Transcript: Greater Golden Horseshoe Housing Crunch | Oct 18, 2018

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and spotted brown tie.

A caption on screen reads "Greater Golden Horseshoe housing crunch. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says WE HEAR A LOT ABOUT
THE AFFORDABLE HOUSING CRUNCH IN
ONTARIO'S CAPITAL CITY.
BUT, OF COURSE, THIS PROBLEM
GOES WELL BEYOND TORONTO.
HAMILTON, BARRIE, LONDON, AND
THE LIST GOES ON, OF CITIES IN
ONTARIO DEALING WITH THIS ISSUE.
HERE TO GIVE US A SENSE OF WHAT
THAT LOOKS LIKE ON THE GROUND,
AND HOW IT'S FACTORING INTO THE
MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS:
JIM DUNN, PROFESSOR AND URBAN
GEOGRAPHER AT HAMILTON'S
McMASTER UNIVERSITY...

Jim is in his late forties, with short blond hair and a goatee. He's wearing glasses, a black suit and a blue shirt.

Steve continues AND BRIAN DOUCET, CANADA
RESEARCH CHAIR IN CITIES AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF WATERLOO'S SCHOOL
OF PLANNING.

Brian is in his forties, clean-shaven, with short blond hair. He's wearing glasses, a gray suit and a blue shirt.

Steve continues GENTLEMEN, GOOD TO HAVE YOU ON
TVO TONIGHT.
LET US JUST, IN BROAD TERMS...
JIM, YOU FIRST.
WHAT SPILLOVER EFFECT HAS THE
HOUSING AFFORDABILITY... IT'S
ALMOST A CRISIS... IN TORONTO
HAD ON THE GREATER GOLDEN
HORSESHOE?

The caption changes to "Jim Dunn McMaster University."
Then, it changes again to "The Toronto effect."

Jim says WE'RE SEEING IT
VERY ACUTELY IN HAMILTON WHERE
LOTS OF PEOPLE ARE MAKING
TRADE-OFFS ABOUT WHERE THEY LIVE
AND HOW THEY'RE GOING TO GET TO
WORK.
SO, FOR INSTANCE, THE HOUSING
CRISIS IN TORONTO, THINGS ARE SO
EXPENSIVE THAT COUPLES, FOR
INSTANCE, WHO HAVE TWO INCOMES
GOING CAN SAY, OH, WELL, WE'RE
BEATING OUR BRAINS OUT TO AFFORD
THIS INCREDIBLE HOUSE IN
TORONTO.
WHY DON'T WE ACTUALLY MOVE DOWN
THE QEW.
WE CAN HAVE ONE PERSON MAKE A
LONG COMMUTE AND THE OTHER CAN
STAY HOME AND WE CAN ACTUALLY
HAVE MORE DISPOSABLE INCOME AND
STILL HAVE EVERY BIT AS NICE A
LIFESTYLE AND HAVE A NICE HOUSE.
THAT'S HAVING A BIG IMPACT ON
THE MARKET IN WAYS THAT ARE
QUITE DISTURBING TOO.

Steve says TWICE THE HOUSE FOR
HALF THE MONEY.
AND PROFOUND EFFECT ON THE
MARKET INASMUCH AS...

Jim says IT'S DRIVING UP PRICES,
PURCHASE PRICES, AND SQUEEZING
THE RENTAL MARKET IN IMPORTANT
WAYS.
WE'RE SEEING A LOT OF THINGS
HAPPENING WHERE PEOPLE ARE BEING
DISPLACED AS A RESULT OF OVERALL
PRESSURES ON THE MARKET THAT
INCLUDE SOME OF THE SQUEEZE FROM
TORONTO.

Steve says BRIAN, WHAT ARE YOU
SEEING?

The caption changes to "Brian Doucet. University of Waterloo."

