Comment COVID-19 peut-il inciter les gouvernements à fournir des logements adéquats ?

Presented by the Housing Research Collaborative is our session “Can COVID-19 push governments to provide adequate housing?” with Carolyn Whitzman, Adjunct Professor at the University of Ottawa and Housing Policy Consultant; Penny Gurstein, Professor and Director of the Housing Research Collaborative, University of British Columbia; Andrés Peñaloza, Research Assistant at the Housing Research Collaborative; and Julie Lawson, Honorary Associate Professor at the Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University, Melbourne.

5 Les clés
à retenir

Un tour d'horizon des idées, thèmes et citations les plus convaincants de cette conversation franche.

1. COVID-19 has exposed and exacerbated the global housing emergency

About 1.6 billion people, a third of the urban population, are experiencing insecure tenure, overcrowding, and/or lack of access to water and sanitation. As Carolyn Whitzman points out, with widespread economic shut downs, about half of Canadian renters now have less than a month’s worth of savings. This has led to evictions and foreclosures in Canada—and indeed in many places around the world. Some have been more impacted than others: those in service and tourism related industries, racialized and low-income people, as well as women, with the rise in gender-based violence during the pandemic.

2. Housing is a human right

Rather than understanding housing as a means of accumulating wealth, we must start looking at housing as a human right. Julie Lawson explains that when we look at property ownership as a means to accumulate wealth, we ignore the social and environmental dimensions of housing. This is more important now than ever. As wage growth has been well surpassed by housing costs in many places, the increased reliance on the private rental sector offers varying protections for people.

3. Learn from what (didn’t) work during the 2008 financial crisis.

Lawson argues, the last financial crisis placed an emphasis on bailing out the banks and increasing liquidity. This time around, we should focus on purposeful investment. If social inclusion is prioritized, that could drive more sustainable housing system reforms. Housing needs to be tackled as a global solution, not a local problem.

4. Look to Finland for a successful social housing system

Lawson’s global research points to Finland as ‘best in class’ for health and housing. With automatic stabilizers, unemployment benefits, housing assistance, other forms of social security, postponed evictions, and a very strong social housing system, Finland’s social support systems provides some valuable lessons for the rest of the world.

5. Needs across the housing spectrum are changing

According to Penny Gurstein, since the 1990s, governments have tended to build social housing for people at the most disadvantaged end of the spectrum and who were considered the most needy: seniors, low income single parents, and people with multiple barriers. Now, needs across the spectrum have changed. She argues that there “needs to be a rethinking of what is possible in government supported housing”—and redefining social housing, and community housing, and who they are meant to serve.

Panel complet

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Mary Rowe [00:00:00] Mary Rowe from the Canadian Urban Institute, really, really pleased to be welcoming me here to another city talk. It’s a bit of a gray day here in Toronto. It’s getting a cold winter’s coming. So we’re all going to have to hunker down and figure out how we actually make our way through. In Ontario’s case, for parts of Ontario, another lock down. And the same is true in British Columbia. There are parts of Alberta that are locking down. I know that the Atlantic bubble is altering as well. So we’re all in this together. As we say, not everyone’s having the same experience, but we are collectively trying to navigate what the new normal is going to be over the next several months. And also, what are the longer term implications of what COVID has exposed for us, what we now see as things that absolutely can’t go unattended, can’t and no longer just fester, but have to be addressed? And could there be a more important topic than housing? I don’t think so. So we’re really very pleased to be working with the Housing Research Collaborative.


Mary Rowe [00:00:54] And they’re a fabulous model, I think, of how what you can accomplish when you hunker down, focus on specific questions and challenges, and then get the best and brightest and smartest people lived, experience people in the policy fields and people in academia to work together to kind of come up with tangible things. I feel that CUI that we are witnessing this shift. As you know, we’re supporting a called the shift, but we’re witnessing this large shift of us moving from problem identification to really honing in on solutions. And I’m appreciative that under his leadership, you’ve come to join us today and that the city shock audience is coming in.


Mary Rowe [00:01:30] I want to remind people that we videotape these sessions and then they will be posted in a couple of days. And and then we encourage all of you to share the video recording with your colleagues. I’m always astonished at the numbers of people that actually watch these things late at night, or maybe they watch them first thing in the morning when they have time, or maybe they have it on in the midst while they’re doing something else. So we’re really building a repository, an archive of useful practical experience and knowledge. And I can really assure reassure you that you will look back on this. We will all look back on this and try to remember pivotal moments. I learned this the hard way when I was in New Orleans after Katrina for that six years during that rebuilding. And we realized we had to go back and see what were we thinking in 2006, what were we thinking at twenty seven to understand how change happens and how we evolved. And the Canadian Urban Institute is in the connective tissue business. We have people working across the country. We have hundreds of volunteers engaged in our platforms. Thank you to all of you. And today in Toronto, as I suggested, because it’s the traditional charity of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Annishnabec, the Chippewa, Haudenasaunee and the Wendat peoples, and it’s now home to many, many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples. And across Turtle Island were covered by Treaty Thirteen, which was signed with the Mississaugas of the Credit and with the various treaties, the Williams Treaty also signed by various Annishnabec, nations. In addition, this morning, as you can see, we have a panel drawn from across the country and in Europe. So I’m going to just add in their book, I have it. Penny and Andres are coming to us from the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. Carolyn’s coming in from Ottawa, which is an Algonquin unseeded territory with the Annishnabec, and Julie is comes from the Macugen Nation. We pay our respects to the elders past, present and emerging who are the traditional custodians on the land in which our committee is located.


Mary Rowe [00:03:49] So thanks everybody for joining us. I’m going to step off now.  It’s important that the city to our community learn and contribute and struggle with you as you come to solutions. Finding in this process tomorrow will be on city talk and talking about what is the future of the Urban University. And everybody appreciates universities are extraordinarily challenged, but they are also city builders located in urban environments. And so we’ll have the president’s from MacEwan you to Toronto and Ryerson with us to talk about this really important topic. So that’s tomorrow. Over to you, Penny. Thanks, everybody, for joining us. I’m going to step out and listen to with great interest as you talk to us about how this moment could potentially be the seminal one for the future of housing and housing mix in Canada.


Penny Gurtstein [00:04:38] Thanks, I’ll step up, but thank you, Mary. I’m going to turn it over to Carolyn  to start off.


Carolyn Whitzman [00:04:46] Thanks, Mary. And the question the very practical question we have today is how can COVID-19 push governments to provide adequate housing? I’m Carol Whitzman. I’m an adjunct professor at the University of Ottawa, and I’ve been working with Penny and Andreas and Julie and many others on this policy scam.

