March 17, 2023
Toronto - Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the details behind the $4 billion Housing Accelerator Fund. Municipalities will be able to apply for funding to enact systemic housing reforms, including ending exclusionary zoning, permitting greater density (with the level of funding tied to the amount of density allowed). The prime minister warned that only transformational changes would be funded and small changes would not be eligible.
"This announcement is promising. There has long been no incentive for municipalities to make the transformational changes to their zoning and planning systems that we need to build more homes and end the housing crisis," said Jacob Dawang, advocate with More Neighbours Toronto.
More Neighbours Toronto is happy to see specific criteria that need to be met for eligibility, including increasing annual growth rate in the housing supply targets, timelines that need to be met, and ensuring the initiatives funded are systemic.
"If properly enforced, these criteria will ensure that municipalities' plans are serious and credible. In addition, the funding structure, where speed is rewarded and funds are disbursed over a course of four years, contingent on meeting interim targets, will also encourage municipalities to actually follow through on their plans quickly," said Dawang.
Applications for the Housing Accelerator Fund open in June, which means that now is the time for municipalities like Toronto to step on the gas with its Housing Action Plan that is going to the Executive Committee on March 21.
"Toronto City Council should take advantage of the money up for grabs from the federal government and put even more ambition into its Housing Action Plan. Now is the time to double down on planning reform and ignore the voices saying 'no or go slow'," said Colleen Bailey, advocate with More Neighbours Toronto.
One aspect lacking from the Housing Accelerator Fund are any penalties for municipalities that do not choose to reform their systems.
"Carrots for some municipalities are one side of the story, but the housing crisis is everywhere so reform is needed everywhere. The federal or provincial governments need to step in with sticks for municipalities that are not pulling their weight, lest they choose to maintain policies that perpetuate the housing crisis" said Bailey.
Media contact: Rocky Petkov, email@example.com
More Neighbours Toronto is a volunteer-only organization of housing advocates that believe in building more multi-family homes of all kinds for those who dream of building their lives in Toronto. We advocate for reforms to increase our city’s ability to build more homes in every neighbourhood. We are a big-tent organisation with members across the political spectrum who are nevertheless committed to counterbalancing the anti-housing agenda that dominates Toronto's politics, created an affordability crisis, and has cost burdened a new generation of aspiring residents. We are firmly committed to the principle that housing is a human right and believe Toronto should be inclusive and welcoming to all.