On Thursday June 13th, the City of Ottawa Planning Committee passed a report from the City Housing Branch about the Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative (OPHI, 2019-2022) and the City Capital Investment Plan for Affordable Housing (2019). The report was passed and will be on the City Council agenda at their upcoming June 26th meeting.
Once passed by City Council the report gives the Director, Housing Services the delegated authority to approve the City’s OPHI Investment Plan and the City Capital Investment Plan for Affordable Housing. The delegated authority lasts for the current term of council. The total amount of funding in the report is $32.7 million, which is a combination of $17.7 million from OPHI and $15 million from the City 2019 budget.
OPHI is the new Province of Ontario program name that was formerly called the Investment in Affordable Housing (IAH) program. OPHI will provide $17.7 million in funding for the City of Ottawa towards the Action Ottawa and the Ontario Renovates programs, which provide capital grants to create and maintain affordable rental housing. Even though the name changes from IAH to OPHI we can expect to continue to see the Action Ottawa program focus on creating similar projects (Rental housing for mixed-incomes, seniors and those needing supports) in a similar Request for Proposals (RFP) format. The Report also gives the Director, Housing Services the authority to deliver the Ontario Renovates program as part of OPHI, which can provide funding for social housing providers to perform accessibility-related modifications to buildings.
Finally, the Report provides authority for staff to spend the $15 million committed by the Mayor in the 2019 City budget. This is called the 2019 City Capital Investment Plan for Affordable Housing. This money will fund affordable housing at Wateridge Village (in partnership with Ottawa Community Housing), on surplus City lands and on lands held by private and not for profit corporations. Part of the $15 million, $2 million will be used to support predevelopment activities and $5 million will be used as an acquisition fund, both of these will be loans not grants.
You can expect to see one or more Action Ottawa RFP(s) coming out in the near future, exciting times….