Progress made in affordable housing initiatives amid ongoing funding constraints and rising costs

Housing image with keys

BRANTFORD, ON: At their meeting held Wednesday, February 7, 2024, Social Services Committee received a presentation delivered by City of Brantford Chief Administrative Officer, Brian Hutchings, emphasizing the need for a comprehensive and collaborative approach to address the perfect storm of rising housing construction costs, reduced grant funding from other levels of government, and recent legislative changes that have dramatically impacted affordable housing funding sources. “These challenges require innovative solutions, continued advocacy for funding, and partnerships with all levels of government to ensure the fulfillment of our collective affordable housing goals,” says Hutchings.

The approved Brantford-Brant Municipal Housing Master Plan (BBMHMP) set a target of 843 affordable housing units by 2030, with 506 units municipally developed and 337 units to be developed by non-profit organizations. As of December 2023, the City of Brantford, as the Consolidated Housing Service Manager for both the City of Brantford and the County of Brant, has achieved 43% of the municipal housing development goals, with 220 units completed or in progress. However, challenges persist, including increasing construction costs, the removal of Housing as an eligible service for Development Charges, and a continued year over year reduction in grant funding.

Moreover, the City faces the challenge of 502 affordable units reaching the end of agreements over the next 20 years, potentially re-entering the market at competitive rates and contributing to the decline in available affordable housing post-2030. Financial constraints, exacerbated by a 167% increase in per-unit costs since 2020, require the City to reassess its annual financial plans for housing development. The removal of Development Charges has left a significant funding gap, amounting to an approximately $42 million shortfall.

In an effort to mitigate these significant challenges, the City is actively pursuing partnerships with non-profit providers, such as the Jaycee Brantford Non-Profit Homes Corp, to develop additional housing units. A proposed subsidy of $62,500 per unit, funded from future taxes, is intended to contribute to the goal of 337 units by non-profit organizations. The City is also confronting challenging decisions of considering the sale of additional municipal assets as a necessary means to finance affordable housing initiatives.

Centralized Housing Waitlist Update

Simultaneously, the City reports significant progress in advancing affordable housing initiatives. The Centralized Housing Waitlist has seen a remarkable 15% reduction over the past 12 months, reaching the lowest number of active households waiting for community housing in the past decade. The majority (40%) are families with dependents, and 25% have priority status, indicating urgent housing needs. Wait times have increased over the past year, ranging from 3-5 years for seniors aged 60 and older, 4-8 years for families with dependents, and 8-12 years for non-senior applicants with no dependents.

City of Brantford Mayor Kevin Davis expressed optimism about the progress made, stating, "We remain dedicated to addressing the housing needs of our community, and while this report demonstrates the positive impact of our ongoing efforts, we know we still have a lot of work to do to ensure all households on the waiting list have access to timely and affordable housing. The presence of MP Larry Brock and MPP Will Bouma at the meeting underscores the importance of collaboration across all levels of government in addressing the critical issue of affordable housing in our community."


Media Contact:
Maria Visocchi Director, Communications, Community Engagement and Customer Service
City of Brantford | Office: 519.759.4150 Ext. 5754 |


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