2013.7 "Affordable Housing First" Land Use Policy

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Whereas: Manitoba is experiencing an affordable housing crisis. Winnipeg’s vacancy rate is less than 1%, Thompson’s about .2% and Brandon’s less than .1%. One third of Manitobans who rent, live in core housing need. This means that they are spending more than one third of their income on rent, and/or are living in inadequate or overcrowded homes, putting them at significant risk.

Whereas: Affordable housing is a key piece of neighbourhood renewal and a necessary foundation for neighbourhood and family stabilization. Families are the building blocks of community and stable families create contributing citizens. As housing costs increase, people are forced to spend food money on rent, making personal debt and food banks sad necessities for survival. When housing needs are met, children do not need to move from school to school, parents have reduced stress and the means to provide the necessities for their families (food, winter clothing, transport, school supplies etc.)

Whereas: The Province is committed to the creation of 1500 units of social housing within 5 years and an additional 1500 affordable housing units in the All Aboard Strategy, the Association of Manitoba Municipalities has an active resolution calling for policy measures in support of more affordable housing, and the City of Brandon has recently passed an Affordable Housing First policy for surplus land disposal. 

Whereas: Providing affordable housing makes economic sense. It can be used to create local employment, using local labour to revitalize communities. These jobs, including the training for these jobs, should be linked to low-income Canadians, including social housing tenants, who need these jobs the most. In this way, the creation and maintenance of Canada’s social housing can help to provide a pathway out of poverty.

Whereas: A significant constraint for the development of additional affordable housing is the availability of reasonably priced residential land. Current efforts to access surplus government land for affordable housing development are resolved through labour-intensive, time-consuming, and unpredictable “case-by-case” determinations. 

Whereas: An "Affordable Housing First" land use policy would ensure that any time government land was determined to be surplus and considered for disposal, full priority would be given to mobilizing potential partners for the creation of affordable housing on that property and only when all possible avenues for affordable housing were exhausted without resolve would the property be disposed of through traditional market means.    

Whereas: Non-profit and cooperative housing is more cost-effective than public housing and retains affordability longer than affordable housing initiatives in the private sector.  

Be It Resolved That:

CCEDNet Manitoba urge the Province of Manitoba and all Manitoba Municipalities to establish "Affordable Housing First" land use policies for all provincial and municipal surplus land disposal and ensure non-profit and cooperative housing providers are prioritized for receiving surplus land for the purpose of creating affordable housing and that social enterprises be prioritized to do the work. 

Download Resolution 2013.7 [pdf]

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