City to create up to 8,500 new affordable-housing options by 2030

OTTAWA – The city and its partners aim to create up to 8,500 new affordable-housing units and subsidies, and eliminate unsheltered, veteran and chronic homelessness by 2030.

The city’s Community and Protective Services committee (CPS) approved an updated 10-year plan to address housing and homelessness with these targets on Thursday (June 18).

“The updated plan outlines how the city would address the housing crisis, in partnership with other levels of government and community partners,” city staff released in a statement Thursday. “The city cannot achieve the plan’s targets without a significant and sustained increase in funding from federal and provincial governments. Achieving those targets would require an additional $415 million in federal funding and $395 million in provincial funding over ten years.”

With the funding, the city would create new transitional housing for families and women, increase access to a portable housing subsidy and provide specialized assistance to people experiencing chronic homelessness to find and sustain housing. The city would also work with the Aboriginal Community Advisory Board on a 10-year plan to reduce Indigenous homelessness and provide culturally relevant housing and supports.

The city’s Finance and Economic Development Committee will consider a long-range financial plan to identify the municipal, provincial and federal funding needed to achieve the targets in the plan and maintain current services. The plan will also outline the financial implications of COVID-19 on Housing Services.

The city’s Planning committee will consider a capital plan for affordable housing at its meeting on Thursday, June 25. City council will then consider the housing and homelessness plan and the capital plan for affordable housing together on Wednesday, July 15.

The committee received an update on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Community and Social Services. To support vulnerable residents, the department partnered with the Canadian Red Cross to visit 4,003 residents living in Ottawa Community Housing, opened several physical distancing and isolation spaces, and provided seeds and soil to 3,000 households to improve food security. To support residents in long-term care homes, the city is increasing staffing, enhancing infection prevention and control measures, and implementing new ways for families to stay connected. The department shared plans to resume childcare, employment and social services.

The Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness reviewed the city’s Housing First program. The committee received their assessment, which found the program is responsive, robust and in line with best practices, except where it would be cost prohibitive or go against federal or provincial funding requirements. The city will work with community partners to implement all feasible recommendations.