In late March, the TQSOI hosted a series of workshops designed to decide the best community-sourced ideas aimed at addressing the issue of housing unaffordability in the West Island. Participants had the opportunity to collectively discuss these ideas from different perspectives, and collaboratively choose and prioritize which ideas were most likely to succeed. The co-created ideas will be prototyped and tested together as solutions to directly contribute to solving the housing crisis that is impacting all West Island residents.
Affordable housing units near public transit
In the West Island, housing and transportation costs are often the two largest expenditures for households. This idea is a real way to decrease transportation, financial and time costs for residents providing affordable housing near transit. In this way, both those residents and the community benefit in sustainable ways.
Municipalities enabling affordable housing
Municipalities and boroughs in the West Island work hard to make their communities attractive places where individuals and families of all incomes can live, work and play. This should include affordable housing. This idea will support local governments to develop strategies and implement initiatives to foster the development of affordable housing locally.
Tenant rights information sessions with material in multiple languages
This idea will play a leading role in improving access to tenant rights information to empower every West Island tenant. To achieve this, information will be created in inclusive formats and also in different languages that are spoken in the West Island.
Increase supply of emergency housing for vulnerable populations
Short-term housing for vulnerable populations has seen an increase in demand since the pandemic started. Permanent temporary emergency housing is necessary in the West Island, with a drive to provide residents who struggle with homelessness, conjugal violence and substance abuse with housing and support services.
Laws prohibit racial and other discrimination in housing. Yet bias and phobias remain stubbornly difficult to prove and to eradicate. This idea will address how to recognize housing discrimination, the laws that are meant to protect West Island residents from stigma, and how to fight it.
Addressing rental discrimination
Cataloguing and preserving rentals typically focus on collecting information on affordable rental units. Through proactive monitoring of this data, local jurisdictions and groups can act in a timely manner to try to preserve at-risk properties that are part of the affordable stock—allowing time to assemble financing or an incentive package to facilitate the transfer of the property to a mission-oriented owner or encourage the current owner to maintain affordability.
Cataloguing and preserving existing rental units
In de-amalgamated West Island cities, housing and building codes have not been effectively adapted against threats to the collective health or welfare of the renting community. Strong enforcement with corresponding fees must be set for housing conditions for all rental housing, new or existing, and must be implemented to protect the health of West Island residents. This idea would purpose of strict guidelines to protect the renters from the health and safety risks posed by improperly maintained rentals.
Regulations for safe and sanitary rentals
Financial and mutual aid for low-income renters
To stave off the increased inequality during the pandemic, West Island renters lack emergency rent relief programs, where funds as one-off grants are pooled to hard-up renters with poor credit scores. The idea would help structure these programs across the West Island: Some grants would be intended to be used to pay for Tribunal fees, while others would provide a security deposit and first month’s rent for renters who have been (or are in the process of being) evicted.
Explore funding opportunities and obstacles for West Island affordable housing
Community-led development needs to address emerging opportunities and barriers for funding different models of affordable housing for the West Island. It must address longevity to help guide systems-change across all sectors towards more affordability.
Exploring new models of long-term care & supportive housing
The West Island needs to commit to creating new long-term care beds to ensure a right to quality health. These new beds will increase access to long-term care and help end hallway health care as we create a 21st century long-term care sector that provides high quality care and accommodation that meets the clinical, safety and supportive needs of West Islanders living in long-term care homes.