Joint Effort Needed on Affordable Housing

Monday, December 09, 2013 - 5:30 PM
Cover of Budget 2014: Steady the Course

As rental vacancies remain low and housing prices remain high, housing affordability remains an issue of great importance to the City of St. John’s and its residents - as this was a clear theme throughout the pre-budget consultation process.
“A lack of accessible and affordable housing has both social and economic impacts,” says Councillor Danny Breen, Chair of the Finance and Administration Standing Committee. “Unfortunately one of the impacts of our hot economy is that access to affordable housing becomes further out of reach for many residents. We will continue to work with stakeholders on this issue because we must all work together to find real solutions to this problem.”
In 2014, the City will add an additional 42 units of supportive housing to its portfolio with the assistance of the Government of Canada and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. The City has committed in Budget 2014 that there will be no rental rate increases for City owned housing.
The City is also working on initiatives to make City owned land available for development of mixed-use affordable housing projects, starting with a pilot project in the Shea Heights area.
The need for affordable housing was raised frequently during the Municipal Plan consultation process. When the new plan is finalized in 2014 it will address zoning and development policies to encourage affordable housing construction.
One of the most important actions the City has taken to address affordable housing was the establishment of the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Affordable Housing (MACAH) which has been advancing initiatives on this issue to council since its establishment.
“In 2014, MACAH will deliver an ‘Affordable Housing Business Plan’ to council, which will focus on collaborative strategies for achieving affordable housing targets and methods to encourage community engagement on this issue,” says Deputy Mayor Ron Ellsworth, Council Liaison to MACAH. “This problem is not unique to St. John’s, but by working together we can develop meaningful ways of addressing affordable housing in our city.”

For further information:
Jennifer Mills
Communications and Public Relations Officer
City of St. John’s
Phone: (709) 570-2037
Cell: (709) 690-7586
Danny Breen
Ward 1 Councillor
Chair, Finance and Administration Standing Committee
City of St. John’s
Phone: (709) 576-2332
Ron Ellsworth
Deputy Mayor
Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Affordable Housing
City of St. John’s
Phone: (709) 576-8363