Housing Affordability

Everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to call home.

McKenney at the housing platform launch
Living in Ottawa feels more expensive and less accessible every day. 

Everywhere you turn, people you know and love are getting priced out of their community — maybe it’s your child, your friend, or even you.

Ottawa is in a housing and homelessness crisis, and to effectively address this crisis, we must tackle it at the root. That is why as Mayor, Catherine will eliminate chronic homelessness in our city within their first term of council. 

This is Catherine’s five-point plan to address our housing crisis and to end chronic homelessness.

1. Build Housing that Meets Everyone’s Needs

Houses under construction
You may be worried about whether your children, relatives, or friends will be able to afford to live in Ottawa.

Our city needs to put housing affordability at the top of our agenda. When Catherine is Mayor, Ottawa will build vibrant, mixed-income neighbourhoods that offer affordable housing across Ottawa.

We’ll take advantage of the federal Housing Accelerator Fund to help grow our housing supply. We will incentivize building ‘missing middle’ housing and transit-oriented development. We will prioritize building green, affordable, and accessible homes and will cut red tape so affordable homes can be built faster and cheaper, for those that need it the most. And to make housing more accessible to families and multi-generational households, we’ll build with families in mind and increase the number of affordable, three-bedroom rental homes.

From the $4 billion federal Housing Accelerator Fund, Catherine will set a target for Ottawa’s fair share of $108 million in new federal funding for housing affordability. A leader with a deep understanding of both housing and federal funding opportunities will help secure our fair share of available resources.

2. End Chronic and Family Homelessness in Four Years

Housing is a basic human need that everyone deserves. It’s time to protect our neighbours facing the most barriers to housing and end chronic homelessness in our city.

Approximately 500 individuals and 300 families in Ottawa are chronically homeless, meaning they have been in shelters and motels for at least six months, often much longer.

A shelter is not a home. A motel room, without an oven or living room, is not a proper home for parents and their children. The communal sleeping and conditions of shelters and motels don’t provide people with stability or basic dignity. This isn’t healthy and isn’t right, and we must prevent shelters from being a long term ‘solution’.

When we end chronic homelessness, we will emphasize ending Indigenous homelessness and supporting Indigenous communities in Ottawa.

We will ensure that supportive housing is built for 250 individuals through the federal Rapid Housing Initiative funding and house another 250 individuals with housing allowances and the supports they need to remain housed and stabilize their lives.

To end family homelessness, we will invest in housing allowances to move families from motels to stable housing. Today, the City spends $15 million per year keeping families and children in motels and shelters, paying more per month for a motel than what it would cost to rent an apartment.

When Catherine is Mayor, the City will place families in stable, healthier housing instead of motels. We’ll do this by investing in housing allowances.

3. Building 1000 Moderately and Deeply Affordable Homes Per Year

More houses under construction
Working with our community housing partners, we will create 1,000 nonprofit housing units per year across the city — including supportive housing that helps people stabilize their lives. This will provide housing for people who would otherwise be at risk of experiencing homelessness. We will take appropriate City land, near rapid transit, to provide to nonprofits that can build affordable housing.

These communities will be mixed-income, mixed use, multi-generational, and accessible.

4. Prevent Families and Individuals from Falling into Homelessness

No one should be at risk of losing their home in our city because they can’t make rent. With Catherine as Mayor, the City will provide short-term rental allowances to prevent people from losing their existing housing.

Across our city, 36,000 households currently spend more than a third of their income on housing, and for many, that doesn’t leave enough for food and other basic needs. Many households are just one paycheque away from a crisis. Ensuring people can stay in their homes is necessary and key to building a healthier city - and it will save our City money.

As Mayor, Catherine will act to prevent more families and individuals from falling into homelessness.

We’ll also protect tenants by introducing enforceable property standards for rental housing units. We’ll provide a hotline connecting tenants to rent arrears support. We’ll also enforce short-term rental bylaws.

5. Retaining Ottawa’s Existing Affordable Housing 

Ottawa must retain our existing affordable housing and stop the loss of affordable units.

If we can stop the loss of affordable housing, we can prevent households in need from falling into homelessness.

We will invest $5 million in the Ottawa Community Land Trust to work with the nonprofit and co-operative community to preserve, maintain and support the creation of affordable housing - to exist in perpetuity.

For every new unit of community housing we build in Ottawa we lose another seven in the private market, resulting in the loss of housing for many through renovictions and demovictions. Retaining existing housing where we can to prevent future homelessness and keep people in their existing communities.

 

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