Working 2GETHER Towards Affordable Housing

Written by Stephanie Cantlay

October 26, 2022

As a student member of the Ontario Professional Planners Institute (OPPI) I attended and presented at OPPI’s annual conference last month in London, Ontario held jointly with the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects (OALA). This year’s theme, 2GETHER, explored collaboration and unity to build more equitable, accessible, and inspired communities. The conference brought 2GETHER two disciplines, with two ways to connect (in-person or virtual) over a two-day event.

The 2GETHER OPPI OALA Conference Logo. Two interlinking tear drop shapes with the conference name at the bottom

OPPI & OALA’s 2GETHER Conference took place on September 21 & 22 in London with the option for attendees and presenters to participate virtually.

Who Needs to Work 2GETHER?
In their affordable housing session, the Region of Waterloo introduced the housing ecosystem concept. This includes establishing partnerships with government, financial institutions, building industry, non-profit sector, land trusts, and co-operatives.

Collaborating 2GETHER prevents silos. In many municipalities, economic development and housing departments are transitioning away from working in silos and instead coming 2GETHER by recognizing the overlap in their portfolio in building affordable housing. Consistent affordability criteria and definitions across funding and financing applications benefits non-profit housing developments. Uniting 2GETHER can also connect western knowledge and traditional ways of knowing.

At a session on digital processes there were similarities between transitioning to online platforms and developing and planning for affordable housing.

  • Set your future target – How many affordable units are you proposing? What are the accessibility and environmental requirements, and can you exceed these standards?
  • Establish your champions – As with introducing a new technology, find a champion like a politician who will support your project.
  • Secure your partners – Collaborate 2GETHER with a housing provider or landowner to bring your development 2GETHER


Affordable Housing Tools

The City of Ottawa is in the process of revising its bylaw to be efficient, effective, and equitable through form-based codes. Zoning as a tool to increase affordable housing developments was mentioned throughout the conference. The Region of Waterloo noted CMHC’s Rapid Housing Initiative requires developments to be built quickly, which often assumes the appropriate zoning is already in place. Developing affordable housing requires municipalities enabling it through planning policy tools.

Habitat for Humanity, Rural Development Network, and Map Your Property have worked 2GETHER to create an online mapping tool to identify government owned land among other property and development information to create affordable housing.

Finally, while in London I was able to explore the downtown and stumbled upon an Indwell development. Cahdco mentored Indwell to create Flourish, a social purpose real estate development services company that provides consulting to clients pursuing affordable housing. Cahdco used this experience to launch the Toolbox This partnership is a great example of non-profits collaborating and uniting 2GETHER to develop affordable housing.

A close up of the Indwell’s Woodfield Gate Apartments

Indwell’s Woodfield Gate Apartments in London

Cahdco works 2GETHER with non-profits, faith-based organizations, housing providers and private developers to create affordable housing and has expanded its portfolio through the Toolbox to increase development capacity in the non-profit sector.

Stephanie Cantlay

Development Intern

October 26, 2022