Why doesn’t Habitat build more homes?
Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga is entering its 20th year of building. We’ve assisted over 40 families achieve the dream of homeownership, and we are building 22 affordable housing units right now that will be completed in the next two years.
We are proud of our achievements. But we are not even scratching the surface of what we want to be providing.
There are thousands of people in Halton and Mississauga in need of affordable housing. This is something that we work to address each and every single day. We are happy to say that we are improving the speed we can build homes, and that every year, we are improving, but that is not enough.
Here are the top obstacles we face building affordable homes.
How much does it cost to build homes? The answer might surprise you. Beyond construction costs, over 50 per cent of our building costs come before we put a shovel in the ground. Development fees are massive, especially in the red-hot GTA real estate market. Every single municipality in our catchment refuses to waive development fees, despite there being a huge need for more affordable housing. Coming up with the large amounts of capital to build
Housing is expensive in the GTA. It is also very lucrative. With available land becoming harder to find, the prices are going up, and our charity is not equipped to beat massive developers, who will transform the land into the real estate that will garner them the largest possible profit. If you’re keeping score at home, that typically rules out affordable housing.
We acquire land through people that want to partner with us. People that recognize that safe, affordable housing is needed desperately, and that Habitat is the best vehicle to build it through.
Resistance from the community
We will never understand this one. If you ask someone if they think affordable housing is important, they will often agree with you. However, if you say that an affordable housing project is being built near their property, there’s a chance they’ll be less than thrilled.
People need to live somewhere.
There is evidence that social and affordable housing has no effect on real estate prices. So really, what this boils down to is selfishness. If you’re living anywhere in the GTA, you’ve made a conscious decision to live in a community. This community does not solely belong to you. Make space in for people with other economic realities than yourself, then watch them flourish.
We encounter resistance from the community in a number of ways, on an individual level, from interest groups against our builds, and from members of government indifferent to the plight of their own constituents.
We work in spaces where people are committed to making lasting change in their community, so we can leave the next generation in a better place than where we started. However, we are aware that not everyone shares this mindset. We can only make real change if more people get on board. We all want a brighter future for our community. If we all work together to see this through, positive, lasting change is inevitable.
You can help make our community a better place to live. Donate to us. Anything you can spare will bring us one step close to building more homes for families and individuals in need.