Affordable Housing in the Niagara Region

The usual political response to suggestions on housing is that there is a lack of funds.

The following is an excerpt from the email I sent to our Prime Minister on funding to address the housing issue. I received a response that it has been directed to the Minister of Finance.

From: Theresa Johnson [mailto:theresatrees@lastmilenet.ca]
Sent: Monday, September 17, 2018 3:17 PM
To: ‘justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca’
Subject: Affordable Housing

…I suggest that you increase the GST back to 7% as it was before Steven Harper lowered it. The additional 2% can be directed right back to the municipalities where it comes from and be used to build affordable housing. The high density yet beautiful Habitat 67 can be used as a model for the type of housing that can be built. It can be cooperatives that are geared to income. At the same time the GST is raised, the minimum amount of income that is taxed can be raised so that low income earners pay less income tax…”

The foregoing is not limited to any type of housing, i.e. it could be that the municipality or region retains ownership. We could also follow the Habitat for Humanity model and gear the price as well as the payment plan to the income of the family.

I am open to all ideas that can be implemented to improve housing for persons of all ages that currently have inadequate income to allow them to live in comfort.

We need to recognize that the recent rise in housing prices was contributed to by the number of persons who sold their homes in cities like Toronto and Mississauga. They then moved to Niagara Region where they could buy a nice home for cash and settle into enjoying retirement. (I met a couple of women from such cities running in their municipalities who use their history to support why they should be elected.) We welcome their money.

There are a large number of seniors in Niagara Region that have moved into seniors’ homes, nursing homes, or died. Their homes were put on the market. There is another group of seniors that do not have good pensions and are having difficulty finding affordable housing that they can enjoy living in.

The young persons working in Niagara Region are now having trouble buying a home, partly due to the low wages offered to that part of our population in tandem with the rising prices.

The Niagara Region can build high density affordable housing for the seniors as well as the families that are struggling on minimum wage jobs. Housing that is a pleasure to live in, such as Habitat 67 in Montreal, can be built in Niagara Region for those persons that cannot afford to buy what we currently offer.

Seniors that live alone in the family house can have younger persons live with them for a reduced rent in exchange for doing household tasks, such as lawn mowing, cleaning, snow shovelling etc. Both parties can benefit and it is successfully occurring in Toronto today.

I do not believe that continuing to expand Niagara Falls or any other municipality within the Niagara Region is the best answer to housing. Our sewage treatment plants need to be upgraded so that raw sewage is not dumping into the Hydro canals, the Niagara River, Lake Ontario or Lake Erie. Let’s focus on getting the underground systems updated to separate sewage from rainwater.