Government encourages students to address the problem of affordable housing
Everyone is aware that Canada, especially the Greater Toronto Area is experiencing a huge problem with affordable housing. Property prices have skyrocketed over the past few years and the market is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, affordable housing is such a big problem today that the Market Manuscript Fall 2017 reports that 33% of millennials are planning on leaving the GTA to find affordable houses elsewhere.
It is a sad truth that incomes have been stagnating and affordable rental housing has all but disappeared in the GTA. Low and middle income individuals, along with students are some of the people struggling to afford a decent home in the region.
The government has already recognized this problem and is taking measures to combat the issue. The proposal of implementing vacant home tax in the Greater Toronto Area is one way the government hopes to battle the affordable housing problem. However, this tax is yet to be implemented.
Apart from this, the federal government has also launched a project under the Affordable Rental Innovation Fund known as the Student Challenge for Affordable Housing. Any student who is registered for post-secondary education at an accredited institution can participate in this project. The goal of this project is to rethink and completely revolutionize the affordable rental sector. Several universities are already collaborating with experts from all over to encourage and motivate students to take part in this project.
This is certainly a brilliant move on the part of the government. Most students in the region live in rented homes and they know the problem of affordable housing all too well. If anyone has a shot at offering a solution to affordable housing, it is students who experience the problem first hand.
Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development has stated that the future of the nation lies in the hands of the youth and that there’s no better group of people to approach to address the affordable housing issue. This project is certainly an inspirational initiative and if successful, it may solve the issue of affordable housing. However, everything lies in the hands of dynamic young contributors. It is only the youth who can change the face of affordable rentals across the GTA and Canada.
Ontario may have already implemented new parameters for rent control. However, experts determine that these new parameters on rent control can have several unintended negative consequences. These include smaller housing units, lesser number of housing units and reduced quality of housing for new units being built. This also means that existing properties will offer more as compared to new properties and consequently, their rent will be higher. As can be easily seen, these negative consequences may be unintended, but they completely defeat the purpose of rent control. This is another reason why the Student Challenge for Affordable Housing is being welcomed by real estate experts.
To motivate students to take part in this project, the government has announced a prize of $10,000 to all winning submissions. Moreover, winners will also be eligible to receive funding to develop their project further. Students can take part in this project either individually or as a team. However, the government has not stated how many winning submissions will be declared.
Under this project, students will be expected to research on innovating building techniques, develop new funding models and address the problems of financial viability, affordability, accessibility and energy efficiency. Students will also need to take into account the new parameters for rent control when creating submissions for this project. Many universities have stated that they will offer all the help and support that students require in order to create submissions. This offers students even more incentive to participate in this wonderful initiative.
Submissions for this project will be accepted till 11:59pm on April 30, 2018. All submissions must be sent directly to the Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation. We certainly hope that a large number of students take part in this innovative project and that their submissions can address the looming issue of affordable housing in Canada.