Inclusionary Zoning can address Ontario’s need for affordable housing

Inclusionary Zoning will offer more families in our community safe and decent places to call home

Ontario’s recent decision to give municipalities’ the mandate for inclusionary zoning is an exciting opportunity for us at Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga. We have always held the belief that affordable housing should be flexible and work to address poverty across Ontario.

Each region has housing issues unique to them that large provincial governments are not aware of. Empowering municipalities to create their own inclusionary zoning laws allows for unique perspectives on residential development. We are eager to see how these abilities will shape the future of our local communities. Importantly, Habitat believes this will allow us to partner with municipalities more often to provide them safe and decent housing.

We recognize that the responsibility often falls on the government to encourage and promote more affordable housing strategies. That is why we must work within these policies to create long-term and sustainable housing that is truly affordable for families struggling to pay their bills. Inclusionary zoning can make homes an attainable goal for low-income households that need a hand-up.

We have several projects coming through our property pipeline in the next few years, and we are always looking for beneficial partnerships that can help us make an impact.

Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga has resources that other organizations would not be able to provide to relieve the financial burdens that come with building additional affordable units. We are concerned with providing sustainable housing that does not fall into the trap of shallow affordability and will serve many different low-income families. We use thousands of volunteers every year to provide reasonably priced housing that will serve the community for generations. New initiatives through partnerships with governments such as our build factory will construct these homes for an even lower price, giving us an edge over private developers.  Municipalities and developers can partner with local organizations such as Habitat for Humanity to relieve the financial burdens that come with building additional affordable units.

Our affiliate recognizes affordable homes need to remain reasonably priced for decades after construction, which is why we recently adopted a Deferred Home Ownership model to benefit more families in need.

Deferred Home Ownership means that Habitat HM partners with families and delays complete ownership of the property for 20 years before they receive the title to the land. During this period, the family will pay a more affordable rate than through mortgages at market rates. This model makes it possible for the house to be funded through a combination of community partners, our affiliate and the family.  

Our ultimate goal is to provide families flexibility while keeping our housing more affordable than market prices. This system provides our families with a new pathway to more affordable homes. More importantly, it allows Habitat to continue to give families-in-need affordable homes when others do not need them anymore, keeping more houses in the property pipeline.

We believe that with the Province of Ontario’s help, we can provide safe and decent housing to many families all across Ontario. Inclusionary zoning removes barriers placed on struggling working-class families while respecting municipal leadership. Additionally, Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga’s new rent-to-own model allows families the flexibility they need when buying a home. These partnerships will give a hand up to families in need and help expand our reach.