Ottawa has a growing waitlist of over 10,000 families waiting for social housing. As luxury condo developers continue to push people out of neighborhoods and take over our city, options of affordable housing become increasingly out of reach.
Along with the lack of affordable housing, many tenants report issues with their units that often go unaddressed by landlords. According to an ACORN report on a tenant survey titled “State of Repair,” 85.5% of respondents reported problems in their units, 40% of respondents reported cockroaches in their building, and 32% of respondents experienced a lack of heat in the winter.
Ottawa’s approach to affordable housing and homelessness has been a public policy failure.
- Dick Stewart, Ottawa's former manager of people services
To address these issues, our campaign is committing to:
- The introduction of an inclusionary zoning by-law that would ensure no residential development project is approved without providing a minimum of affordable housing units.
- The introduction of a Rental Replacement By-law to ensure affordable housing units aren’t lost to higher market rental units.
- An increase in resources to health inspectors responsible for overseeing the conditions of rental units.
- Implementing a landlord licensing program, which will help the city crack down on landlords that refuse to repair their tenant's damaged homes.
- Redirecting part of the tax growth from intensification to affordable housing.
These are not new ideas, in fact, in France, for the last 40 years, 25% of all new housing units built have been designated as affordable housing units. In the Netherlands, 30% of the population lives in affordable housing. We are committed to introducing these measures, which prioritise the wellbeing of our communities over corporate developers.
Challenging homelessness and poverty in Ottawa
Our city needs a robust strategy to end homelessness in Ottawa. Today, fewer rental housing units are being built, making it difficult to help those who experience homelessness to find affordable housing as they take steps to reintegrate in their communities. This is why the introduction of a rental replacement by-law and an inclusionary by-law are so crucial in addressing this problem.
Research further demonstrates that the best way to support people who experience homelessness is to ensure they receive services in their communities. This is why our campaign opposes the proposed Salvation Army Mega-Shelter. We don’t believe in “ghettoizing” a single neighborhood by introducing a mega-shelter in one community is helpful. Our campaign favors an approach where there are several smaller shelters across our city to support those experiencing homelessness quickly.
Our campaign also supports a Housing First model. This model is a recovery-oriented approach to ending homelessness that centers on quickly moving people experiencing homelessness into independent and permanent housing, followed by providing additional supports and services as needed. This approach is not contingent upon “readiness” or “compliance” – but rather a rights-based intervention rooted in the philosophy that all people deserve housing.