a rent strike. The tenants are protesting proposed rent increases as well as what they claim are serious maintenance issues in their units. In a recent news release, a spokesperson for the group said that the landlord of three of the six buildings has begun issuing eviction notices to the striking tenants because they did not pay their May rent.

The background to this rent strike is an increasingly problematic rental market in Toronto.

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How inclusionary zoning stands to grow affordable housing in Ontario

February 23rd, 2017 by Claudia Pedrero

This article was first published on rabble.ca

On December 6, 2016, the Ontario legislature passed the Promoting Affordable Housing Act, 2016, expanding the powers of Ontario municipalities to implement “inclusionary zoning,” a requirement for developers to build affordable units when constructing new market‑rate housing. The Act changes the provincial Planning Act, RSO 1990, c.P.13, by obliging some municipalities, while making it optional for others, to adopt inclusionary zoning policies. A discussion on the adoption of the Act and debates surrounding its inclusionary zoning provisions can be found on our firm’s blog.

These legislative changes come years after rising housing prices, lagging income levels and dwindling federal and provincial funding have created an increasing need for new affordable housing in Ontario. Significantly, according to the 2017 Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey, over the past 13 years Toronto’s house prices have nearly doubled compared to household incomes, thus making market-rate housing unaffordable for an increasingly larger portion of the population. The same study also notes that nearby areas such as Hamilton and Oshawa are becoming unaffordable for middle‑income residents.

What inclusionary zoning will look like on the ground remains unanswered. By extension, it is difficult to predict whether the changes will have a significant impact on the need for affordable housing in Ontario. For example, it is unclear what an “affordable unit” means under the new changes and how affordable units will have to be priced. However, the province is slated to release regulations in early 2017 that will hopefully give some meat to its approach and allow municipalities to develop their policies and bylaws. Continue reading “How inclusionary zoning stands to grow affordable housing in Ontario”