Margaret’s Boy Speaks on “Affordable Housing”

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“The $40 billion is going to roll out when it is needed,” Trudeau says in a matter of fact manner, in an exclusive interview with Toronto Storeys.

The 10-year plan also relies on debt-ridden provinces to contribute billions.

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The Prime Minister concedes that housing money may be “needed now … but we also need a long-term strategy and that’s what this is all about.”

And that, he says, means identifying areas where the need is the most urgent.

To that end, Trudeau says the 2018 budget set aside $1.25 billion in low-cost loans. This money will go to developers over the next three years for low- and middle-income rental housing. The Prime Minister says this could result in 100,000 new units in urban centres across the country.

“We recognize we need to create a long-term solution and that involves building stock and incenting developers to be doing what we need to be doing — and that’s creating more low-income and middle-income rental stocks. A lot of the things require actions to be taken before people can move into new houses,” says Trudeau.

“Part of the pressure that a lot of people are facing comes from the scarcity of affordable housing.”

Trudeau explains the loans have already generated a great deal of interest among developers and “we fully expect that to be more concentrated in some of the urban areas like Toronto — and that’s on top of the $40 billion National Housing Strategy we announced in November.”

Asked what he thinks when he hears young people say their dream of affording a home may never be realized, he turned to government initiatives and “growing the economy” as the path to making it easier for those young people to buy their first home.


“These are all things that are designed to give people … more confidence in their capacity to succeed,” says the Prime Minister.

Trudeau notes that improved transit is a factor in the Ottawa plan to improve the chances of home ownership — “there are a lot of folks who are having to move farther and farther away from work.”

“Obviously there are greater opportunities as we expand public transit investments out to the suburbs, so people can get to and from work in city cores more affordably,” the Prime Minister says.

He adds there are also unspecified initiatives in the hopper to encourage people to move downtown.

Among housing challenges, he says, is to make it affordable for people who work in the downtown core — be it police, firefighters, nurses and so on — to live where they work.

“Specific programs are often best designed by the people closest to the ground,” says Trudeau. “Ottawa … should be in the business of partnering with folks in municipalities, who need to be able to create these kinds of investments.”

Part of the $40-billion National Housing Strategy is devoted to social housing repairs. In Toronto’s case, this carries a $2.6-billion price tag.


“We know there are real challenges around getting money to make repairs … and we specifically said and John (Tory) was very happy to hear this — that a lot of that money is also for repairs and upgrades,” Trudeau explains.


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