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.