Carolyn Whitzman [00:05:17] OK, so COVID-19 is exposed and exacerbated global the global housing emergency. Although governments around the world have told people to shelter in place, many can’t shelter in place. About one point six billion people or a third of the urban population have insecure tenure or overcrowded or have lack of access to water and sanitation. And we know that all of that are risk factors. There’s been an economic shut down around the world, especially with people in service and tourism related industries. And about half of Canadian renters have less than a month’s savings. And that has led to evictions and foreclosures and the threat of evictions and foreclosures in many parts of the world. There’s evidence of increased racial and income based inequalities and Covid 19 certainly increased global violence against women. So with that as our context, a group of us got together in August to find out whether there are any signs that there is rapid policymaking done. Well in response as to researchers in Australia asked, the Housing Research Collaborative at UBC was funded by the Peter Wall Institute. And we started off by searching for academic and policy and media report using covid-19 and housing policy. But we also had three roundtables. I’m not going to bother to read all those names. Those slides will be available afterwards. But as you can see, we met with activists and experts, researchers across Canada. We met with researchers in Asia, Australia, South America, Europe and Africa. And they provided us with all kinds of links to policies and also ways for us to frame those policies. So we started to develop an analytic framework based on work done by the shift in. Mariusz already mentioned that the shift, which has been started up by Leilani, the former UN rapporteur on adequate housing, is housed right now at the Canadian Urban Institute and also a really good article from many different researchers from different countries on the global south.


Carolyn Whitzman [00:07:49] So three priorities dampen the spread of covid-19 based on the latest available science, improving the likelihood of health outcomes for those who are most marginalized, and then improving long term conditions for those who are most marginalized by generating adequate housing. So in terms of dampening the spread, the most immediate and short term actions, there has been a lot of work for on protection for those living in informal settlements in Canada. We’ve been calling them encampments, getting adequate water, sanitation, distancing, including responding to the express needs of residents. But in some cases, promises have not been delivered. There has been protection for those living in shelters and other congregate housing that is housing with shared toilets and cooking facilities. And again, sometimes that has been promised, but it has been delivered in a short term fashion and not over the entire length of covid. And of course, we’re very much in that Covid ever era right now. And in some cases, community groups have supported self-help measures and have provided community resistance to evictions. And this is true in countries of the global north and the global south. In terms of improving health outcomes of marginalized communities, there have been particularly short term eviction, moratoria and short term help with utility cutoffs. But again, the question is, how long is it going to last? Is it going to last for the entire period of the economic slowdown? There’s been financial assistance to renters and mortgage holders with reduced income, such as the CRB in Canada and additional help from B.C. housing. And there have been some measures to access justice for housing abuses, including inadequate distancing when it was promised stealth evictions, independent monitoring of promised government policy for adherence to targets. But I have to say that the access to justice measures have been the hardest to find. Finally, there’s a set of moving towards a solution, as Mary Rowe said, building back better. So we were searching for examples of better Internet. Covid, perhaps it would have happened without covid, that’s hard to say. We just used the time line at the start of March of two thousand twenty. There has been, especially in Canada, acquiring properties and land for social and rent, regulated affordable housing, such as the Rapid Housing Initiative. There are examples of protecting land and housing from predatory financialization. And if you look at the database, you’ll see an example from California. And finally, and perhaps most ambitiously, new or improved strategies, increased targets, new funding programs for new social and affordable housing, including renovations. A recent example example, for example, from Melbourne, Australia. So we ended up and we had lots of discussions in the roundtable. We’re not going to call them best practices. We’re going to call them promising or good practices. All of them need a little bit of oversight. There’s been temporary distancing. There has been public education and health services to housing that doesn’t have access to those things. So all governments should be listening to the expressed needs of homeless people and those in inadequate housing and act immediately to improve their health and safety. There has been a certain amount of homelessness prevention, but probably not enough. There were 20 million Americans left homeless by the global financial crisis. How are we going to, in the long term, combine rent and income assistance, rent resources, perhaps guaranteed minimum income, eviction bands, acquiring houses? This is still a work in progress. And how are we going to rapidly secure new low cost homes? Before covid, there was an activist group in California called Moms’ for Housing who basically squatted in an abandoned property.


Carolyn Whitzman [00:12:07] And there’s a bill that now bars sellers of foreclosed homes from bundling them an auction for sale to a single buyer. Because we know that real estate investment trusts have been a great enemy of keeping housing affordable. The city of Barcelona’s horded property groups to let it vacant flats used for short term rental or it will expropriate the properties. So these are examples of good practice that hopefully will be the start of addressing inequalities that were both exposed and exacerbated by covid. There are many scary examples and certainly covid-19 is coinciding with climate change related disasters to leave hundreds of millions without homes this year globally. But there are signs of hope. There’s the right to home, which is 11 Canadian cities that are working together and have pledged to build back better and basically all end with the message of their report and the database, which is all levels of government have to reassess their housing policies and recommit to investing to end homelessness and inadequate housing all in there. And I will hand over to address to show you the database.


Andrés Peñaloza [00:13:26] Thank you, Carolyn. So we developed this database.


Andrés Peñaloza [00:13:35] To be able to show people. Everything that we collected during this roundtables and we asked ourselves, what’s the best way to present this in a friendly way, not in a normal Google sheet. So we developed this visualization using Tableau, which is a tool that I guess many of you know. But for those who don’t know, it’s a free online tool that allows us to create data visualizations and graphics out of access to databases. Which can be either local in your computer or in can be hosted in the cloud, which is in our case, it’s a it’s basically a spreadsheet and Google, so. We created this visualization to be able to keep it up to date and update it in a long term. In the landing page, we have a very simple overview of the different distribution of the policies as we have it in our database and different places to be gathered. In different categories that Karen just mentioned and the different distributions, either timeframe or level of government have implemented these policies. And if you go into the map, for instance, you can get a glimpse of the different places that have been implemented in the different locations in cities across the world. This will be in the next couple of months. You’ll see that this map will probably get a little bit fuller and the list will increase for each city. That’s pretty much it. Once you click that, one of the advantages with Tableau is that it allows you to filter through the different categories, for instance, or the different graphics you can interact and filter across them. So let’s say we click on this category and self-help measures and you get the different distributions changing in the rest of the graphics. So moving forward, we have the policy database. It’s in a different shape all the way to the top. This is a more tax heavy sort of page, and what it allows you to do is just to search and browse across the different databases with different policies that we. Collected and won, and it allows you to filter through the different. Alternatives that we have for them, so it’s very useful for pretty much searching around and getting a bit more information on the different policies, if you see once you get over your mouse over the different policies, you get sort of a quick fact, like the leading institution of government, time frame and location and the target groups for each for or at least for the information that is available in the literature. And if you click one of the policies. You get a brief description and a short assessment of whether. Of is it working or not, depending on what the literature has told us and if you click on the reference, you can go to the main reference from where we’ve collected for the most of the information. So once you’re done, you can just quickly, quickly click on the policy and move forward and keep searching. We wanted this to be as friendly and easy to use as possible for most people so you don’t have to deal with. An annoying Google shame. And just and this will keep improving and getting more robust therapies, so that’s pretty much it. This is hosted in the House and research collaborative web page on their initiatives. And yeah, and you can access the full report that can help, right? That’s pretty much it. So now we’re moving to Julie Lawson.


