In November, the National Housing Day breakfast and panel brought together interested parties across the Greater Toronto Area to discuss strategies for engaging with the private sector to build affordable housing. As host, Toronto Real Estate Board president Mark McLean welcomed more than 80 attendees.


“Through discussions at these events, I believe we’re undertaking important work that affects every single person in our city and region, because affordable housing has a direct correlation to our region’s future prosperity and livability,” says McLean. “Together we can help to ensure that affordable housing opportunities exist for people from all walks of life.”

Moderated by Evergreen chair and community leader Helen Burstyn, affordable housing advocates Councillor Ana Bailão of the City of Toronto, Stephen Deveaux, VP of land development, Tribute Communities and Terry Cooke, president, Hamilton Community Foundation, agreed that partnerships with the private sector are vital to growth in the affordable housing sector. Collaboration and information sharing is key, including the dissemination of best practices across the industry by creating business cases for current incentives and programs. Addressing current infrastructure problems within existing housing projects, especially in the area of social housing repairs, is also another priority. All panelists concurred that no one solution, but a range of affordability options are needed and that land is the biggest asset to government and should be optimized.

The City of Toronto plans to address these issues with Mayor John Tory’s “open door” initiative so that conditions are improved for land development regardless of provincial or federal funding involvement. It was concluded that further collaboration between government, non-profit groups and private sector must come together on housing, with risk and reward to be shared by all.

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