As a city that cares for its neighbours, we must address affordable housing, not only in word but most importantly in deed. To fulfill and live-out that Every Voice Counts in Guelph, our city must be an affordable place to live, and it must be welcoming to people of all backgrounds and life approaches, especially people with disabilities, newcomers, minimum wage workers, young adults, and our growing population of aging individuals.
Let’s not race to the bottom but let’s not race to the top either
- Guelphities expect their municipal governments to focus efforts on basic tasks such as keeping roads serviceable and parks mowed and keep operating expenses reasonably in line with population growth but municipal politicians habitually lose sight of these core objectives in their preoccupation with various distractions. Let’s work to get the basics right first before adding more.
- Reducing service for the sake of reducing service is no way to run a government. There are ways to generate additional revenue that don’t include hiking the property tax or user fees on the most vulnerable. There are ways to find efficiencies without rushing to the bottom of the barrel. There are alternative service delivery methods that can be explored. By working together, we can keep taxes low and still get good quality city services by thinking outside the box.
- Additional Revenue tools beyond the Property Tax were given to the City of Toronto but not to the rest of Ontario. Its time we have fair access to the same revenue options. We can then have a serious discussion on what may or may not work for Guelph.
Clearly, understanding what “Affordable Housing” Means
- The term ‘affordable housing’ means very different things to different people. Affordable housing, some people confuse it with social housing. Two very different things. Learn about what affordable housing means and why it is important. We should work together to clearly define what affordable housing is and the different levels.
We need to implement Inclusionary Zoning
- A practice that requires developments to set aside a percentage of units for lower-income tenants or owners, increasing the number of affordable units. Inclusionary Zoning could help maintain lower rent prices, especially in our university city and this was part of recommendations that went to the City Council in a revised bylaw.
Make home ownership a reality
- Implement the Affordable Housing Strategy and continue to adjust it as market changes occur.
- Let’s work together to provide financing mechanisms, in collaboration with nonprofit organizations, to make home ownership a reality. A great example is Options for Homes which could potentially bring $1000 down payments for a home or condo.
- Tiny Homes and Laneway housing are great new options that should be given more promotion and the city should step up its game to having these options developed.
Promote Housing & Nutrition First
- In Guelph, some of our friends and neighbours lack a place to call home and many don’t have enough to eat or to feed their children. That just is not the kind of community we should be. We are not going to end poverty with canned food donations. As your city councillor, I will coordinate with dedicated nonprofits such as Onward Willow, both school boards, local businesses, and faith-based organizations to continue to work to end homelessness and hunger for families and children. I will work to create a collaborative environment with key stakeholders and help to continue to develop a comprehensive approach that promotes housing and nutrition first.
We must improve our relationship with Wellington County on Housing
- According to reports, Guelph will no longer have to go through Wellington County for Affordable Housing funding. Until this is made official, we must seriously start looking at being better partners with Wellington County on Affordable Housing in Guelph.
- We must work together to implement a stronger housing strategy that will put cooperative, subsidized and rent geared to income housing in the ground. The Affordable Housing Financial Incentives Program is a good starting point but Guelph cannot do that alone without strong Provincial and Federal support through different programs.
As we get closer to Election Day, I will be posting more on this topic and will add more points to this posting!
“I know that Guelph is one of the best places in the country to live, that’s why my Grandfather immigrated from Yugoslavia and settled in Guelph on Durham Street in Ward 3 over 75 years ago. It is why much of my family and relatives have stayed here and raised their kids here and why we have served in the community over the years. But, there is real work to do here in Guelph to make the Royal City an even more amazing place to live, work and play, and I’m ready to roll up my sleeves to get started building with you a better city for future generations to come”
Steven Petric – Ward 3 Candidate for Guelph City Council