Julie Lawson [00:18:36] OK, my focus is very much on what’s happening in Europe, and I hope that’s of interest and inspiring for you. And the question is largely, has there been a sort of a redirection in focus because of covid that that’s happening in the pace and the direction of housing reform? So it takes a little while to get the. Get that going.


Julie Lawson [00:19:11] I think, as you probably been well aware of the impact of Covid in terms of the number of cases and the number of deaths has been really, really enormous in in Europe with over six million cases that have been of of of infections, but almost three hundred and seventy thousand deaths where I am at the moment, which is the Netherlands, it’s almost nine thousand and we’re in lockdown and look like being that way for quite some time. But the important thing is, is that this is the real variations in how it’s hit the housing system.


Julie Lawson [00:20:46] I’ll just move through quickly the context for which Covid hit so strong focus on home ownership going on for the last 10, 20 years. We realize that we’ve been relying on rising house prices more and more to fuel our own economic growth. But of course, it has been a very uneven process over the Indigenous it’s been political. It’s perhaps it’s made our economies more unstable.


Julie Lawson [00:21:22] And we’ve also seen the rise of asset manager capitalism, the importance of large global corporate landlords, which have been just like in the United States undergoing opportunistic purchase of large portfolio portfolios, often form social housing or distressed mortgage default properties. And we’ve seen, of course, as wage growth has been well surpassed by housing costs, it’s been increased reliance on the private rental sector, which across Europe offers very varying protection. In looking to what governments have been doing in this area, we’ve really come to the end of the line with monetary policies that just try to to influence the flow of investment.


Julie Lawson [00:22:11] It’s been far too blunt, much of it being mobilized and flowing into real real estate investments, which has been accelerated into particular forms and through tax settings and and through the regulation and no regulation of the lenders. And we’ve also had constraints on what governments can do in Europe. So we have something called the Stability and Growth Pact, which limits how much in debt to the size of their budgets relative to the capacity and so on. We’ve also had definitions of what governments can do in terms of delivering services and of course, very powerful emphasis on competition policy. And this stance has given social and public housing a fairly hard times by many privatizations also. And it’s narrowed. Many social housing systems focus like in the Netherlands, for example, in Sweden, to be narrower, more narrowly targeted. So the public purpose has been shifted, often two to one, which is more of a welfare purpose.


Julie Lawson [00:23:19] Actually, it kicked up, so in the context of this pandemic, there’s been a thought that we need to do differently than how we responded to the last financial crisis, the last financial crisis or much more an emphasis on bailing out the banks and increasing liquidity. This time, we’re looking at much more emphasis on purposeful investment. Which direction should it go? What will it impact the how will it stimulate more sustainable growth and create jobs, bring about environmental benefits. And the advice has been coming  to build back better. And you’ll see also the UN habitat saying, keep in mind, keep front and center of the Sustainable Development Goals, for example, SDG 11, affordable and inclusive housing. And you also save in the Green Deal much more emphasis on, I think, a just and green deal. Social inclusion needs to be part of it. There is no transition if we’re not if it’s not going to be a fair transition, says Frans Timmermans. Only today there’s a new leadership. There’s some faces of a new commission and there’s a pillar of social rights now since 2017, which has given more focus on on on quality of living, including housing affordability. You have a new leadership team of so-called one member of the leadership team. That’s Frans Timmermans, and he’s the author of The Great Green Deal. And we’ll be hearing about its impact. You also see finance ministers saying, OK, let’s be more flexible with our stability and Growth Pact. Let’s allow governments to cater for unusual events. Let’s give them the chance to make a temporary schemes, to give grants, to give subsidized and grant guarantees and back loans. Let’s enable more public purpose investments. So that’s new and that’s different. And that could potentially drive more sustainable housing system reform as well, if allowed. So there’s been, as I said, varying impact of European housing systems.


Julie Lawson [00:25:39] Some have done well and some might they might be more reforms and some may lead to a reassessment of the way things are. So I’m going to talk about Finland, Denmark, a bit about Austria, briefly at Germany, and also some light at the end of the tunnel in Australia as well. So Finland would, I would consider to be the best in class. It had the most rapid, effective, quick response.


