Mississauga residents and industry professionals had the opportunity to share their ideas on housing affordability at the Mississauga Housing Forum on May 25 and 26. Residents, government officials, and industry stakeholders discussed the City’s draft housing strategy, Making Room for the Middle. The Strategy is a bold action plan for fostering a supportive development environment for the delivery of a range of housing that is affordable for all, with a focus on middle-income households.
“We must change our focus from building housing as an investment opportunity to building homes for families to live in our community. Having a home is critical to success in life. When middle-class families – the heart and soul of our local economy – are being squeezed out of the market, this is a recipe for disaster for everyone,” said Mayor Crombie.
“I want to thank the concerned citizens, community groups and organizations who took part in our recent housing forum and shared their ideas to improve housing affordability,” Mayor Crombie said. “Making Room for the Middle: A Housing Strategy for Mississauga is 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. We have put forward 40 action items that call on all governments, our partners in the private-sector, non-profits, cooperatives and individuals, to be part of the solution,” Mayor Crombie added. “This Strategy is part of our bigger and ongoing efforts to build a complete city – a place where people can raise a family, earn an education, find a well-paying job and enjoy an unrivalled quality of life.”
On May 25, the public participated in a discussion at the Living Arts Centre, provided input on the Strategy and shared their personal housing stories. Keynote speaker, Vancouver’s Paul Kershaw Ph.D, founder of Generation Squeeze, used lessons from Vancouver and other Canadian cities to show how middle-income households are being squeezed by rising house prices relative to earnings, and shared his vision for rethinking housing policy in Canada.
A discussion period moderated by CBC Radio`s Mary Wiens got residents actively engaged in a conversation about housing affordability options.
On May 26, building and development industry professionals, non-profit organizations, stakeholders and thought leaders offered insights into the City’s Strategy.
The workshop featured a series of speakers, including Keynote speaker Adam Vaughan, MP and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.
Other speakers included:
- Mayor Bonnie Crombie, City of Mississauga
- Andrew Whittemore, Director, City Planning Strategies, Planning and Building Department, City of Mississauga
- Michael Wilkerson, PhD, Senior Economist, ECONorthwest, Portland, Oregon author of ULI study
- Steve Webber, Associate Professor, School of Urban and Regional Planning, Ryerson University
- David Schwartz, Vice President, Economic & Planning Systems, Denver (Affordable Housing Calculator)
- Frank Giannone, President, FRAM Building Group
- Heather Tremain, CEO, Options for Homes (Non-profit Developer)
- Jens Lohmueller, CEO, Home Ownership Alternatives (Non-profit Housing Fund Manager)
- Laurie Payne, V.P. Development – Special Projects, Diamond Corp
- Brian Athey, Vice President Development, Morguard
“Our middle-income population is an important segment of the City’s workforce,” said Ed Sajecki, Commissioner, Planning and Building. “Middle-income households contribute significantly to Mississauga’s future economic prosperity. The Mississauga Housing Forum has been a great opportunity for us to get input from residents and industry professionals, to help us fine tune the Strategy and get housing affordability right.”
As next steps, City staff will consider the input received as they present the Strategy to City Council later in 2017.