I attended the 3 day Kingston Housing Forum in October 2021, and on day 2 of the Forum, we heard a very insightful presentation from Ken Foulds, the Principal at Re/fact Consulting based in Ottawa. Ken has worked on many housing plans with housing groups and municipalities in the area, and he also works to promote capacity building in the non-profit sector. I will be summarizing some of the high-level ideas that Ken provided in his presentation about affordable community housing, the development process, the key ingredients to make a project happen, financial sustainability, and the resources that are available for project development.
Why create more affordable housing?
The existing need for affordable housing comes as no surprise. Contributing factors to this include the sustained waiting lists and minimal unit turnover in community housing, decreasing rental vacancy rates, household incomes not being able to keep up with rising housing costs, and increased people in vulnerable financial situations. The housing supply itself is a huge contributing factor, as there are issues such as lack of new rentals being built, and increasing market rents because of increased costs of labour and materials. Building affordable rentals isn’t as profitable to developers, so what little increase we are seeing in rental activity is mostly in the high-end developments with increasing rent costs.