About housing

Non-profit housing includes social housing, co-ops, transitional and supportive housing.

Non-profit housing is mission-driven to provide permanently affordable housing for low and moderate income households. It is inclusive of accessible housing, larger family unit sizes, supportive housing and housing geared toward specific vulnerable groups.

Housing is affordable if it costs 30% or less of a household’s before-tax income.

Affordable housing can be provided by the private, public and non-profit sectors and can be in the form of rental, ownership and co-operative ownership, as well as temporary and permanent housing. 

The housing market has become distorted in Canada because real estate has become the most stable and lucrative investment asset. Having housing that is removed from the private market is critical to balancing the housing market in general and removing the profit motive..

We need a proper needs assessment to know how many of what types of units are missing from Ottawa’s housing stock. This is happening at a National level through the HART project, with the involvement of expert local advisor, Dr. Carolyn Whitzman.

Looking at shelter numbers alone, adding family-sized multi-bedroom units would make the greatest reduction in the number of people experiencing homelessness.

However, there are a lot of people experiencing homelessness looking for single bedroom units. Rooming houses, boarding houses and shared accommodation are also options that meet the needs of some people experiencing homelessness. However, existing stock is often in poor condition and shared common areas including kitchens and bathrooms are not the preferred option for most people.

Supportive housing with private living spaces, some shared common space and access to supports on site, is needed for people who require support to live independently.

The majority of housing is in the private sector. And the loss of existing affordable housing is happening in the private market. If we continue losing less expensive rentals in the private market at a higher rate than we can build in the non profit market, this will not solve the crisis.

Creating more supply in the private market without serious affordability requirements, unfortunately, will not improve affordability.

We need regulation to stabilize affordable rental in the private market, AND more new non-profit supply.

Negotiations have been happening with social housing providers and all levels of government. At this point, it would be politically untenable to not renew these agreements for any party. While not confirmed yet, it is likely that these will be renewed.

Some progress has been made with re-investment in coops in the most recent federal budget.

The Province has recently released a new framework for housing built under Ontario’s Housing Services Act, which represents the majority of social housing in Ontario. The new framework gives municipalities and housing providers authority to negotiate new agreements that will provide long-term sustainability for housing providers and the continuation of subsidies for tenants.

We talk about transitional and supportive housing under the big umbrella of non-profit housing. All types are needed and non-profit housing should include all of these different types of housing based on need.

Emergency shelters will always be needed for people temporarily displaced due to emergencies like fire or flooding. Increasingly, shelters in Ottawa are focusing on building and operating supportive housing. With their expertise in providing supports and services to individuals experiencing homelessness, shelters are able to reallocate resources toward long-term solutions.

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Address: 22 O’Meara St, Ottawa, ON K1Y 4N6