Brian says WE DON'T SEE
IT MUCH IN THE SAME WAY AS
HAMILTON AS IN WATERLOO REGION.
WHERE WE SEE IT BEING QUITE
ACUTE IS AT THE LOWER END OF THE
HOUSING MARKET.
SO IN SHELTERED ACCOMMODATION,
IN AFFORDABLE HOUSING, IN MOVING
FROM AFFORDABLE... FROM
SHELTERED ACCOMMODATION TO
RENTAL MARKETS.
OUR RENTAL MARKETS ARE VERY
TIGHT AT THE MOMENT.
SO THAT'S REALLY, IN WATERLOO
REGION IN PARTICULAR, WHERE THE
AFFORDABILITY CRISIS IS AT THE MOMENT.

Steve says WHEN YOU REFER TO...
I'VE SEEN YOU SAY THE REGION IS
UNDERGOING A CHANGE OF
CHARACTER, JUST AMPLIFY ON THAT.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN?

Brian says WATERLOO REGION IN PARTICULAR
IS SORT OF SHIFTING FROM A
SMALLER CITY OR A TOWN KIND OF
IDEA... IF YOU COMPARE IT WITH
OTHER PLACES ACROSS ONTARIO
WHERE THE MORE MONEY YOU HAD,
THE FURTHER OUT FROM THE CITY
CENTRE, FROM THE DOWNTOWN YOU'D
LIVE.
AND WE'RE STARTING TO SEE, WITH
A GROWING TECH INDUSTRY?
DOWNTOWN KITCHENER AND WITH OUR
LIGHT RAIL LINE, A REORDERING OF
THAT GEOGRAPHY.
WE'RE GETTING PEOPLE WITH MORE
MONEY COMING INTO THE CORE URBAN
AREAS AND THAT'S HAVING PRESSURE
ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING BECAUSE
SOME OF THOSE AFFORDABLE HOUSING
RENTAL UNITS IN PARTICULAR ARE
BEING GENTRIFIED.

Steve says LET ME FOLLOW UP ON
THE TRANSIT ANGLE.
THERE'S LIGHT RAIL TRANSIT GOING
IN ALL OVER THE PLACE, SOME IN
WATERLOO REGION, THERE'S A LINE
IN HAMILTON, ALL OVER THE CITY
OF TORONTO.
WHAT'S THAT DOING?
WHAT'S THE IMPACT OF ALL OF THAT
ON HOUSING AFFORDABILITY?

Jim says I MEAN, I THINK THAT HAS A
POSITIVE IMPACT IN A LOT OF
WAYS.
PROSPECTS FOR A LOT OF IMPACT.
BECAUSE IT'S GOING TO CREATE A
LOT OF DENSITY ALONG THOSE
LINES, WHICH IS REALLY
IMPORTANT.
WE CAN BUILD MORE UNITS IN LESS
SPACE AND THEN THE
MUNICIPALITIES CAN AFFORD TO
SERVICE THAT AT A MUCH LOWER
COST THAN THEY CAN IN A KIND OF
SPRAWLING HOUSING ARRANGEMENT.
I THINK THE OTHER THING TOO IS
IT WILL PROVIDE ACCESS FOR A LOT
OF PEOPLE.
A RAPID TRANSIT LINE LIKE THAT
ALLOWS PEOPLE TO GET TO JOBS AND
OTHER TYPES OF OPPORTUNITIES IN
WAYS THEY CAN'T IF THEY'RE
LIVING IN HOUSING THAT THEY
REQUIRE A CAR FOR OR WOULD HAVE
TO TAKE SEVERAL BUSES AND THAT
SORT OF THING.
THAT'S A REALLY BIG DEVELOPMENT.
THE OTHER THING THAT'S GOING TO
HAPPEN IN HAMILTON, AND TO BUILD
AN LRT, METROLINX IS HAVING TO
ACQUIRE A BUNCH OF PROPERTY.
SO THAT PROPERTY, SOME OF IT
WILL BE... THEY'LL TAKE A SLICE
OF 3 METRES OFF THE FRONT AND
THEN AT SOME POINT IT WILL GO
BACK INTO THE MARKET.
IF THAT CAN BE MOVED IN A WAY
THAT ACTUALLY PROMOTES
AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND IS
DIRECTED TOWARDS AFFORDABLE
HOUSING, WHICH MAKES SENSE THAT
A PUBLIC INSTITUTION LIKE
METROLINX AND THE CITY OF
HAMILTON WOULD DO, IF WE COULD
DIRECT THAT KIND OF LAND TOWARDS
PRIMARILY AFFORDABLE HOUSING, IT
COULD HAVE A BIG IMPACT ON
AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN THE CITY.

