FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OTTAWA - This Thursday June 16th, councillors sitting on Community and Protective Services Committee and Planning will debate the long awaited city staff recommendations for how the City can tackle renovictions and Inclusionary Zoning - a policy that would require affordable housing in new developments.
This is thanks to the pressure of ACORN members, and allies, across Ontario who won Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) policies in 2018 from the Provincial Government after years of campaigning. ACORN members fought for Inclusionary Zoning because we are facing the housing crisis every day.
Moreover, ACORN has been campaigning to stop mass displacement as a result of redevelopment, renovictions and demovictions since 2015. The citywide campaign was launched during the first round of mass evictions by Timbercreek (now Hazelview) in Herongate. Since then, ACORN has continued to organize against demovictions in Herongate and has formed tenant unions in neighbourhoods such as Vanier , Centretown and Manor Village where tenants are at risk of mass eviction..
Yet, the City’s current IZ proposal negates any meaningful consideration for renters, particularly those on low incomes, and dismisses the community’s calls for bold action to stop mass displacement.
Ottawa ACORN, Horizon Ottawa, and CAWI - representing 35,000+ Ottawa residents - have the following concerns with the City’s recommendations:
- Zero percent affordable rental housing is unacceptable when renters are more likely to be low income and in core housing need
- A 25 year term limit for any affordable rental housing that’s included under IZ in the future as opposed to 99 years for affordable home ownership
- The target income for renter households is approximately $64,500/year. While yes, moderate income households need affordable housing, only 0.2% of households in this range spend 50% or more of their income on rent compared to 39% of those earning between $20-$29,000/year, according to ACORN’s 2018 report.
- The PMTSAs where IZ can apply are not maximized and currently make up a very small fraction of the city
- While the recommendations concerning renovictions make some good steps forward, they do not go far enough. As is, tenants would still be displaced by renovictions and demovictions, even if the lost affordable housing is replaced in the new development.
This is why Ottawa ACORN is joined by Horizon Ottawa & CAWI in calling on city councillors to approve the following on June 16th:
- An Inclusionary Zoning Policy with 25-35% affordable rental housing citywide in perpetuity
- An Anti Displacement Policy that requires 1:1 or 25% (whichever is greater) replacement of affordable rental units for redevelopment, provides tenants temporary accommodations or a rental top up, right of first refusal to the new units at the same rent and number of bedrooms, and support for moving costs.
- A Renoviction Bylaw that puts conditions of temporary accommodations, proof that tenants must vacate their unit for renovations and the right to return at the same rent and number of bedrooms for obtaining building permits.
- A Tenant Defense Fund which would be a pot of money for tenant groups, associations or community organizations to apply to for legal support
- A Proactive Tenant Education Program that is triggered when there are changes in building ownership, permit or zoning applications for multi residential properties, reports of buy outs and N13 notices
“Inclusionary Zoning is one tool that can help address the housing crisis while also taking profit away from rich developers and delivering them to low and moderate income communities in the form of affordable housing. This is why there is an organized push by developers to push back and weaken what the City proposes. This current policy caters too much to developers’ interests and does not reflect the urgency of the housing emergency Ottawa declared over 2 years ago.”
- Bader Abu-Zahra, Ottawa ACORN Board Member
“This inclusionary zoning policy looks like it was written by developers, for developers and does not take into account any input from the public. A policy as significant as this should have to face an adequate amount of public scrutiny not be rushed through in the summertime during the dying days of this council term but it’s what we have come to expect from Jim Watson and his exclusive club of councillors.”
- Sam Hersh, Horizon Ottawa Board Member
"The housing crisis impacts disproportionately women and gender diverse folks, especially those racialized, living with disabilities and newcomer communities. The City needs not just affordable housing, but also a policy that emphasizes accessibility to transit, basic infrastructure - food, childcare, schools, health care, or workplaces - and city services"
-Laïs Maurilio, CAWI Civic Engagement and Communications Coordinator
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