Julie Lawson [00:26:14] It started off well. It has the lowest level of that of overcrowding, doesn’t have such a big problem with an affordable housing, although it’s being at risk of poverty, which are the indicators in the social pillar, if you like. It got in early with stimulating the economy. It sees no need for future austerity, very rapid automatic stabilizers or shock absorbers, unemployment benefits, housing assistance, other forms of Social Security, the postponed evictions if necessary. It postponed mortgage payments if necessary, and a whole range of of other things. But importantly, it was it had a strong social housing system, which you could just breathe out and expand by adding 30 percent more new public loans with and also interest rate subsidies. So if this is how Finland’s housing is pulled together with all the different land instruments, long term low cost financing via its publicly owned Municipal Finance Corporation grants and guarantees and now interest subsidies coming in, expanded in from its central agency, it’s very important. It has very good limited profit housing legislation and the regulation of that with rents very varying by portfolio costs and so on, and rent assistance if required across the country. Austria simply the similar model, but already very accomplished in terms of its energy efficiencies and its quality of housing. It’s also been able to just breathe out and build new build more on an existing well functioning system. The French social landlords have accelerated the switch towards low emission, energy efficient housing, they promise they propose a three year plan expanding production and rehabilitation of more than 300000 units and improving 400000 huge numbers in France, again as it was after the GFC. Importantly, they’re proposing a new alliance of public purpose banks. So you’ve got the corseted power, which the big bank and you’ve got other banks coming in, the European Investment Bank and the Council of Europe Bank forming an alliance together to ensure that the renovation of these new dwellings doesn’t make them unaffordable, that no one’s left behind. Denmark, it has its own, if you like, internal reserves and those reserves to the National Housing Fund, they are built up over time. I’ll just show you a little diagram about that soon that the government has said, OK, folks from that fund, we need to spend that now because we need to stimulate jobs and and also address green issues early. So they had the money from their revolving fund to put towards purposeful countercyclical effort. This is a little diagram of the way it works. Basically, any additional contributions of rent that are made after financing is paid off for like that period when the amortization of those long lines has paid off, that those deposits have to go into a national building fund. The building fund accumulates these savings and at certain times it is able to make investments in renovations and improvements that that fund is being used now to put four billion into making this enormous number of innovative renovations. You see Germany different model. As you’re all aware, over the last few decades, the national government there has stopped playing as a capital investment role in in past social housing programs. It devolved that responsibility down to the lender or their provincial governments. But of course, some had the capacity to do that and others didn’t. So you saw some states like Westphalia continuing to build, whereas you had others. It was a very uneven. What’s happened now is that the national government has come back in. It’s put four point nine billion towards boosting social housing again after 40 years of absence. So you see that that new plan, a new leadership role being played by the national government in direct capital investment. But you also have another struggle going on in terms of rent regulation, particularly of those dwellings from the global corporate landlords who had purchased in bulk many of those municipal dwellings that were privatized in the past early two thousand. So you see a really interesting fight going on in Berlin, which has kept rents and you see that being allowed by the courts. And now you save the NEA and Deutsche Avadon trying to challenge that again. And now there’s a referendum coming back countermeasure with the the residents of Berlin calling for a referendum to have fifty seven thousand signatures to have that referendum to expropriate properties. Only yesterday in the news, the the second phase of rent capping is coming, whereas if you’re over charging your rent, you now can you must reduce the rents and you can be fined as well. So that’s been upheld in the courts. And so it’s certainly something to watch. Looking ahead, I mentioned I was involved in housing 20 30. That’s a toolkit for policy makers on land, for inclusive and affordable housing, financing structures for the same governance and leadership, the same environmental standards that also ensure affordability. That will be having podcast’s all along the way through the next. The next one is in February and also April. We’ve got the renovation wave, which is a massive initiative of the European Commission. You can hear Frans Timmermans talk passionately about the fairness of that renovation while he’s the European Commission’s vice president. There’s little link there to his film, if you want to hear that. He delivered that today. And also, there’s going to be an affordable housing initiative for the first time, that European level to pilot one hundred renovation districts. So that’s a very interesting neighborhood approach involving cross-sector partnerships. So a real change in direction. So business as usual, I would say not. And that the EU deal is potentially a major game changer. Australia also perhaps has done it all on its own, not Australia as a nation, but as a as a state of Victoria. It’s being shown to showing a lot of leadership and responsibility, announcing this month a whole range of measures, strengthening tenancy rights that were already awake. Now they’re much better and stronger. Improving dwelling standards for private renters, targeting rent relief, addressing the backlog in social housing, and especially in repairs and renovation and making strategic investment. It’s a major direct investment by the government. It will be issuing bonds. It will be using its own growth fund, and it will be looking for low cost, long term finance, five point three billion Australian dollars to go towards around twelve thousand dwellings, of which there are dwellings for people with disabilities, people who have suffered domestic violence and also affordable housing, general stock and many more renovated stock. So to conclude, there’s a pre Covid housing investment and regulatory setting that’s ripe for a reset to address affordability and security issues, Covid shows why. And the focus in Europe is very much on green innovation, energy efficiency and fairness. Finland provides some valuable lessons in being effective and countercyclical, as does Austria. There are all sorts of interesting ideas there. The reforms of BIA systems are also possible, and Victoria shows the way and provides some inspiration. We should all be watching what’s happening in Berlin. And I hope that you can join me in being involved in the benefits, if you like, of the green deal and the renovation wave and hopefully the Affordable Housing Initiative, because these are all mechanisms for real reform, both socially and environmentally as well. So thank you.


Penny Gurtstein [00:36:01] So thank you, Julie. So as you can tell, what what is obvious is that this is we’re not in business as usual. The the various governments that we’ve the various initiatives that we’ve identified by governments have shown a real sort of leadership in addressing the sort of critical needs that we’re trying to get to to that that have been going on for decades now. So this is a moment and I really hope that you can be using this database to actually strengthen what is possible in your own jurisdiction. So what are the next steps here? We’re at at the housing research climate? Well, first of all, I want to thank the the sponsors of this, which are the wall while center at UBC that funded the international roundtables where we solicited the ideas for the good practices and also the Real Estate Foundation of B.C. for our for our ongoing support of the Housing Research Collaborative.


Penny Gurtstein [00:37:14] So what are the next steps? We are looking now at another project that is called Filling the Gaps We Want. What we want to know now is what’s missing from from the housing responses. And so we’re going to be probably asking maybe many of you to give us some ideas on this. We’d also like for you to be sending us initiatives you think are are good and really addressing sort of the critical need right now.


Penny Gurtstein [00:37:46] So please send it there on our website. There’s a way that you can send us information. Please do.


Penny Gurtstein [00:37:53] And we can update the this database, which I think is going to be very useful for what we’ve learned now from all of the examples is, I think really important for for Canada. Some of the best some of the good practices are in Canada, but others are really from other places in Europe and Australia and other and also in the global south. We are actually, you know, we need to be learning on a globe in a global way how to do this. The only way housing is housing is going to be addressed is as a global solution. And that’s and that’s what we are. That’s what we hope we show through this database. So now I want to really turn it to you to be asking questions. And already I see some questions in the database. And so please do send us some more. I’m going to be monitoring the database and I mean, sorry on that in the chat, so please do send us questions in the chat. And I’m going to start off with a couple that we received already even before the webinar. So I’m going to turn to Carolyn to ask I’m going to ask her. The first question was several recent studies for highlighting the impact of municipal development processes, approvals and charges and fees on housing construction and affordability.


Penny Gurtstein [00:39:24] How can we assure all orders of government are putting their respective levers to maximum investments in housing and therefore housing outcomes?


Carolyn Whitzman [00:39:38] That’s a really good question, and because there hasn’t been federal leadership in Canada for three decades, it’s been really it’s it’s become a very, very fragmented housing system.


Carolyn Whitzman [00:39:51] So absolutely in terms of the new policy, that’s a COVID response and comes out of advocacy by the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness in the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, there is an expectation from the federal government that rapid housing will be built rapidly. There are a lot of local governments that are creating affordable housing agencies like Vancouver or concierge’s for affordable housing. I would totally agree that there needs to be that kind of attention built to expedite approvals of affordable housing. But some of the examples that Julie were giving were from local governments that have been given a lot more power and a lot more revenue sources and Canadian municipalities. And I think it’s really important to stress that, for instance, maybe cities should be in charge of rent control and rent freezes. Maybe cities should be given the opportunity to borrow or use municipal bonds for affordable housing is in the case of many other jurisdictions. So I think that there is both a lot of local power that can happen with more regulatory and fiscal means. And I also think that the federal government of Canada and the provincial and territorial governments need to have a chat about some mechanisms such as evictions and rent controls in order to prevent increasing homelessness.


