Heatherington Land Trust’s Proposal to Save Our Neighbourhood, Create Jobs and Protect Affordable Housing
The city cannot afford to lose any more housing for families. We are in a crisis situation and we are letting developers put families on the street and into shelters and motels.
We are being told by the company that the Herongate townhouses are end of life and must be demolished. However, these houses are brick and are at most 50 years old. Across the street, on Fairlea Crescent, similar townhouses have been renovated and are serving their usefulness as homes to families and individuals alike, albeit as condos. Unless the companies have neglected the Herongate houses so severely that they are beyond repair, every effort should be made to save the homes.
This is why we are proposing to conduct a third-party engineering/structural assessment of the Herongate townhouses, to renovate the homes using the local labour force, and to transfer the houses to our land trust to ensure they stay permanently affordable.
With the cost of housing rising faster than incomes, the proportion of households at risk of homelessness will continue to rise, particularly among newcomer families.
Every year, more people apply for rent-geared-to-income (RGI) housing than there are units available. In 2017 4,567 new applications were submitted for RGI housing, while only 1,541 spaces opened up for applicants.
Demand for emergency shelters in Ottawa increased by 5.1% between 2016 and 2017, with the largest spike coming from families.
In 2017, 3,237 individual family members sought family emergency shelter beds, which greatly exceeded the supply of 554 beds in the family shelter system. As a result, most families were placed in off-site locations such as motels and post-secondary residences. Ottawa now spends $4.5-million housing individuals and families in motels because there isn’t enough space in shelters.