I’m often asked about affordable housing. There’s a lot to unpack here.

Housing in many cities, especially Hamilton, is mostly determined by market rates.

While municipalities are limited in what they can do to boost affordable housing in a significant way, here are some ideas I plan to put forward if elected as ward 4 city councillor:

Support non-profits that are building affordable housing. Organizations like Indwell, YWCA Hamilton and Habitat for Humanity are not only building affordable housing, but they are doing so with the environment in mind while ensuring dignified housing solutions. Organizations in this field have shared with me challenges working with the city and have suggested improvements, such as deferring or waiving development charges so that non-profits involved in building affordable housing can get shovels in the ground faster.

Give incentives to homeowners to build secondary dwelling units. It’s unaffordable for families to purchase single family dwellings. Building secondary dwelling units (SDU) is one opportunity to put more units into the marketplace, while also giving options to multi-generational households to live together and share in the costs for housing. SDUs also encourage renters to move into our neighborhoods. All in all, having housing solutions that accommodate different types of families will build a vibrant culture and community.

Invest in CityHousing Hamilton and community housing projects. This area is something we can learn from our friends in London, Ontario. The city can take a leadership role in investing in our affordable housing market and then, taking this investment and seeking matching funds from other levels of government in order to maximize benefit. We need to show leadership if we’re going to make a difference in our affordable housing landscape.

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