More than 1,700 affordable housing units in development across Ottawa as city wait list tops 12,000

By Mike Vlasveld

Ottawa City Council has made a couple decisions which will impact local affordable housing at a time when the local wait list is higher than its ever been.

On Wednesday,September 8, council approved a spending plan for 2021 to create another 295 units of affordable housing, including 174 supportive units. 

The plan will see available funds invested with housing providers, increasing the total number of units in development across Ottawa to 1,730.
The available funding for affordable housing in 2021 totals more than $44-million. 

Of $15-million committed through the city’s 2021 budget, $5-million is being used for affordable housing in Beacon Hill, which is expected to accompany new space for the Gloucester Emergency Food Cupboard. 

Of $4.7-million in funding from the Province’s Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative, the city is committing $750,000 for a Black-led family housing pilot and $2.7-million to add more units to an ongoing project with the Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation. 

City staff is expected to report back in the fall with a spending plan for the $22-million in funding from the second round of the Canadian government’s Rapid Housing Initiative.

Council approved an official plan amendment on Wednesday, to permit redevelopment of a 21-hectare property just west of the Heron Gate Square shopping mall. 

The redevelopment, which is expected to take 20 to 25 years, will include more than 6,400 units in a mix of rental townhouses and apartment buildings. The amendment increases the permitted building height to 25 storeys and allows for a new park, on the condition that the applicant provides 1,020 units of affordable housing for a period between 15 and 20 years.

Some on council don't think enough is being done to address the local affordable housing crisis.

On August 26 of this year, City Councillor Shawn Menard said 12,571 people in Ottawa were on a wait list for an affordable housing unit in the city. 

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