Here are some of the questions we've received from endorsers, citizens, candidates, and partners so far. The more conversation we have, the better! So keep those questions coming. 

About the campaign

Numbers matter. The goal of Starts With Home is to demonstrate to candidates and the next municipal council that affordable housing and ending homelessness are top priorities for voters. Having a large number of voters in support of the Starts With Home policies provides a strong political mandate for the next Council to move forward with real change.

Communities across Canada are tackling homelessness at the local level through funding, policies, programs, and services tailored to meet their unique needs. Municipalities have responsibility for specific planning tools and policies and are the best placed to know local needs and issues. Cities can leverage their funding and combine it with funding from other levels of government to create permanent, deeply affordable housing.

For the first time in over 20 years we are seeing sustained significant investments in affordable housing from the federal and provincial governments, and the City of Ottawa has also increased its funding. However, increased funding won’t meet the goal of ending homelessness and ensuring that everyone has a home if planning policies and regulations continue to permit the loss of existing affordable housing and displacement of tenants. We will also miss out on critical opportunities to add new affordable housing stock if planning policies and regulations don’t require the inclusion of affordable housing in private developments through tools like inclusionary zoning and community benefit agreements.

Tell your friends and family. Tell your local candidates you support Starts With Home and ask if they do too. Talk about it at your kitchen table, on your street, at gatherings, and on social media. As an endorser, will send you updates on the campaign by email, and include shareable content and tools you can use to engage your community and your local candidates. We will also reach out when exciting events and volunteer opportunities come up, so that you can feel even more connected to the movement!

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: PO Box 22021, Ottawa, ON K1V 0W2