AFFORDABLE HOUSING IS NEEDED, NOW MORE THAN EVER
Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® holds affordable housing forum with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
With the average sale price of homes increasing each month across most of Ontario, it is getting more difficult for Ontarians to purchase a home. Now more than ever we need to make sure the Waterloo region is building a community that fosters social inclusion in the context of affordable housing development. Many have been hit hard financially because of COVID and their financial recovery will be slow. It is not surprising that many are struggling to find attainable housing.
On Tuesday, March 16th the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS (KWAR) invited outreach specialists Jamie Shipley and Arlene Etchen of the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Association (CMHC) to host a session based on their report Understanding Social Inclusion and NIMBYism in Providing Affordable Housing.
Among the many barriers to creating inclusionary housing, the session focused on the challenge housing providers often face when developing projects known as a not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) syndrome. A frequent NIMBY argument is that affordable housing will negatively impact neighbourhood property values. However, studies on affordable housing largely dispel this myth.
“Some might question why Realtors would even care about this issue,” noted Nicole Pohl, KWAR President. “The simple answer of course is because we are all citizens of the region, and we all want safe, decent, and stable housing for every member of our community.”
Many community stakeholders joined in on the call, including Region of Waterloo Councillor, Tom Galloway who said, “Affordable housing is one of the key issues of our time and it was great to see the KWAR sponsor this webinar and dispel the common NIMBY myths associated with affordable housing in neighbourhoods.”
Township of Wilmot Councillor Jenn Pfenning offered her insight after the KWAR session saying, “housing is a vital human need and the lack of affordable options is a significant barrier to maintaining a healthy and diverse community. It was wonderful to see so many different perspectives represented at the seminar. From policy, to construction, to selling, we all have a role to play. The value of a person’s worth shouldn’t be measured by the value of their home, but the value of a community should be judged by whether everyone has a home.”
City of Kitchener Councillor Bil Ioannidis, a Kitchener councillor for over 10 years, expressed his frustration during the question-and-answer with what he called a very well-organized form of NIMBYism. Ioannidis believes for real change to occur there needs to be more voices in the Yes in My Backyard movement. “We need more voices in the community to speak in favour of development or we will never move forward,” says Ioannidis. “Every project that comes to council, we only ever see the side that does not want development.”
KWAR believes it is important to keep this discussion going and has two future sessions scheduled focusing on affordable housing. On Tuesday, April 20th, they are inviting Indwell to share information on their upcoming build which is transforming St. Marks Church in Kitchener to house 43 deeply affordable apartments with supports. The public is invited to join the session and can do so by visiting https://kwar.ca/kwar-events/. The City of Waterloo is also hosting a discussion with KWAR members on May 4th to gather input from Realtors about their perspectives on the affordability and diversity of Waterloo’s housing supply.
As Canada’s authority on housing, CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need, and offers unbiased housing research and advice to all levels of Canadian government, consumers and the housing industry. CMHC’s aim is that by 2030, everyone in Canada has a home they can afford, and that meets their needs.
To find out more about the National Housing Strategy, visit www.placetocallhome.ca.
Established in 1937, the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® (KWAR) operates the local Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) and provides ongoing professional education courses for nearly 1,600 REALTORS® members who serve the communities of Kitchener-Waterloo and outlying areas. The term REALTOR® is a trademark identifying members in good standing of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) who provide real estate brokerage services in compliance with CREA’s By-Laws and Rules, the REALTOR® Code, and all applicable federal and provincial laws and regulations. KWAR has donated well more than a million dollars to support local charities on behalf of its REALTOR® members. REALTORS® believe that healthy communities depend on a strong economy, safe neighbourhoods, a clean environment, access to housing and the protection of rights of property owners. KWAR recognizes the need to support and enhance the Quality of Life enjoyed by residents of Waterloo region.
CMHC Research report: HERE
Copy of the CMHC presentation: HERE
Seminar recording: HERE
Current Opportunities to Engage on Affordable Housing
Engage Waterloo Region:
- Affordable Housing in Beechwood (Waterloo)
- Alternative Housing at Bechtel (Cambridge)
- Making Home-Ownership More Accessible: A Solutions Lab
- Exploring Inclusionary Zoning to Support Affordable Housing
- Affordable Housing Strategy