Steve says WE HAD THE
CANDIDATES COME IN.
THEY HAVE A BILLION DOLLARS IN
DEVELOPMENT PERMITS THAT HAS
BEEN REALIZED OVER THE LAST
NUMBER OF YEARS.
I MEAN, AS COMMUTE TIMES GET
SHORTER BECAUSE PUBLIC TRANSIT
IMPROVES, PRESUMABLY THAT'S
GOING TO HAVE AN IMPACT ON THIS
AS WELL, IS IT NOT?

Brian says I MEAN, I THINK HAVING
TRANSIT INVESTMENT IS GREAT.
I THINK IT ALSO HAS TO BE SEEN
WITHIN A WIDER PICTURE.
SO TRANSIT INVESTMENT WITHOUT A
HOUSING POLICY TO MITIGATE SOME
OF THOSE EFFECTS THAT JIM IS
TALKING ABOUT IN TERMS OF MORE
ACCIDENCE AT THIS BUT ALSO
HIGHER PRICES, LEADS TO A
SITUATION WHERE WE GET THIS
GREAT TRANSIT ACCESS, THIS GREAT
TRANSIT LINE, BUT YOU NEED QUITE
A LOT OF MONEY TO BE ABLE TO
AFFORD TO LIVE ALONG THAT LINE,
AS WE SEE IN TORONTO.
SO THE DANGER IS THAT WITHOUT
ANY SORT OF REGULATION ABOUT
PROVISIONS FOR AFFORDABLE
HOUSING, YOU'LL GET VERY
EXPENSIVE SINGLE FAMILY HOMES OR
FAIRLY EXPENSIVE SMALLER CONDOS
AND THAT DOESN'T SERVE THE
ENTIRE MARKET OF PEOPLE WHO
WOULD NEED TO LIVE ALONG THAT
LINE.

Steve says BRIAN, LET ME FOLLOW
UP WITH THIS.
I KNOW MANY PEOPLE ARE SENSITIVE
TO THE NOTION THAT THEY ARE
SOMEHOW SEEN AS BEDROOM
COMMUNITIES TO TORONTO.
YOU KNOW, EVERYBODY WANTS TO BE
THOUGHT OF AS AN INDEPENDENT,
YOU KNOW, STANDING UP FOR
ONESELF COMMUNITY OR CITY.
BUT, OKAY.
LET'S DEAL WITH THE EMPIRICAL,
PROVABLE EVIDENCE HERE.
IS THAT IN FACT THE CASE, THAT
TORONTO IS, BY VIRTUE OF ITS
GROWTH, IS MAKING HAMILTON,
BURLINGTON, OAKVILLE,
KITCHENER-WATERLOO, BEDROOM
COMMUNITIES TO THE 416?

The caption changes to "Brian Doucet, @bmdoucet."

