To: Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson,
Research from Carleton University indicates that Canada lost 322,600 affordable rental units between 2011 and 2016 in the private market. In same period, government investments in affordable housing built only 20,000 units. We are losing 15 affordable units for every one being built.
Despite significant investments of City money to build new affordable housing in both Budgets 2019, and 2020, there are still more than 12,000 households on the Centralized Waiting List for affordable housing.
We are losing ground. The number of family units accessing an emergency overnight shelter increased by 70.1% since 2014. The staff report on the updated 10-Year Housing and Homelessness Plan detailed what is at stake:
“It is well documented that poor housing conditions and high housing costs leads to stress for individuals and families, affecting their physical and mental health and resulting in increased use of health and social services. Children who experience housing insecurity due to frequent moves have been found to under-perform in school with lasting consequences on their capacity to participate in the labour market.”
Much more needs to be done. Budget 2021 is an important opportunity to make progress on the Housing and Homelessness Emergency, and to build a city for all.
We ask that the City of Ottawa:
- Commit at least $20 million in Budget 2021 of City funding, over and above federal and provincial grants, to build new affordable housing near rapid transit stations;
- Pass a strong citywide inclusionary zoning by-law that ensures 25% of new development is dedicated to affordable housing and places a special emphasis on deeply affordable housing within 1 km of rapid transit stations; and
- Ensure that all available government-owned land within 1 km of current & future rapid transit stations is used for non-profit and co-op housing (and that the City provide land to the newly established Land Trust in Ottawa specifically for affordable housing near rapid transit).
Please ensure City Council follows through on the commitments made through the Interdepartmental Task Force for Affordable Housing Near Transit Stations.
I would appreciate it if you can please respond to the specific asks above (items 1, 2, 3).