In Cahdco’s ongoing effort to develop more affordable housing, partnerships have emerged as a driving force of change. In our recent event, we partnered with The Alliance to End Homelessness OttawaOttawa Community Land Trust (OCLT), and the City of Ottawa Planning Department to discuss city planning processes, how developers can leverage the City of Ottawa Planning Department, and what makes a good development.

Credit: Cahdco

 

Lauren Reeves, Manager, Affordable Housing at the City of Ottawa, and Allison Hamlin, Manager, Development Review at the City of Ottawa joined moderators Graeme Hussey, Director of Housing Development for CCOC and President of Cahdco, and Kaite Burkholder Harris, Executive Director, Alliance to End Homelessness Ottawa to discuss the topic.

The conversation began through an explanation of how the City of Ottawa Planning Department operates, with Reeves and Hamlin both highlighting the new Development Review All Wards (DRAW) team, a redesigned group of planners that works across a more wholistic scope than the previously siloed regional teams. This new change came as a response to the Province of Ontario Bill 109 and is designed to increase Planning Department efficiency.

The discussion then shifted to the development application process, where panellists were asked what makes a good non-profit application. Reeves brought up a list of thoughtful and informative points including but not limited to identifying resident needs, creating partnerships for funding opportunities, streamlining costs focusing on core needs, and much more.

 

Credit: Cahdco

 

Focus was then drawn to financing, specifically what level of operational funding needs to be confirmed before a project goes into the pre-consultation phase. Reeves shared that planners want to see a pro forma that gives an approximate picture of funding sources while also considering key line items like capital repairs. Additionally, she suggested that developers give limited weight to elements like rent supplements given their higher variance over time.

The moderators ended their questioning by asking what the City of Ottawa aims to achieve with the $176 million awarded by the Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF). While the overall goal of the HAF is to expedite the overall housing supply, Reeves noted that 90% of the money is allocated for non-profit affordable housing development.

In closing, the discussion spanned a wide range of topics with varying levels of detail. Emphasis was placed on understanding how planning works internally, and what developers can do to best align with their expectations. If you’re in Ottawa and passionate about affordable housing, Cahdco will be hosting similar events every month along with the Ottawa CLT and the Alliance to End Homelessness Ottawa. Check out our events page for more.

We are hiring volunteer board members!

Are you passionate about the City of Ottawa and affordable housing? Do you want to make a real impact in your community? Do you want to grow your professional development skills alongside a thoughtful group of volunteers? If this sounds like you, you should consider running for Cahdco’s Board of Directors!