WATERLOO, ONT. — A first-of-its-kind community-led housing initiative in Waterloo Region is aiming to produce half price housing for the local community.
Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region recently launched BUILD NOW: Waterloo Region in collaboration with local developers and community partners, which is expected to create 10,000 new affordable and attainable homes for the region’s individuals and families. The partnership is looking to work with all four levels of government to ensure these homes are built by 2030.
The BUILD NOW: Waterloo Region partnership utilizes the experience and insight of regional not-for-profits, charitable organizations, homebuilders, construction association members, the business community and academic institutions to plan and build housing that will be placed on the market for approximately half-price, indicates a release. The group hopes to provide a local stock of 7,000 homes for purchase and 3,000 homes for rent by 2030.
Each home will go to a buyer or renter who needs a place to live and none of them will be available as investment properties. The purpose of the partnership is the need to ease the supply-and-demand crunch for housing in Waterloo Region.
Under the stewardship of Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region, partners will transfer undeveloped land for housing construction, development charges will be waived through Bill 23 and homebuilders will eliminate pricing mark-ups beyond that which allows them to build new housing at cost, the release states.
There is also a possibility there will be private transfers of underdeveloped land at free or nominal costs. These three factors account for approximately 50 per cent of the price of a new home, based on Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region’s analysis.
The homes will consist of buildings from four to six storeys in height, with unit sizes ranging from one to three bedrooms.
“The goal of ‘half priced homes’ is realistic and achievable as long as we embrace innovative policies that replace short-term self-interest with a long-term commitment to sustainable growth,” said Philip Mills, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region, in a statement. “There is land available. Builders have the skills and labour to build the homes. Local not-for-profits and charities have experience working with rental providers to ensure that affordable rentals are available. The provincial government has the vision and resources to fast-track development approvals and help fund servicing and infrastructure requirements. And Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region brings the experience in governing affordable housing projects.”