BY CLOVER STERLING
The Ontario NDP pitched a 10-year plan this week in a bid to bring more affordable housing to families in Peel. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said Tuesday that the new plan, which is aimed at first-time buyers in the region, would provide a cash-down payment to those looking to buy a new home, via an incentive program that would allow families with household incomes below $200,000 to access home equity loans of up to 10 per cent.
The new plan could be gravy for local families, as the NDP spools up their campaign promises in advance of the 2022 provincial elections. “Many families in Peel are living in tight conditions – renting a smaller space than they need, or maybe even a place that is in some disrepair, because they can’t afford a home that can accommodate their growing or multi-generational family,” Horwath said during an online press conference Tuesday.
“They save and save for a home, and it’s still not enough to find a decent place they can afford in the community they love. They are priced out of the neighbourhood, forced to move away from family.” In total, the party would seek to bring 69,000 new affordable homes in the region. Currently, house prices in the GTA have soared by more than 50 per cent since 2015, with neighbourhoods in Brampton and Mississauga experiencing demand that has outrapped supply. Under the plan, first time home buyers who access home equity loans of up to 10 per cent of the value would have the option of buying back the government’s share or repaying the loan if they move out and sell their home, Horwath explained.
In addition, a new Residents Rights Act will be implemented to make it affordable for landlords to convert unused spaces in there home into an affordable rental space for residence, allowing the landlord to gain an extra income. Brampton resident Sukhdeep Dhillon said during the announcement that the region’s housing market is currently “unaffordable,” and that even gathering the down payment for a house was proving to be a struggle.
“Earlier this year, I was looking to purchase a house in Brampton so I could be ready to begin my family life when my wife moved here,” said Dhillon. “I quickly realized that on one salary alone it’s extremely hard to purchase a house in Brampton. I am now upgrading my skills and education to get a better job because it is clear to me that only with a high paying job will I be able to afford to live in Brampton.”
The party plans to fund the operating cost of up to $300 million, with $240 million of that amount earmarked for rent subsidies for 311,000 households, along with $50 million to fund 30,000 supportive housing spaces. “Finding a good home you can afford has been getting harder and harder for families for decades, especially for people looking for multigeneration homes, or homes with a built-in rental for extra income,” said Horwath. “Government after government has been making rules that help corporations and billionaires snatch up properties, leaving everyone else to compete over what’s left.”