Brian says I HAD THIS
DISCUSSION WITH PEOPLE IN THE
REGION.
LIKE, IF TORONTO WAS 1,000
KILOMETRES AWAY, WOULD THERE
STILL BE THE SAME HOUSING
CHALLENGES?
IT'S A BIT OF A, YOU KNOW,
PHILOSOPHICAL QUESTION.
THE CONCLUSION IS THIS MAKES
SOME OF THE HOUSING CHALLENGES
MORE EXTREME BECAUSE WE ARE
GETTING THOSE SPILLOVER EFFECTS.
AT THE SAME TIME, WE HAVE IN
WATERLOO REGION A VERY DYNAMIC,
GROWING ECONOMY THAT'S VERY
DIVERSIFIED AND HAS BEEN FOR
MANY DECADES.
SO IT'S NOT JUST LIKE A
COMMUNITY WHERE PEOPLE SLEEP AND
THEN GET ON THE 401 AND DRIVE
TO... DRIVE INTO THE TORONTO
AREA.
YOU'RE SEEING, I THINK... WE
DON'T HAVE A WHOLE LOT OF
EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE, BUT AGAIN,
SPEAKING TO PEOPLE ON THE
GROUND, SEEING MORE PEOPLE
MOVING OUT OF THE GTA, WHO ARE
CHOOSING FOR CHEAPER HOUSING IN
REGIONS LIKE OURS OR IN
HAMILTON, BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN
THAT THESE REGIONS ALL OF A
SUDDEN BECOME PURELY BEDROOM
COMMUNITIES FOR TORONTO.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Steve says THEY'RE NOT JUST
COMMUTER CITIES.

Brian says THEY'RE NOT.
THERE'S A LOT OF ANGST IN
HAMILTON ABOUT THAT.

Steve says GO AHEAD.

The caption changes to "Jim Dunn, @UrbanHealthProf."

Jim says IT'S COMMON FOR PEOPLE TO SAY
WE DON'T WANT TO BECOME A
BEDROOM COMMUNITY FOR TORONTO.
I DON'T THINK THERE'S ANY
CHOICE.
PEOPLE ARE GOING TO MAKE
DECISIONS ABOUT WHERE TO LIVE.
THE TRANSPORTATION CONNECTIONS
ARE ONLY GOING TO GET BETTER.
AS THE BIG MOVE PROCEEDS, THE
METROLINX POLICY, THEY'RE
ANTICIPATING AT SOME POINT, I
DON'T KNOW WHAT THE TIME FRAME
IS, PROBABLY WITHIN TEN YEARS,
ALL-DAY GO SERVICE FROM DOWNTOWN
HAMILTON TO DOWNTOWN TORONTO AND
ELECTRIFICATION OF THE LINE
WHICH WILL REDUCE THE TRAVEL
TIME IMMENSELY.
THINGS ARE ALL OVER THEN.
THINGS WILL CHANGE IMMENSELY.
PEOPLE WILL BE WILLING TO MAKE
THAT COMMUTE MORE AND MORE.
YES, PEOPLE ARE GOING TO MAKE
THOSE CHOICES AND TO SOME EXTENT
WE MIGHT BECOME A BEDROOM
COMMUNITY, BUT HOW CAN WE
LEVERAGE THAT TO OUR AVALANCHE?
ADVANTAGE?
PEOPLE WHO ARE GOING TO START
BUSINESSES AND CONSUME SERVICES
THAT CAN BE PROVIDED BY LOCAL
BUSINESSES AND SO FORTH AND
DIRECT THAT IN WAYS THAT ARE TO
THE GREATER GOOD.
THAT'S A GOOD THING TO DO.

Steve says GO AHEAD.

Brian says IT ALSO WORKS THE OTHER WAY.
IF PLACES LIKE KITCHENER ARE
MORE ACCESSIBLE TO TORONTO, NOT
ONLY DOES IT OPERATE AS A SORT
OF SAFETY VALVE OR PRESSURE
VALVE FOR HOUSING IN TORONTO,
BUT ALSO GIVES EMPLOYERS MORE
OPTIONS ON WHERE THEY WANT TO
LOCATE.
IF YOU CAN HOP ON A GO TRAIN
FROM DOWNTOWN TORONTO AND BE IN
DOWNTOWN KITCHENER IN AN HOUR
AND A HALF, ALL OF A SUDDEN
PEOPLE WHO MIGHT ONLY LOOK FOR
JOBS DOWNTOWN HAVE OPTIONS AND
COMPANIES HAVE OPTIONS TO MOVE
ELSEWHERE AS WELL IF THEIR
CONNECTIVITY IMPROVES.

