For Immediate Release | Check Against Delivery

May 26th, 2017

Mayor Crombie’s Remarks During Mississauga Housing Forum

The City of Mississauga is taking action on housing affordability with its draft strategy: Making Room for the Middle: A Housing Strategy for Mississauga.  The draft strategy includes 40 actions to support housing affordability and is focused on middle income households who do not qualify for public subsidies and cannot afford homes at current prices. To raise awareness about the Strategy, receive feedback and build partnerships to implement the actions, the City of Mississauga hosted a public forum yesterday where members of the public were invited to provide their ideas and feedback to address housing affordability:

“Good evening, everyone. On behalf of the City of Mississauga, thank you for joining us for what I believe is an important discussion about the future of our great City

“Let me recognize the Councillors who have joined us this evening.

“I would also like to recognize Minister Bains and Minister Damerla who have joined us this evening. Your presence here underscores your commitment to housing in Mississauga and the growth of our community. Thank you for being here.

“I would also like to thank staff, in particular our Commissioner of Planning and Building, Ed Sajecki, and our Director of City Planning Strategies, Andrew Whittemore, and their teams for their incredible work to put this housing strategy together.

“And, I would like to thank the Affordable Housing Panel, chaired by Andrea Calla, for their work over the last year. This of course includes Councillors Parrish and Carlson as well who helped shape the outcomes.

“Finally, I would like thank the Canadian Urban Institute, the Urban Land Institute, and the city staff who put this event together.

“Tonight is an exciting night.

“Mississauga is in the midst of transformative change. While we are only 43 years old as a city, the decisions we are making today will shape how we grow and develop for the next 43 and beyond.

“We’re building a complete city – one where people can live, work and play in their own community. Where they can find good jobs, enjoy culture, and engage in their community.

“Building a complete city means first getting the fundamentals right. One of these fundamentals is safe and affordable housing.

“If a person does not have an adequate, safe and affordable place to call home, they cannot fully engage in society.

“Without proper housing, it’s hard to keep a job, raise a family, or be part of the community in any meaningful way.

“As Adam Vaughan has said, housing is the solution to almost all of society’s problems from eliminating poverty to creating a strong economy.

“And it is with this in mind that we meet tonight to discuss Mississauga’s proposed housing strategy called, Making Room for the Middle.

“Council is moving forward with a made in Mississauga plan that provides bold, innovative and practical strategies to give people more options for affordable, stable and safe housing here in Mississauga.

“What we are doing as a city is unique. We are a lower tier municipality. Housing is the responsibility of the upper tier – in our case the Region of Peel.

“The Region administers our social housing – the subsidized units and shelter system. The wait list for these services remains long. About 6 years for families.

“We are pleased by the unprecedented investments that have been and will be made by the federal government in social housing, and the commitment to a national housing strategy

“We also welcome many of the recent changes made by the provincial government to address housing affordability, including things like inclusionary zoning, and a fund to help incentivize the building of affordable market rental.

“We’re not looking to solve the entire housing crisis. There are many actors with a role to play from the federal government, the provincial government, the Region of Peel to the City of Mississauga.

“We’re working to address what we believe is within our control.

“Our objective in this strategy is to address the housing crisis facing those in the “missing middle” – those people who do not qualify for government housing assistance, but cannot afford the skyrocketing housing costs in Mississauga.

“Prospective homeowners can afford to pay from $270,000 to $400,000 but in Mississauga, but we all know this doesn’t go very far in Mississauga these days, nor is there enough adequate stock at this price point.

“One in three households are spending more than 30 per cent of their gross household income on housing, which is considered unaffordable.

“In Mississauga, the supply of housing that is affordable to a variety of household incomes is decreasing. In particular, the range of housing available to middle-income earners is dwindling, such that a large part of the population and workforce is being priced out of Mississauga.

“This means people are forced to live way beyond their means, which has significant ramifications for the economy as a whole as people go further in debt. Or, they’re forced to move further away and commute great distances.

“This is no way to live and certainly no way to build a world-class city.

“We cannot build a great city when the very people who work to build this city and our local economy, cannot afford to live here. That’s a recipe for disaster

“That’s why our strategy is called Making Room for the Middle.

“Our strategy aims to foster a supportive development environment for private and non-profit housing builders to provide a range of housing that is affordable for all – with a focus on middle-income households earning between $55,000 and $100,000.

“These are people like nurses, service professionals, people who work in the manufacturing sector, and many more – the heart and soul of our local economy.

“Perhaps most importantly, this strategy hopes to change the frame of the discussion about housing affordability from looking at housing as an investment, to looking at it as a necessity and as an essential part of building a complete community.

“If we look at housing simply as an investment – as a commodity – not as a place to build a life, then we will never truly address housing affordability and we will continue to have too many people who can’t engage in our society as a result.

“Andrew Whittemore will discuss our strategy in greater detail and discuss our approach to addressing the housing crisis.

“The bottom line: Mississauga is ready to do its part to address housing affordability in our city and ensure we have the right supply mix so that residents have affordable and safe housing choices.

“I’m pleased that you have joined us this evening to hear more about our strategy, but more importantly, to tell us what you think and give us your feedback.

“This will only work if the residents of Mississauga are on board and understand the importance of this issue. If people cannot afford to live in our city, it creates many more problems for everyone.

“Through tonight’s discussion and those in the months to come, I know we will take action and develop solutions that address this crisis.

“Mississauga has always been a leader and on this issue, we will do so again.

“Thank you for joining us this evening, for your engagement, and for your commitment to making Mississauga a world-class city that people are proud to call home.

“I’d now like to show you a video that will outline why we’ve undertaken this strategy and showcase the people we are trying to help.”