Penny Gurtstein [00:41:32] So, Julie, in some countries, government and private pension funds invest in affordable housing with the return on investment. Do you see potential for this in Canada? Is this worth exploring?


Julie Lawson [00:41:46] It’s definitely worth exploring. And the key issue, of course, is the cost and the conditions associated with any form of capital investment. So care needs to be taken to compare that with what is now historically incredibly low public borrowing costs.


Julie Lawson [00:42:04] So if you are running a program or you have to to to to weigh up, do I end up having to assist the demand side because the rents are higher? And why do I have to provide will that be less affordable, the dwellings and who am I doing it for? Obviously the greater the proportion of low cost and low condition, if you like equity, the greater the proportion of that, the less reliance on more costly financing. And so if you are operating a scheme where the costs matter and they influence the rents and that that’s that’s the key question. So the cost of capital, the conditions that occur with every pension fund has different buckets, different strategies associated with different portfolios of assets which they manage to create returns, of course, for them, for the policy holders. Some of those portfolios are looking for long term, low risk investments. They’re the kinds that we’d like to have investing in long term, low risk forms of housing. So we’d be looking at, for example, the fixed income bucket which invests in bonds and the longer the better. A very good example of how that works is the Swiss bond issuing co-operative, where it’s like a buying group. It issues bonds, pension funds, buy those bonds and then they have a government guarantee. And that’s that issue’s very, very low cost financing for affordable housing providers. And that’s been going now for about 15, 20 years. And that that’s the most cost effective financial intermediary of any of them that I’ve looked at, certainly more cost effective than the one I helped set up in Australia. And I I still am in touch with the people who run that co-operative in Switzerland, and they tell me every year how well they’re doing. And that is that was set up from nothing as a group of participants. And and, you know, I’ve written about that and I’m happy to share it on the website.


Julie Lawson [00:44:36] That’s. Enhancing finance, financial intermediaries and guarantee structures haven’t had a look at that unless it’s fully described, if you like, the Swiss bond issuing cooperative.


Penny Gurtstein [00:44:49] Thank you.


Penny Gurtstein [00:44:50] So Isaach Suster asked, how can we tackle and mitigate the stigmatization around social affordable housing in North America and move towards a model? Or this is a more accepted this is more accepted like in Europe or Southeast Asia. So, I mean, I think we’re at at that point because what what is what happened for the last several decades since then and since the 1990s, is that we were only really building social housing for people who were the at the most most disadvantaged end of the of the of the spectrum there was or that were considered the most needy, the most and are most kind of acceptably needy. So they were the the people in who were saying they were seniors, low income single parents and people with multiple barriers. What’s happening is that the spectrum of who needs support in housing has really, really, really changed. And using an example of housing in Vancouver, in British Columbia, they’re now supporting a range from, you know, from people who are homeless by by now sort of providing sort of shelters through repurposed hotels and motels all the way to assisted home ownership because they’re recognizing that kind of spectrum is changing. And so I I think along with that, I think is is really needs to be a rethinking of what what is possible in in government supported housing. So maybe the term social housing has become used for just one segment. And we need to be thinking about more around community housing, which is where which is definitely how the the nonprofit housing sector is thinking about it.


Penny Gurtstein [00:46:59] And I’m going to now turn to Carolyn, who has a question from Emily Parodi. Please explain the difference between limited profit and social nonprofit housing. Right.


Carolyn Whitzman [00:47:17] So actually, he actually might have something to say about this as well, but I think what you were talking about earlier, Penny, is is the key issue, which is that we have to as a as a society in Canada, but also as as a globe, turn away from the notion of housing as a way to get rich, get wealth, invest for retirement and start looking at housing as a way, as a need and as a right. So when Emily asks about limited profit, there’s a lot of limited equity projects, for instance, Habitat for Humanity homes where you can sell on your home. But the land underneath it, for instance, is Ketso. So there’s a little bit of equity in that home, but there’s also a sort of shared equity or a limited profit. Similarly, when we look in Germany where rents are regulated in a way that’s associated with the size, there’s a limit on the profit that you can make on a land at the landlord. So really what we need to start moving beyond is this notion that property as a way to create a great deal of wealth, doesn’t have any social and environmental cost because the social and environmental costs are huge. And we need to start thinking about ways that housing can be less about making a profit and more about making homes. I know that’s a very abstract answer to a very specific question, but it’s it’s the point I want to make.


Penny Gurtstein [00:49:02] So how do cities convince? This is from Karen da Darwin, Darwin. How do cities convince individual citizens to pay for housing migrants from other regions? Why should taxpayers of one municipality use their resources for housing the thousands of people migrating from other regions?


Penny Gurtstein [00:49:28] Carolyn, do you want to take that on?


Carolyn Whitzman [00:49:31] Well, I’d say that a place like Hamburg in Germany, which had I believe in one year like forty thousand asylum seekers due to Germany’s very liberal policies on refugees, also has one of the better housing systems in Europe. They have this rule of thirds, which is they have voluntarily created an agreement between the local government and probably two, it can correct me on this and the local organization of developers. And as long as developers come up with a rule of thirds a third being for sale or rent with no regulation, a third bank rent regulated and a third bank social housing, those proposals will be expedited. Now, I’m not saying that Hamburg has zero homelessness issues, but they just treat people as people, whether they have formal citizenship or not, whether they’re asylum kaper asylum seekers, they will be contributing to society eventually. So, you know that I think we need to decouple the question of refugees, which will only increase this century with all of climate change, et cetera, with the notion that you can provide adequate housing for everyone. Do you have something you want to say?


Carolyn Whitzman [00:50:48] Yeah, I think it’s interesting to build on the hand the idea because they were quite successful in forming an alliance and from that, from their success led to the National Affordable Housing Alliance, which became a multilevel governance and stakeholder grouping, which in realizing that there’s only so much a handbook could do that they need to have multilevel governance. They need to have more stakeholders involved for no other reason than income and allocation and a fiscal imbalance between who taxes and who spends. So we’re seeing now that that alliance you can find if you search for that, that you can find that they were incredibly successful in getting a change in the basic law of the nation and getting the national government to step back in and invest and transfer appropriate money. So I’m all for local effort, but I’m more for combining effort. And because housing is very much a multi-level governance issue, no one level government can do well on its own. It has to work in partnership, whether it be participation through planning, transfer of long term agreements over funding or the sheer public borrowing power of a lot of generations of taxpayers. You know that.