Steve says JUST IN THE LAST
YEAR THERE'S BEEN AN AIRLINE
THAT STARTED RUNNING FLIGHTS A
FEW TIMES A DAY ANYWAY FROM
TORONTO TO K-W.
IS THAT WORKING?

Brian says I HAVE NO IDEA.
I WOULDN'T CONSIDER THAT TO BE A
MOBILITY SOLUTION THAT WORKS FOR
THE VAST...

Steve says FOR MILLIONS OF
PEOPLE.
GOOD POINT.
GOOD POINT.
I WANT TO PICK UP ON SOMETHING
YOU SAID A NUMBER OF MOMENTS
AGO, WHICH IS THE PRESSURE OF
TORONTONIANS MOVING INTO
HAMILTON, THE PRESSURE THAT IT'S
HAVING AND DISPLACING SOME
PEOPLE, AND I WANT TO KNOW THE
SORT OF... WHAT DOES THAT LOOK
LIKE ON THE GROUND IN HAMILTON?

Jim says THERE'S A LONG HISTORY OF
THIS THAT'S BEEN DOCUMENTED
ABOUT GENTRIFICATION TAKING
PLACE.
OFTEN IT WILL BE SUBTLE,
LANDLORDS NON-RESPONSIVE TO
COMPLAINTS AND PEOPLE GET FED UP
AND MOVE.
THERE'S INCENTIVE FOR PEOPLE TO
MOVE BECAUSE RENT CONTROLS ONLY
EXIST FOR THE SAME TENANT.
SO BASICALLY, YOU KNOW, IF YOU
LIVE IN THE SAME UNIT, YOUR RENT
IS RENT-CONTROLLED AS LONG AS
YOU LIVE THERE.
AS SOON AS THAT PERSON LEAVES
THAT UNIT, THEN JACK IT UP,
RIGHT?
WHATEVER THE MARKET WILL BEAR.
SO THERE'S A BUILT-IN INCENTIVE
FOR THE LANDLORD TO GET PEOPLE
TO LEAVE.
AND WHAT'S HAPPENED, AND I
ACTUALLY WAS QUITE SURPRISED
ABOUT THIS, BUT IN THINKING
ABOUT IT IT MAKES SENSE, SOME OF
THE LARGER BUILDINGS IN THE
NORTH END IN HAMILTON, JOHN
STREET AND SO FORTH, LANDLORDS
HAVE SAID WE'LL GIVE YOU MONEY
TO MOVE INTO 60 DAYS.
A LOW INCOME PERSON.
LET'S REMIND OURSELVES THAT THE
MARKET PROVIDES MOST OF THE
AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN CANADIAN
CITIES.
TO A LOW INCOME PERSON, THAT
MIGHT SOUND LIKE A LOT OF MONEY.
THIS IS A GREAT BONANZA.
THE PROBLEM IS THEY MIGHT NOT BE
AWARE OF THE FACT THAT THERE ARE
NO OTHER PLACES FOR THEM TO LIVE
AT THE PRICES THEY WERE PAYING.

Steve says AND THE LANDLORD CAN
MAKE THAT BACK.

The caption changes to "Pushback."

Jim says I THINK IT'S DRIVEN BY NEAR
ZERO INTEREST RATES.
THE LANDLORD COMES IN AND
RENOVATES THE BUILDING AND AT A
HIGHER RATE AND GET THE BUILDING
ASSESSED AT A HIGHER VALUE AND
THEY GET THEIR MONEY BACK VERY
QUICKLY.
THAT KIND OF DYNAMIC IS NEW IN A
LOW INTEREST RATE ENVIRONMENT.

Steve says BRIAN, LET ME ASK
YOU ABOUT HOW MUCH AFFORDABLE
HOUSING IS AFFECTING THE GREATER
GOLDEN HORSESHOE BECAUSE OF THE
GREENBELT.
WHAT'S YOUR VIEW ON THAT?

