✔️ Laine Johnson

Endorsement Quote: "I grew up in a coop, so I have both a personal and professional relationship to affordable housing. We need to build new affordable housing, and we also need to preserve what we built decades ago. As College Ward’s Councillor, I would champion a reset of co-op and non-profit housing funding programs. We need to give social housing tenants a commitment that their homes will remain affordable and that their homes will remain good places to live. The original programs were designed when these buildings were new, but many are now facing significant renovation and repair costs. We can't afford to lose these affordable homes in our communities, and the City needs to properly support their renewal. I’ve held senior leadership roles with Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation (CCOC), which works to create, maintain and promote housing for people with low and moderate incomes. I recently founded the Ottawa Community Land Trust is a not-for-profit organization stewarding community land assets in perpetuity for affordable housing. Using the OCLT to bring together diverse voices across the housing sector breaks down silos, reduces duplication, and provides the government with a single point of contact to deliver on policy objectives. Furthermore, a land trust is a dynamic mechanism that can support a wide range of affordable housing options not represented in the existing housing market. The OCLT requests existing affordable housing providers who currently lease land from a government, such as the City or CMHC, to transfer their leases to the OCLT, and asks the landowner to do the same. By bringing together multiple single housing operators, a land trust model creates economies of scale previously unattainable to individual housing providers—accelerating growth and creating greater opportunities to deepen affordability for tenants."

1. Stop the Loss ✔️Tenants Protections: "A landlord should be performing routine maintenance to avoid the need for serious construction work, and upgrades should be completed between tenants. Should a landlord need to vacate a unit to perform necessary work, the displaced occupants must be offered similar accommodations at the same rate in a nearby location, and/or have the right to return to their unit after work is complete." ✔️Housing Acquisition: "Although the City of Ottawa has jurisdictional responsibility for affordable housing, it has only facilitated the development of 364 new affordable housing units since 2014. This supply is not nearly enough to meet the demand: over 12,000 households are currently on the Ottawa Social Housing Registry waitlist—with an average of five to seven years before accessing housing. The city has a very important role to play to stop older residential buildings from being converted to high priced housing and supporting the non-profit housing sector to continue to provide affordable housing. Especially in an overheated real estate market, the city needs to find ways to sustain affordable housing, including by purchasing it. The Ottawa Community Land Trust was recently awarded $250,000 over 3 years from Canada Mortgage Housing and Corporation to set up a revolving load fund to facilitate strategic property acquisition. The City should be working with the OCLT to grow this fund."
2. Create More ✔️Inclusionary Zoning: "We have an affordable housing waiting list of 12,000 people in this city. This is unacceptable. I am in support of inclusionary zoning. Rules surrounding mandatory affordable units must be developed carefully to ensure there isn’t an overall disincentive to building rental stock. Consider the non-profit housing sector as a partner and leader to address the housing crisis: fund their capital projects to meet the demand. Private industry is only one piece of the puzzle, and they don’t assume the supportive and administrative work in offering the deeply affordable housing. The city is within its right to create a bilateral agreement in exchange for funding that creates caps on rents. However, there would need to be a formula that would aim to share the rise of inflation and cost escalations so that landlords were not positioned to let homes fall into disrepair." ✔️Increased Budget: "Frankly, the city has been far too slow to create more affordable housing in the past few years and I believe that we should create housing for AT LEAST 1,000 households each year. And putting our resources to serve the communities that are most vulnerabilized (a word that I use intentionally because these folks are not vulnerable, but made vulnerable by our systems and institutions) such as Indigenous people and low-income women should definitely be a priority. The Indigenous Caucus of the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association has called on the Federal Government to invest in a For Indigenous, by Indigenous Housing Strategy and the City of Ottawa should do its part. Since Indigenous Peoples are 11 times more likely to use a homeless shelter, a targeted approach could have a large impact on our systems."
3. Preserve the Quality ✔️Landlord Licensing: "I support initiatives to expand the quantity and quality of affordable homes and to hold landlords accountable for provision of appropriately maintained affordable housing in the City. The City should take proactive responsibility to ensure its bylaws are being respected and that housing is safe and healthy for all renters. The suite of Ottawa bylaws that came into effect in 2021 mandates long-range capital planning so that landlords must demonstrate the capital reserves to maintain their buildings, but enforcement of those standards requires investment. I will work with my colleagues on Council to lobby for mechanisms that can help to redress some of the power inequities for renters and low-income residents, currently embedded in this system." ✔️Ombudsperson: "It is important to keep all of us accountable to the commitments the city has made to affordable housing. An ombudsman who represents the human rights of our city and brings violations to the city would concretely improve how well the city considers and responds to housing needs."

Link to website: www.lainejohnson.ca

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  • LC
    Leah Cogan
    published this page in Ward 8 - College 2022-07-04 14:51:49 -0400

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