In Canada, housing is considered “affordable” if it costs less than 30 per cent of a household’s before-tax income. Many people understand the term “affordable housing” as a reference to rental housing, subsidized by the government. However, the term is much broader and includes housing provided by the public, private, and non-profit sectors and can refer to all forms of housing tenure such as rental, ownership, co-operative ownership, as well as temporary and permanent accommodations. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has recently introduced the concept of “housing hardship” which refers to the financial difficulty a household may face due to a combination of high shelter expenses and insufficient income. A household is considered to be in housing hardship if the disposable income after housing expenditures is such that the household is unable to afford necessary basic goods and services such as food and transportation.
The City of Brampton is positioning itself for the future, with an understanding that a mix and range of housing options is necessary for residents to have a high quality of life. Given the current housing affordability challenges faced across the Greater Toronto Area, Brampton acknowledges the need for an affordable housing strategy to respond to ongoing increases in housing costs. The City of Brampton’s population is expected to grow to 1 million by 2051. The composition of Brampton households is quite unique, as nearly 50% of households contain 4 or more people, while 12% of all units are comprised of more than one nucleus family (2016). Brampton is also very diverse, as 52% of the City’s population are foreign-born (2016). More than one-third of all households in Brampton are spending more than 30% of their total income on shelter costs and according to Brampton’s needs assessment, and recent Region of Peel housing work, youth homelessness and affordability for both low-income and middle-income families as key challenges.
The Affordable Housing Strategy will review the current policy framework to address Brampton’s housing needs and ensure that Brampton’s policies support a full spectrum of housing affordability and housing options. The Strategy will result in recommendations for policy and process changes, in accordance with the City’s Vision 2040, Term of Council Priorities, the Provincial Policy Statement and the provincial Growth Plan. In order to improve the state of housing affordability within the City, Brampton’s affordable housing strategy will result in innovative housing solutions which responds to the local context, provincial and regional planning policies, demographic trends, as well as housing preferences. A different mix of housing unit types is necessary to adequately accommodate the juxtaposition between a young and aging population, and the current trend toward multi-generational families.
According to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Inclusionary zoning (IZ) is a land-use planning tool that a municipality may use to require affordable housing units (IZ units) to be included in residential developments of 10 units or more. These units would then need to be maintained as affordable over a specified period of time. This tool is typically used to create affordable housing for low-and moderate-income households and works well in locations experiencing rapid population growth and high demand for housing, accompanied by strong economies and housing markets.
City staff will engage in ongoing efforts to measure the success of the Affordable Housing Strategy. The City will work with other levels of government to provide financial contributions in developing programs that will maintain housing affordability targets over time. The City will continue its advocacy efforts for funding opportunities that connect to housing priorities within Brampton and across the Region. Collaborative partnerships with all levels of government, agencies, and communities will also be fundamental to the success of the Strategy and achievement of its goals.
This is perhaps the most common misconception about affordable housing, however, more than 100 studies conducted in the US and Canada across a variety of neighbourhoods and development proposals over the past 30 years show no evidence that property values are impacted by affordable housing developments.
Moreover, affordable or high-density housing often has a stabilizing effect on a neighbourhood by enabling people to stay in their communities.Architect and author Oscar Newman concluded that the design and use of public spaces - and particularly the sense of control and ownership that residents have over these areas - have far more significant effects on crime than density or income levels. Ontario studies have shown that neighbours of residents in supportive housing have few complaints about safety. This has been backed up by work done in Vancouver, following neighbourhoods where supportive housing has been built. Moreover, affordable or high-density housing often has a stabilizing effect on a neighbourhood by enabling people to stay in their communities.
No. Affordable housing must comply with the same building restrictions and design standards as market-rate housing. As such, it will be designed to fit in with the character of the neighbourhood. As a rule of thumb, affordable just means that housing should cost no more than 30% of a household's income and it is often affordable because innovative developers have contributed to keeping the constructions and/or operating costs low, not because it's built with cheap or out-of-character materials.
Often, the future occupants of new affordable housing already live in or near the neighbourhood. They are people sharing housing with other family members or friends, or struggling to pay market rent by giving up meals or having to walk because they cannot afford transit fares.
And yes, of course, there will be new people moving into any new affordable housing developments. Some are just moving across town, others are newcomers from other Canadian cities or from places around the world, and others are students or young professionals who cannot spend over 30% of their income on housing to pay market rents. Complete communities provide housing opportunities for all.
Lastly, the Ontario Human Rights Commission states: "People should not have to ask permission from anyone, including prospective neighbours, before moving in just because of stereotypes related to grounds under the Ontario Human Rights Code. Concerns about affordable housing projects should be legitimately anchored in planning issues rather than stereotypical assumptions about the people who will be housed."
In Brampton, the Region of Peel is responsible for emergency shelters, transitional housing, and social and affordable housing. They also provide oversight to non-profit housing providers, and manage rent-geared-to-income programs and second unit assistance. While the City of Brampton collaborates with the Region on this work, the City is responsible for facilitating market housing that also includes affordable rental or home ownership options for Brampton residents.