The caption changes to "Using space."

Brian says I THINK IN TERMS OF SHELTERED
ACCOMMODATION, SOCIAL HOUSING, I
DON'T THINK THE EFFECT IS
PARTICULARLY STRONG.
I THINK THESE ARE...
PARTICULARLY IN CITIES LIKE
KITCHENER-WATERLOO, BUT MANY
OTHER MID-SIZED CITIES IN THE
GREATER GOLDEN HORSESHOE,
THERE'S ACTUALLY A LOT OF SPACE
WITHIN THE CITY, EXISTING CITY,
TO EXPAND.
THERE'S A LOT OF, FOR EXAMPLE,
SURFACE PARKING LOTS THAT ARE
NOT BEING USED FOR ANYTHING
OTHER THAN PARKING CARS, AND SO
THERE'S A LOT OF SPACE WITHIN
THE EXISTING MUNICIPALITIES TO
CONTINUE TO GROW.

Steve says WE HEAR THIS ALL THE
TIME FROM DEVELOPERS, THOUGH,
JIM, WHICH IS THAT WE WANT
ACCESS TO THE GREENBELT.
FIRST OF ALL, WHO WOULDN'T WANT
TO LIVE IN THE GREENBELT.
IT'S GORGEOUS.
THAT'S NOT WHAT IT'S FOR.
HOW MUCH OF AN ISSUE DO YOU
THINK HOUSING SUPPLY IS BECAUSE
YOU CAN'T BUILD IN THE
GREENBELT?

Jim says IT'S DEFINITELY HAVING AN
IMPACT, RIGHT?
A PLACE LIKE BURLINGTON IS A
GOOD EXAMPLE WHERE, AS SOON AS
THE LAND SUPPLY RAN OUT ON THE
PERIPHERY IN THE GREENBELT, AT
THE EDGE OF THE GREENBELT,
THAT'S WHEN DEVELOPERS GOT
SERIOUS IN THE CITY SITES.
THE DIFFICULTY IS THAT
DEVELOPERS, THEY LOVE DEVELOPING
IN THE GREENBELT BECAUSE THAT'S
WHAT THEY'RE BUILT TO DO, RIGHT?
IT'S VERY EASY.
THE APPROVALS ARE EASY.
THERE'S NOT COMPLICATIONS LIKE
NEIGHBOURING BUILDINGS AND
POTENTIAL ENVIRONMENTAL
ASSESSMENT STUFF.
JUST A NUMBER OF COMPLICATIONS
FROM DOING IN-FILL SITES.
IT'S NOT UNTIL THE LAND SUPPLY
ACTUALLY RUNS OUT THAT THEY'LL
VIEW THOSE INFILL SITES AND GET
THE KIND OF DENSITY THAT ALLOWS
US TO SCALE.
YOU HAD A BURLINGTON MAYORS
PROGRAM AND THAT'S ONE OF THE
REAL TENSIONS THERE.

Steve says THAT'S A HUGE ISSUE,
ABSOLUTELY, FOR BURLINGTON RIGHT
NOW.
BUT IS THERE, YOU KNOW, WE'VE
HEARD GREAT DEBATES BETWEEN
ENVIRONMENTALISTS AND DEVELOPERS
ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT THERE'S AN
ADEQUATE SUPPLY OF LAND RIGHT
NOW TO BUILD AFFORDABLE HOUSING
ON ABSENT THE GREENBELT.
IS THERE?

