affordable housing

affordable housing generally refers to additional housing provided at below market rates, either by subsidy programs, cooperative housing, public housing, etc.

Position: Decent affordable housing is a right

When buying a house, mortgage lenders maintain that housing that costs more than 30% of your income is unsustainable. However, a single person on disability in my region receives $930 a month, often after a lengthy, de-humanizing battle. Rent for a one bedroom apartment is approximately $500. If the person manages to earn some part time money to augment their meagre income, it is clawed back. This leaves the disabled person de-moralized, stressed, unable to buy healthy food or supplements to improve their health and often trapped into lying about other sources of income just to survive. This situation leads to increased health costs and longer times on disability, if the disability is not permanent. For example, someone with chronic fatigue or clinical depression may be curable, but the circumstances of attempting to live on disability exacerbates their illness. All of these problems would be mitigated by providing each person with a basic income, based on 30% of market rent in their area.

Further, to avoid the problems currently associated with rent-geared-to-income programs such as the cost of running the program, the long waiting lists, the necessity of having to prove you're poor enough to deserve to be housed, the use of the program to control the people who need it, the problem with housing large numbers of people of the same socio-economic level in one area, etc., I propose that the government get out of the housing business and instead empower co-ops, both equity and non, and other community-based, community-initiated housing projects. This can be accomplished by removing current barriers to this type of housing, guaranteeing loans and/or providing seed money where applicable. Decisions about how to run themselves and who to include would remain at the community level, empowering people to provide the housing they want and need. Communities would be expected to ensure that housing of those who are unable to house themselves such as those who suffer from severe mental illness is taken care of.

Position: shared responsibility for affordable housing by private sector

  • All condo and appartment units with more than 6 dwellings must have 15% of these dwellings reserved to affordable housing or rent geared to income rent. Builders may not receive compensation for such a legislation on capital or operational expenditures. In the case of rent geared income, the subsidized portion will be covered by government.

Arguments for

  • The capital costs and maintenance of the building would be totally covered by the private sector.
  • Increase in diversity in areas which might otherwise be only upper class.
  • This increase in diversity increases the possibility of communication & understanding between social classes which otherwise would not talk to each other.
  • This would eliminate "the problem with housing large numbers of people of the same socio-economic level in one area". Such advantages may make it more politicaly appealing to people who otherwise do not feel concerned by the affordable housing issue.

Arguments against

  • the private sector should not receive rent pay from government for housing RGI tenants.
  • Still uses the program of "rent-geared-to-income", which has many problems (see above position)