Some important considerations in the future of social housing in Ontario.

In early 2007, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) released AMO’s Principles and Strategic Considerations for Social Housing in Ontario (Appendix 1). The paper emphasizes key considerations that we believe must be the cornerstones of the future sustainability of social housing in Ontario. These considerations include the following: support for the uploading of the costs of housing; the promotion of a service delivery framework that promotes local flexibility and accountability; a multi pronged and integrated approach that is accountable, effective and efficient; the importance of the participation of all orders of government in a national housing program; and the importance of consultation and engagement with local governments to ensure program success.

AMO’s motivation in advocating for a sustainable social housing system is simple; this important community service is under stress and facing significant challenges that must be addressed. The impact of both federal and provincial downloading of housing services and costs to municipalities is, by now, well understood. Decaying infrastructure, rising operating costs, diminishing supply, and impossibly long waiting lists are all issues that rest on the shoulders of the property tax payer to address. This is a “no win” situation, an economic equation that, on one side, sees the costs of housing increasing, and on the other hand, is being resourced from a static funding source. The consequence of this impossible fiscal arrangement is not only a frustration to municipalities but fundamentally undermines outcomes for Ontarians who require this important community service to have their housing needs met in a timely, appropriate and safe way.