Building incentive plan will boost affordable-housing supply

Kitchener planners will this year continue to build a new incentive-bonus plan designed to boost the local supply of affordable housing.

Working closely with regional government as well as Waterloo and Cambridge officials, the program will offer developers a smorgasboard of incentives that could help increase construction of low-income homes.

I’m told the plan — focused on future LRT station areas — could be done without additional cost to the 2015 budget currently being considered by councillors who recently identified low-income housing as one of 12 priority work items. Some councillors, including yours truly, identified affordable-housing as part of their recent election platforms.

Kitchener staff are now completing a report that will recommend the city research the incentive-bonus housing plan to see how it is used by other municipalities. To avoid hiring a $65,000-plus consultant, I’m hoping a planning student will work on the proposal in combination with a city planner.

Despite the fact many people believe regional government is totally responsible for affordable housing, lower-tier municipalities like Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and the townships or single-tier cities like Toronto, Ottawa and Hamilton are the only bodies allowed to sponsor incentive programs because density bonusing comes under their control.

I intend to continue to advocate to have subsidized housing treated as a high-priority item because local councils share the responsibility for easing a situation where the Region has had 3,000 names on a waiting list for affordable shelter. Those names represent at least 8,000 children and adults who, for decades, have made do with inadequate housing.

I also believe that inadequate housing and homelessness results in health, police and social issues that, every year, are costing all of us millions of wasted dollars.

This entry was posted in Budget, Homelessness, Low-Cost Housing. Bookmark the permalink.

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