Carolyn Whitzman [00:52:31] Those things have to come together, but not lose sight of the local and the neighborhood and people.


Penny Gurtstein [00:52:40] Yeah, so in some countries, government and private pension funds invest in affordable housing with a return on investment. Do you see potential for this in Canada? Is this worth exploring?


Julie Lawson [00:52:53] Yeah, I think we sort of Covid that a little bit, and my response was it depends what type of investments being made if, let’s say, for example, equity investment or its investment in debt, if you like. That’s a key distinction. Either one will have different requirements, conditions. You’ll see, of course, the cost of capital will influence the affordability of the outcomes. And it may also affect if those outcomes have to lose, that obligation to be affordable over time or even have to be sold to recap the obligations to the investors. So I think try before you buy model the difference and see what that those implications mean for eligibility, affordability and, you know, basically the cost of the project. So, yeah, that’s when I mentioned the Swiss one. You have to remember that the bond, the purchases of those bonds are pension funds. You know, it’s just a different part of the pension fund that’s looking for very long term, low cost returns. And that’s that’s what what is buying also the bonds, what might buy social bonds. But equity investment is a different matter. So there will be different requirements. Of course, there are things you know, there are other sorts of funds. A real estate investment trusts is something which has become facilitated and enabled across many countries of the world. In some countries, they’re banned from being involved in the housing market. So and there are there are reasons for that. I think the problem at the moment isn’t money. It’s actually the political will to ensure that it goes towards things that matter. And that’s where we have to make the intervention. There’s plenty of money around. Money is relatively cheap. You just have to make the rules around the channel in the right places and the right things. And that’s that’s what government can do that, too.


Penny Gurtstein [00:55:13] So this is from David Crenna. A key conundrum of municipal empowerment is fragmentation or effort in wider urban regions.


Penny Gurtstein [00:55:24] A practical thoughts on that. I’m going to turn it over to Carol.


Carolyn Whitzman [00:55:30] Well, first of all, let me say it’s really great to see what a wonderful bunch of wonks have showed up to listen to this talk. So, hi, David.


Carolyn Whitzman [00:55:40] Look, the living as I have in Australia and Julie comes from Australia, I have to say municipal governments in Canada look so good in comparison to municipal governments in Australia, where things are so fragmented. Having said that, absolutely, there needs to be better regional governance. It’s it’s not really other than than Vancouver. It’s not really a function of Canadian government at the moment. So really, I think what we’ve all what we’ve been talking about today is the need for integrated strategy at the local and provincial territorial federal government or becalled state and other countries, et cetera, that are using the same definitions of affordable housing and talking the same language, doing the same kinds of needs assessments. I think that another question that was asked is very relevant, which is until we start talking about household income categories and particularly the needs of very low income households, we’re going to continue subsidizing, in some cases, the wrong populations or at least the populations that are most not most in need.


Carolyn Whitzman [00:56:59] So really, every single government in Canada, and this is also true internationally for international listeners, can only benefit through national conversations on what’s affordable housing, who is affordable housing for where we going to target our efforts? How are we going to measure success extraordinarily in 2020? We’re just starting to have those conversations in Canada, the national housing strategy, actually, that’s from 2019. So we have to really engage in a national dialog. As Mary said in the beginning, I think we are absolutely at a turning point in Canada. And as Julie was just talking about, I think there’s a turning point in Europe. Hopefully there’s a turning point internationally where we’re starting to treat affordable housing seriously. And I’m not sure we are yet. And I know that we do need to do that.


Penny Gurtstein [00:58:03] So, OK, I just want to get one just really one quick question, and I don’t know if it will. The newly announced federal government housing initiatives in Canada actually find its way to help the poor, or can we assume it will largely direct to affordable housing for middle and lower income families and individuals?


Carolyn Whitzman [00:58:26] Well, I was actually looking at Mark’s question, it is a pretty penny, can you?


Carolyn Whitzman [00:58:32] You’ve been doing such a great job moderating maybe the last word and day.


Penny Gurtstein [00:58:37] So, I mean, the there is a real well, I mean, the fact that they’ve actually directed housing to cut funding to the two four four government, four provinces and municipalities to acquire motels, hotels, those are things is a positive sign that they’re hopefully going to be redirecting some of that money to to the most low income. So I think we’re almost out of time. And I really thank everybody. I thank the panelists. And I think all of the people on the on this webinar for the great questions. And please do use the database and also add to the database. We’d really like to hear from you about some ideas, initiatives you think really need to be added.


Penny Gurtstein [00:59:32] So thank you very much.


Carolyn Whitzman [00:59:35] I’d like to to add my thanks to Mikael and Andreas, because sometimes we don’t pay enough respect to people at the back end who are taking all of our wonk ideas and making them accessible. And both Mikael and Andreas took our work and made it.


Carolyn Whitzman [00:59:53] Easy for people to use. So thank you, Andreas, and thank you, Mikael, who isn’t part of this panel.


Penny Gurtstein [00:59:59] So thank you so so I hope you can actually also access this through the get tell other people to view the video.


Penny Gurtstein [01:00:09] So thank you very much.


Audience complète
Transcription de la salle de discussion

Note au lecteur : Les commentaires sur le chat ont été édités pour faciliter la lecture. Le texte n'a pas été modifié pour des raisons d'orthographe ou de grammaire. Pour toute question ou préoccupation, veuillez contacter en mentionnant "Chat Comments" dans l'objet du message.

De l'Institut urbain du Canada : Vous trouverez les transcriptions et les enregistrements de la conférence d'aujourd'hui et de tous nos webinaires à l'adresse suivante :

12:01:09             From  Canadian Urban Institute : Welcome! Folks, please change your chat settings to “all panelists and attendees” so everyone can see your comments.

12:02:45             From  Lucy Inyang Edet : Hello.

12:02:56             From  Canadian Urban Institute : Attendees: where are you tuning in from today?

12:03:00             From  Lucy Inyang Edet : Lucy Inyang Edet from Nigeria in attendance

12:03:02             From  Darryl R. Gaston CLP   to   All panelists : Greetings from Charlotte, North Carolina,USA

12:03:16             From  Rebecca Mayers   to   All panelists : Hi everyone. Tuning in from Waterloo😊

12:03:20             From  Michelle Hoar   to   All panelists : Joining in from Vancouver. Hi Penny!

12:03:23             From  Nora Cottrill   to   All panelists : Nora Cottrill, tuning in from Toronto

12:03:38             From  Alyson King : Cobourg Ontario

12:03:39             From  Laura Tate   to   All panelists : Hello to everyone- Laura Tate from Victoria, BC.  And an extra  hello to Penny Gurstein!

