- Get organized - create a housing business plan or affordable housing strategy
- Create a private / non-profit sector advisory panel or local or regional housing agency to oversee the business plan or housing strategy
- Be innovative - what works well in other communities?
- Fully understand your local housing ecosystem - monitor market and non-market housing trends and needs
- Create a non-market housing inventory
- Define what affordable housing is - what are reasonable affordable rents in your community?
- Hold regular forums on affordable / supportive housing and recognize those housing providers who are making a difference
- Promote all provincial and federal housing programs to residents and developers as the case may be
- Leverage all assets, in particular land: sell land at lower-than-market rates, or donate or buy land for affordable / supported housing groups
- Ensure the disposal of surplus lands includes an affordable housing component
- Enter into shared ownership or P3 arrangements with affordable housing providers
- Undertake land banking at strategic locations / develop land trusts
- Waive or reduce property taxes for affordable housing providers, in particular, non-profit groups who provide supported housing
- Establish demolition and conversion control policies
- Effectively manage NIMBY
- Build flexible incentive packages (bonus zoning in strategic areas, i.e. downtowns; waive or significantly reduce permit fees; waive or significantly reduce or eliminate parking requirements for vulnerable populations, etc.)
- Extend secondary suites to all residential zones
- Support micro-suites and tiny homes
- Develop inclusionary zoning and/or mixed income housing strategies
- If there are under-utilized R2 properties, contact property owners and advise them of their rights. If there are minor variance issues with adding extra units, consider waiving permit fees and expediting minor variance applications.
- Consider whether lot or right-of-way dimensions are too large
- Examine water and other regulatory matters that may be unnecessarily impacting unit yields or limit the ability to achieve lower construction costs per unit
- Ensure densification policies include a commitment to affordable housing
- Ensure urban design requirements do not negatively impact the cost of housing
- Promote cost effective universal design opportunities for vulnerable populations such as older adults and those with disabilities
- Become an Age-Friendly Community
- Promote community-based partnerships and a ‘wrap around’ approach where housing, health and other supports are more effectively linked
- Establish an affordable housing reserve fund
- Enter into partnerships with financial institutions to secure reduced interest rates for affordable housing, and
- Bring municipal planning and investment attraction roles together to promote affordable housing as an economic development opportunity, because that’s exactly what it is.
(Sources: David Harrison MCIP, Ross Grant MCIP and Working NB)
David Harrison, MCIP
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