From the Office of Karen Ras – Councilor Ward 2
As we move on from our beginnings as a suburban community into the sixth largest city in Canada, it comes with an increasing set of challenges. Over the last number of years, more conversations have been taking place to figure out ways to make housing more affordable.
The City of Mississauga is a lower-tier municipality and not directly responsible for building affordable housing. However, we see housing affordability as an essential element of city building – one of the three main pillars along with infrastructure and transit.
In Mississauga, 30% of our residents spend more than 30% of their household income on housing – a very high number. That’s why Mississauga City Council has endorsed a strategy to develop affordable housing called “Making Room for the Middle”. We know there is a “missing middle” which represents a growing group of people in the middle class who don’t qualify for social housing but who are priced out of an expensive housing market.
What can the City do? We can take actions to encourage the building of affordable market rental and ownership units. This would include a housing first policy for surplus lands, inclusionary zoning, deferring development charges and eliminating unnecessary regulations restricting second units, to name a few.
In July of this year, Council passed a motion to grant relief from the payment of City development charges of approximately $2.7 million for the affordable housing proposed at 360 City Centre Drive. Regional funding in the amount of $65,966,522 was approved by the Regional Council on June 22, 2017.
Proposed by Daniels Corporation, the development plans to include 70 Rent Geared to Income units to take households off the Centralized Waiting list. An additional 104 units will be purpose built rental owned by the Region of Peel for middle income households.
As a Peel Councillor, our Council continues to push forward in its affordable housing investments. In addition to the above, Peel is partnering with the Salvation Army Peel and Peel Streets to Homes to help people experiencing homelessness move into permanent housing. The Peel Housing and Homelessness Plan brings together community partners to find innovative ways to increase affordable housing
The Region continues to invest significantly in affordable housing – about twelve cents of every dollar of the Region’s tax levy goes to increasing affordable housing and reducing homelessness. The Region continues to advocate with the federal and provincial governments for policy changes and appropriate funding that will help to bolster the supply of affordable housing.
With over 12,500 households on Peel’s waiting list, it is time for government at all levels to take action to address our housing crisis.