12:03:49             From  Michael Gordon : Vancouver, BC

12:04:02             From  Lucy Inyang Edet : Ms Edet is a licensed Physiotherapist and a chartered Architect practicing in Nigeria

12:04:17             From  Mark Guslits : Prince Edward County

12:04:20             From  Vincent Merola   to   All panelists : Moncton, New Brunswick

12:04:29             From  Karen Hemmingson : Signing in from Lisbon, Portugal

12:04:29             From  Melanie Wittes : Toronto

12:04:41             From  Lester Brown : Toronto

12:04:42             From  Emily Paradis : Emily here from Toronto – Dish With One Spoon territory – hello all!

12:04:45             From  Jesse Hitchcock : Hello from Halifax, NS!

12:04:47             From  Eva Colombo   to   All panelists : Ana Falu from National University of Cordoba Argentina.

12:04:48             From  Fernando Cirino : Windsor, ON

12:04:56             From  Eva Colombo : Hi all, Eva Lia Colombo, from the NGO CISCSA – FEMINIST CITIES – in Córdoba, Argentina.

12:04:59             From  Marie-Josée Houle : Hello from Ottawa!

12:05:11             From  Negin Minaei : Good afternoon from Toronto

12:05:16             From  Raiza Barrera Vega : Hello everyone! Singing in from Colombia 🙂

12:05:20             From  Erika Morton : Joining you all from Hamilton, Ontario!

12:05:44             From  Canadian Urban Institute : Carolyn Whitzman




Penny Gurstein


Andrés Peñaloza



Julie Lawson



12:06:19             From  Ann McAfee   to   All panelists : Hello from Coquitlam, BC

12:07:21             From  Mary W Rowe   to   Mark Guslits and all panelists : mark where are you in PEC?

12:07:30             From  Karen Dar Woon : joining from unceded lands in so-called Vancouver. Thank you to the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), skx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlílwətaʔ/sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations for continued stewardship of this land

12:08:52             From  Mark Guslits : I am hunkered down on my farm near Milford, south of Picton

12:09:44             From  Mary W Rowe   to   Mark Guslits and all panelists : email address please?

12:09:57             From  Mark Guslits :

12:13:05             From  Samantha Anderson : Also Vancouver- hello!

12:15:04             From  Canadian Urban Institute : Check out the COVID-19 global housing policies report and database here:

12:15:08             From  Eva Colombo   to   All panelists : I am also CISCSA / Red Mujer y Hábitat Latinamerica… this is Ana Falú Argentina.

12:15:14             From  Eva Colombo   to   All panelists : Excellent Carolyn !!

12:15:17             From  John Scott Wintrup   to   All panelists : Winnipeg – Hello!

12:15:40             From  Canadian Urban Institute : Welcome new joiners! Just a reminder to please change your chat settings to “all panelists and attendees” so everyone can see your comments.

12:18:00             From  Carolyn Whitzman    to   All panelists : gracias, @Eva!

12:18:14             From  Ann McAfee : Great Data Base — lots of information. Well done.

12:18:31             From  Carolyn Whitzman    to   All panelists : Thanks Ann, you are one of my heroes!

12:18:59             From  Marie-Josée Houle : This is great! Will there be barriers to access?

12:19:03             From  Emily Paradis : Wow! Looks great!

12:19:08             From  Elizabeth Ballantyne : Elizabeth Ballantyne in Vancouver

12:19:26             From  Dina Graser   to   All panelists : Terrific database, very useful.

12:19:36             From  Dina Graser : Terrific database, very useful.

12:19:38             From  Isaac de Ceuster   to   All panelists : How can we tackle and mitigate the stigmatization around social/ affordable housing in N-America, and move towards a model were this is more accepted like in Europe or SE-Asia?

12:19:51             From  Carolyn Whitzman  : Hi Ann McAfee, lovely to have you here – you are one of my heroes!

12:20:42             From  John Reilly : John Reilly in the capital region of BC.

12:20:57             From  John Reilly : Lost your connection Julie

12:24:27             From  Ann McAfee : Thanks Carolyn All attendees are heroes (it takes a village) each doing our share to help.

12:26:24             From  Mary W Rowe   to   Ann McAfee and all panelists : thx

12:27:40             From  John Reilly : Did Finland use its oil resource trust funds to build?

12:27:55             From  John Reilly : Or fund?

12:28:28             From  Darren Cooney   to   All panelists : How quickly will those Finnish SH starts in 2020 result in built housing units?

12:28:44             From  Darren Cooney : How quickly will those Finnish SH starts in 2020 result in built housing units?


12:29:35             From  Emily Paradis : Please explain difference between “limited profit” and social / non-profit housing

12:33:32             From  Chris Roberton   to   All panelists : Julie Lawson has written a paper on the subject of Limited Profit housing system in Vienna and Zurich. If anyone wants it I can get it to them (just email me at

12:35:06             From  melissa goldstein : Will this presentation be posted along with the webcast? I hope so, it’s great and I want to click all the links!

12:35:31             From  John Reilly : Is this the City of Victoria, AU doing this or national government?

12:35:38             From  Carolyn Whitzman  : Good global overview of land policy and planning co-written by Julie Lawson here

12:35:49             From  John Reilly : How does a municipal entity leverage over $1B?

12:35:58             From  Carolyn Whitzman  : @John, this is the State of Victoria, Australia (big city is Melbourne)

12:36:11             From  Canadian Urban Institute : You can find transcripts and recordings of today’s and all our sessions at

12:36:21             From  John Reilly : Huge amount of money.  I don’t think our province has this kind of money.

12:36:32             From  John Reilly : We are pouring money into building not investment funds.

12:36:48             From  Chris Roberton : Julie Lawson has written a paper on the subject of Limited Profit housing system in Vienna and Zurich. If anyone wants it I can get it to them (just email me at

12:37:13             From  Darren Cooney : Very helpful presentation. Thank you.

12:37:25             From  Michelle Hoar   to   All panelists : Very interesting and hopeful presentations everyone. Looking forward to diving deeper into some of the links and examples.

12:37:45             From  KIRA GERWING   to   All panelists : @John Reilly – I agree and it’s not the best way to leverage capital.  The investment funds are a better way to leverage public investments to unlock private capital in support of affordable housing delivery.

12:37:55             From  Joy Connelly : Amazing compilation of information. Every bullet point could have been a talk in itself!

12:38:14             From  Canadian Urban Institute   to   KIRA GERWING and all panelists : Hi Kira. We love your comments and questions in the chat! Share them with everyone by changing your chat settings to “all panelists and attendees”. Thanks!

