Affordable Housing Strategy

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The supply of affordable housing in Waterloo has not kept pace with demand. Over the past few decades, housing prices and rents have increased substantially faster than incomes, creating affordability challenges for many Waterloo households. The impact of reduced affordability can be seen region-wide in increased homelessness and a growing community housing waitlist and longer wait times. Populations most affected by the gap between income and housing costs include older adults, Indigenous peoples, new Canadians, single parent households, and individuals experiencing mental health challenges and/or addictions. Increasingly, young adults and moderate income earners are also finding it challenging to secure housing that they can afford.

To address the growing problem of housing affordability, the City of Waterloo is developing an Affordable Housing Strategy. The strategy will identify actions to be undertaken by the City to protect the existing affordable housing stock and to increase the supply of new affordable housing in the City. The strategy will consider approaches to address affordability challenges for low and moderate income households, and options to ensure a sustainable supply of a diverse range of housing types, sizes and tenures (i.e. ownership or rental housing).

The first step in developing the Strategy will be research and information gathering about the type and quantity of housing needed in Waterloo to address the housing affordability challenge. Check back here in Winter/Spring 2021 to provide your input on the preliminary findings of this research. You can also leave a comment at anytime if you have ideas or suggestions about affordable housing.

The supply of affordable housing in Waterloo has not kept pace with demand. Over the past few decades, housing prices and rents have increased substantially faster than incomes, creating affordability challenges for many Waterloo households. The impact of reduced affordability can be seen region-wide in increased homelessness and a growing community housing waitlist and longer wait times. Populations most affected by the gap between income and housing costs include older adults, Indigenous peoples, new Canadians, single parent households, and individuals experiencing mental health challenges and/or addictions. Increasingly, young adults and moderate income earners are also finding it challenging to secure housing that they can afford.

To address the growing problem of housing affordability, the City of Waterloo is developing an Affordable Housing Strategy. The strategy will identify actions to be undertaken by the City to protect the existing affordable housing stock and to increase the supply of new affordable housing in the City. The strategy will consider approaches to address affordability challenges for low and moderate income households, and options to ensure a sustainable supply of a diverse range of housing types, sizes and tenures (i.e. ownership or rental housing).

The first step in developing the Strategy will be research and information gathering about the type and quantity of housing needed in Waterloo to address the housing affordability challenge. Check back here in Winter/Spring 2021 to provide your input on the preliminary findings of this research. You can also leave a comment at anytime if you have ideas or suggestions about affordable housing.

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The city is in dire need of medium-density mixed-used zoning basically everywhere. The forced dichotomy of single-family zoning, ultra-high density, and separated commercial regions creates incredible market pressures. Medium-density would really go hand-in-hand with creation of a public housing authority/trust to quickly develop public and cooperatively-owned medium density housing developments - it's much cheaper/easier to develop than tall condo buildings. This would also create better places for people to live than car-oriented suburbs with performative back yards or small condo apartments in giant buildings.

Andrew R. 25 days ago

Property taxes are raised 3.5% for two years and you want affordable housing. That ranks right up there with the Region adding $1000 to each lot for the LRT. Unbelievable. Just stop spending.

Baringham about 1 month ago

Allow high density developments across the region in all neighborhoods. There’s no such thing as “preserving neighborhood character” — that’s just an excuse for property owners to try to exploit rising housing prices for personal gain at the expense of community propsperity. The city should resist NIMBY attitudes in favor of denser housing permits. Housing is a question of dignity, not generational wealth creation.

Badakchand about 2 months ago

We definitely need shared neighborhoods that allow people of different economic circumstances to mix and mingle, get to know each other and reduce an "us vs them" mentality, solely on the basis of economic circumstance. Properly designed and with plenty of walkable areas and green space would do wonders to get people out of the cloistered urban deserts now being designed.

Yves 2 months ago

Integration with broader housing is key in this process: do not build economic ghettos.
Also, try to manage property tax rates: this is a significant cost of housing.

David-Waterloo 2 months ago

If you look at the older neighbourhoods, there is mixture of housing types and affordability options. I believe you can integrate the communities better by not building any more cookie cutter developments with one affordability option only isolates communities from each other. In future developers should be asked to build different housing types with different affordability options.

JoLogicCommonSense 3 months ago