2. Region of Peel Housing Strategy
The Region of Peel has witnessed many changes in the last fifteen years, such as rapid population growth, an increase in the number of immigrants settling in the Region, increased construction activity and a shift in socio-economic and demographic conditions. The purpose of developing a housing strategy for Peel Region is to assess the current housing situation and the future affordable, accessible and social housing needs in the context of these recent changes.
The scope of this project was designed to meet the requirements stemming from the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (2006), the Provincial Policy Statement (2005) and the Regional Official Plan.
The Housing Strategy includes two phases (see Figure 1).
Figure 1: Pictorial Overview of Housing Strategy
The first phase involved the preparation of a series of three discussion papers:
- Discussion Paper 1: Housing Availability Throughout the Life-Cycle (identified housing issues in Peel for the entire housing continuum and options available to provide safe, affordable and accessible housing to Peel residents throughout their lives);
- Discussion Paper 2: Diversity of Housing Needs (identified current and future needs, factors that hinder the supply, and tools and options available to increase the supply of social, accessible and special-needs housing); and
- Discussion Paper 3: Housing Affordability.
The housing issues and needs identified in the three discussion papers were consolidated into the Housing Issues Paper. The Housing Issues Paper formed the basis for the goals addressed in the Housing Strategy.
The second phase of the work involved the preparation of the Tools and Practices Background Paper that reviewed relevant federal, provincial, and municipal policies and identified best practices and innovative tools available to address the identified issues. The information in the Tools and Practices Background Paper led to the identification of four goals and several proposed actions which are outlined in the Housing Strategy. The proposed actions include policy recommendations for the Regional Official Plan and Area Municipal official plans. In Regional Official Plan Amendment 23, there are proposed revisions to the housing policies in the Regional Official Plan that were derived from policy recommendations in the Housing Strategy. In collaboration with the area municipalities and community groups, a working group will be established to select and implement the proposed actions in the Housing Strategy.
The following four goals were identified:
- Adequate and Diverse Housing Supply (e.g., A more diverse housing supply is needed to ensure housing choice and affordability for residents with various economic and personal circumstances);
- Affordable Housing Supply (e.g., A variety of measures are required to encourage the creation of affordable rental and ownership housing for households of low and moderate incomes);
- Housing Access and Options for Diverse and Special Needs Groups (e.g., Key to this goal is removing the barriers to accessing permanent affordable housing and other housing forms that meet the needs of residents facing particular difficulties finding adequate affordable housing including people with disabilities and diverse population groups such as Aboriginal people, visible minorities, immigrants, recent immigrants, youth, older adults, lone parents and female-led households).
- Sustainable, Compact and Complete Communities (e.g., There is a need for well designed neighbourhoods that include an appropriate mix of land uses, a full range of housing, transit supportive and energy efficient development, a regard for health and safety and a degree of intensification to help ensure optimal use of existing land supply for the growing population).
Housing accessibility is a key component of Peel’s Housing Strategy and forms the focus on Goal number 3. A number of objectives and key actions have been identified as part of the overall plan. For example, to address the third goal, one objective is: “To make available housing for residents with special needs including provision of accessible housing and appropriate support services.” There are a significant number of key actions that have been proposed in support of this objective.
- An example of such an action is a policy recommendation for the Regional and Area Municipal official plans: “Consider making it mandatory for all new affordable housing developments to conform to accessibility and visitability guidelines.”
- A financial action proposes: “Consider exploring the feasibility of funding support programs as well as other innovative initiatives for partnering with community organizations to provide the required supports.”
- Other actions noted for this objective include those related to education (e.g., educate the building industry about recent changes to the Ontario Building Code) and advocacy (e.g., inform the Province of the need for a long-term, sustainable senior government programs for people with special needs).
In Regional Official Plan Amendment (ROPA) 23, the following proposed policies aim to ensure provision of accessible housing:
- Explore, jointly with the area municipalities, strategies to encourage the incorporation of universally accessibility features in existing residential development;
- Work with the area municipalities, building industry and regional and area municipal Accessibility Advisory Committees to develop and implement guidelines to include universally accessibility features in all new residential development, redevelopment and intensification; and
- Establish Regional guidelines requiring the incorporation of universal accessible features in existing and new Regionally funded or managed affordable housing developments.
In support of this Strategy, the work is ongoing and involves the following next steps:
- Open Houses and Public Meeting will be held for ROPA 23 in September 2009;
- Adoption of ROPA 23 policies in October/November;
- Report to Council in Fall 2009 to approve the Regional Housing Strategy and proceed with implementation; and
- Fall 2009 setup a working group to select and implement proposed actions in the Housing Strategy.
In conclusion, the Peel Housing Strategy recognizes the universal benefits of accessible housing and accessible communities for individuals and residents of all ages.
back to top