12:38:30             From  Karen Dar Woon   to   All panelists : How do cities convince individual citizens to pay for housing migrants from other regions? Why should taxpayers of one municipality use their resources for housing the 1000s of ppl migrating from other regions?

12:38:43             From  Carolyn Whitzman  : before I forget, I want to thank Mikayla Tinsley, the Research Assistant who helped populate the database!!

12:38:47             From  Lester Brown : great presentations.

12:38:51             From  KIRA GERWING : @John Reilly – I agree and it’s not the best way to leverage capital.  The investment funds are a better way to leverage public investments to unlock private capital in support of affordable housing delivery.

12:39:17             From  Baldwin Hum   to   All panelists : an epic task, thanks Mikayla!

12:39:32             From  Julie Lawson : Thanks for listening and your interesting questions. Here’s another report to share. This one is on land policy for affordable and inclusive housing

12:41:43             From  Julie Lawson : While your listening here is another! Social housing as infrastructure – An Investment Pathway

12:43:10             From  Mary W Rowe : More authority, powers and resources to local governments! Thanks Carolyn! others think?

12:45:27             From  Baldwin Hum   to   All panelists : Part of the challenge that we seem to be seeing is that many people cannot seem to see beyond our current model of housing as private investments. Is cultural change a necessary precondition for enacting some of these strategies, or will it be necessary for politicians to brave public opinion first to show people how things can be done?

12:46:07             From  Baldwin Hum   to   All panelists : Especially challenging given the systemic nature of these problems.

12:46:41             From  Claire Buré : Thanks for your wonderful presentation Julie (and all)! Would you please share the link to the Swiss paper you just mentioned? Thanks so much

12:47:41             From  KIRA GERWING : BC Housing is financing projects that private lenders otherwise could…they are competing even thought they have limited capital. It’s a distorted view.

12:47:45             From  John Reilly : CRD in BC completed an analysis of creating a local fund, but it was not a feasible option.  Derek Ballantyne facilitated the analysis.  Geographic restraints on investment meant that the fund would not attract the big capital investors

12:48:04             From  Daphne Powell   to   All panelists : Thank you for this discussion! Interesting idea, we would need to consider what to do when local governments are not supportive of affordable housing.  Also consideration of downloading responsibility, without adequate tools and resources.

12:48:09             From  John Reilly : I could share this through this group, if you’d like.

12:48:58             From  KIRA GERWING : Vancity has raised a $17M fund and is attracting private investors who understand the trade-off between impact and financial reward.

12:49:12             From  Julie Lawson : Here is a link to a review which includes the Swiss bond issuing co-operative and all different types of financial intermedaries and guarantee schemes

12:49:13             From  KIRA GERWING : We are not paying “market” returns to those investors.

12:49:37             From  Claire Buré : Thanks, Julie!

12:50:21             From  David Crenna : A key conundrum of municipal empowerment is fragmentation of effort in wider urban regions: practical thoughts on that?

12:51:08             From  Baldwin Hum   to   All panelists : Higher levels of government must be involved, not just municipalities.

12:51:24             From  John Reilly : @Kira Gerwing.  Vancouver… very different market.

12:51:24             From  Mary W Rowe : yup agree @daphne- those need to be addressed in tandem

12:52:18             From  John Reilly : Where is VanCity planning to spend this investment?  Is it available to projects in the capital region?  If so, how?

12:52:39             From  Mary W Rowe   to   Baldwin Hum and all panelists : can you share your comment with ‘panelists and attendees’ – just adjust your settings

12:52:53             From  Greg Suttor   to   All panelists : Key problem for Canada is: cheap capital financing works well if paired with housing benefit. Canada’s NHCF and RHFI are providing financing at about 2.5% for new and repair/retrofit. Problem is the provider still needs to pay back the loan and therefore charge somewhat high rents to do so. European or (now) Australian provider can charge a low-end market rent while the tenant receives a housing benefit. Not so here. (New Canada Housing Benefit is tiny in numbers of households.)

12:53:09             From  KIRA GERWING : Yes, our fund is available to community housing providers all through the Vancity trade region (Fraser Valley, Metro Vancouver, Capital region)

12:53:22             From  KIRA GERWING : exclusively for not-for-profit developers

12:53:28             From  Marie-Josée Houle : I like your response using Hamburg as an example. We can’t forget that it costs a whole lot more for municipalities in homelessness costs than having affordable housing options for people. Bottom line, we can house people and pay, or we can pay for homelessness and pay more…

12:53:42             From  John Reilly : We have projects that have equity gaps.  But most of the operators, including CRHC aren’t allowed to provide a return on investment.

12:54:16             From  John Reilly : How do the projects provide a ROI?

12:54:25             From  Chris Roberton : Hey everyone, for those interested there is a over 1000 pieces of literature (reports, studies, dissertations, papers, etc.) related to affordable housing, sorted, at

12:54:30             From  Carolyn Whitzman  : Marie Josee, you are completely right. Whether you pay to keep families inadequately in motels as in Ottawa or create permanent social housing, there is a cost.

12:54:55             From  KIRA GERWING : @John Reilly – exactly.  Limiting the not-for-profit’s ability to leverage their assets is the distortion from our public funding programs.  It keeps the community housing sector unnecessarily weak.

12:55:24             From  Mark Guslits : Will the newly announced Federal Govt Housing initiative (in Canada) actually find it’s way to help the poor (as in the days of Fed Govt housing subsidies) or can we assume it will be largely directed to “affordable” housing – for middle and lower middle income families and individuals?

12:59:25             From  Julie Lawson   to   All panelists : So far lots of talk about finance – we also need to consider role of land –

12:59:27             From  Ann McAfee : Thanks Mark. As a Member of the newly appointed National Housing Council I’ll make sure this issue is raised and monitored.

12:59:33             From  Baldwin Hum : How can we limit the influence of the for-profit housing entities (deverlopers, REITs, etc) in the broader discourse?

13:00:12             From  Mark Guslits : thank you all. Very useful

13:00:13             From  Marie-Josée Houle : Thank you! This has been great! Take care, everyone!

13:00:17             From  Laura Tate   to   All panelists : Informative and thought-provoking session.  Thank you so much!@

13:00:21             From  Mary W Rowe : Such a terrific session! thanks everyone

13:00:23             From  Mary W Rowe : !

13:00:32             From  Karen Hemmingson : Thanks so much for a very interesting and informative presentation !

13:00:35             From  Alyson King : thanks!

13:00:47             From  Isaac de Ceuster   to   All panelists : Thanks so much!

13:00:53             From  Lucy Inyang Edet : Thank you so much for such a wonderful presentation

13:00:53             From  David Crenna : Thank you to CUI!