Could we use $6 billion in annual savings to get municipalities building the housing we need?
Good proposal, many thanks for your hard work.
A few other things that in my opinion will be very important to consider are:
1) Who gets to build the new housing and under what kind of property arrangements? We need more support to housing cooperatives and the social sector in general; more rental housing under social management schemes. That huge public investment shouldn't only go to the private sector and big construction/real state companies, or take only the form of individual/family private property.
2) Regulations and other social control tools so that new housing is not achieved at the cost of urban expansion eating up green belts and other environmentally relevant areas (i.e. densification, transit oriented housing).
3) What kind of tools (legal, administrative, economic, social and cultural?) to guarantee housing affordability in the long run and that new housing/densification does not lead to further gentrification processes? (displacement of lower income people and families AND small businesses).
4) New housing projects not as isolated projects, but well connected with the urban fabric (not just infrastructure and services but also opportunities --jobs, education, health, food, recreation, culture, social and political participation).
Neil, this is a fantastic series. It would be great to see a Fix Housing post on how communities and citizens can leverage housing that is already built and "hiding" in plain site. I've counted 143 empty bedrooms which my neighbours are heating/cooling/maintaining on just two blocks of my City street alone. Many are seniors and others are working so much trying to get by that it seems most would rather pick up extra shifts than spend the time it would take to court potential matches and take on the risks associated with sharing their homes. We're on post number 7 on this series now, and housing is all over the news yet I have seen next to nothing written about making better use of the 12,751,385 empty bedrooms in Canada. (source: https://censusmapper.ca/maps/3516#8/45.693/-75.663 ).
Here in Ottawa we used to have a number of great little projects such as Hygge Homesharing and another (whos name escapes me) that was matching nursing students from a local college with shut-in seniors. Met a few people involved in those and similar groups back in 2018/19 and they were all having a horrendous time getting any sort of ongoing funding from our municipality or province and were basically surviving on shoe-string budgets and handouts from a handful of awesome community members (eg. https://www.awesomefoundation.org/en/projects/112218-hygge-homesharing ). I know some online matching services do exist but I don’t know much about them and hear little about them in posts like these promoting solutions. Would be interested in learning how community associations and citizens can support promotion & implementation of existing solutions to fill even 25% of the 10,000+ EXISTING empty bedrooms in our city ward which is *slightly* more than the 87 affordable housing units currently under construction in our ward for this year (with ~40 more planned for next year).