Building From the Ground Up: Enhancing Affordable Housing in Canada

The Conference Board of Canada, 125 pages, March 30, 2010
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This report explores affordable housing in Canada and makes the case for an expanded supply. It also highlights model initiatives and provides practical tools for planners, developers, and others.

Document Highlights

There is an appreciable shortage of good-quality, affordable housing in Canada. Consequently, approximately 25 per cent of Canadians rely on housing subsidies or experience periods where they spend over 30 per cent of their before-tax household income on housing. This negatively affects Canadians’ health, which reduces their productivity, limits our national competitiveness, and indirectly increases the cost of our health-care and welfare systems.

Solutions to date have failed to adequately address Canada’s affordable housing need. To develop better solutions, Canada needs to break the affordable housing challenge into its parts—design/build, operation, and financing—and consider which public, private, or non-profit actor can best handle each component. We must also engage in more precise targeting and establish more achievable objectives.

This report highlights 11 model initiatives designed to address the affordability challenge. The authors also provide practical tools for planners, private sector developers, and non-profit organizations.

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