Brian says I THINK THERE IS.
I THINK WE HAVE TO BE A BIT MORE
CREATIVE IN TERMS OF WHAT WE DO
WITH THAT LAND.
AGAIN, IN A PLACE LIKE UPTOWN
WATERLOO, DOWNTOWN KITCHENER,
THERE ARE ACRES OF SURFACE
PARKING LOTS, A LOT OF WHICH ARE
MUNICIPALLY OWNED.
THE OTHER QUESTION IS: WHAT DO
YOU DO WITH THAT LAND?
DO YOU SELL IT TO A DEVELOPER,
TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER, TO BUILD
WHAT'S MOST PROFITABLE?
OR TAKE THAT LAND TO SAY WE'RE
GOING TO USE THAT TO WORK WITH
NOT-FOR-PROFITS AND COMMUNITY
GROUPS TO BUILD AFFORDABLE
HOUSING, TO BUILD NON-MARKET
HOUSING THAT ADDRESSES SOME OF
THOSE ACUTE NEEDS THAT I TALKED
ABOUT AT THE OUTSET OF
HOMELESSNESS, OF SHELTERED
ACCOMMODATION.
BECAUSE EVEN THOUGH MOST OF OUR
AFFORDABLE HOUSING COMES FROM
THE MARKET, THE MARKET ALONE
ISN'T GOING TO SOLVE THOSE
ISSUES.
WE NEED OTHER PLAYERS THAT ARE
INVOLVED IN NON-PROFIT FORMS OF
HOUSING.

Steve says GO AHEAD.
I'M JUST GOING TO... WE'RE
RUNNING SHORT ON TIME.
WE HEARD FROM THE CANDIDATES AND
I WANT YOUR VIEWS.
ED HOLDER IS A FORMER MEMBER OF
PARLIAMENT, HE'S RUNNING FOR
MAYOR FOR LONDON, HE HAS
PROPOSED USING SCHOOLS OR
BROWNFIELD AREAS TO BUILD
AFFORDABLE HOUSING?

The caption changes to "Heard on the hustings."

Jim says ABSOLUTELY.
ANY LAND AVAILABLE SHOULD BE
USED FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING.
TO BRIAN'S POINT HE JUST MADE A
MOMENT AGO, THE MUNICIPALITY
SHOULDN'T THINK OF ITSELF AS A
TRANSACTIONAL KIND OF PLAYER IN
ALL OF THIS, RIGHT?
WE'VE GOT A PIECE OF LAND, WE
WANT TO SELL IT, WE WANT TO MAKE
A PROFIT.
THEY SHOULD SAY WHAT ARE OUR
BIGGER GOALS?
IF ONE OF OUR GOALS IS
AFFORDABLE HOUSING, MAYBE LEASE
THE LAND TO A NOT-FOR-PROFIT
PROVIDER SO THEY CAN MEET OUR
GOALS, AS OPPOSED TO SELLING
WHICH MEANS YOU NO LONGER OWN
THE ASSET.

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live."

Steve says DO YOU RUN AFOUL OF
TAXPAYERS WHO WILL CRITICIZE YOU
FOR NOT GETTING EVERY CENT OUT
OF THE LAND THAT YOU POSSIBLY
COULD HAVE, EVEN THOUGH YOU MAY
BE PURSUING A DIFFERENT SOCIAL
DEVELOPMENT GOAL?

Brian says IT'S A POLITICAL CHOICE.
THERE ARE OTHER COSTS THAT COME
WHEN YOU HAVE TO PUT PEOPLE UP
IN MOTELS, FOR EXAMPLE, OR PAY
LANDLORDS MARKET RENT TO HOUSE
PEOPLE THAT YOU HAVE AN
OBLIGATION TO HOUSE.
SO THERE'S ALL SORTS OF
TRADE-OFFS.
I THINK THAT'S MORE A POLITICAL
QUESTION.

Steve says EXCUSE ME.
THE CURRENT MAYOR OF HAMILTON,
FRED EISENBERGER, RUNNING FOR
REELECTION, JIM, I'D LIKE TO GET
YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT THESE
ARE.
HE WANTS LANEWAY HOMES, POCKET
HOMES, AND EXPANDING ACCESSORY
HOUSING SUITES IN RESIDENTIAL
AREAS.
WHAT DOES ALL THAT MEAN?

Jim says WELL, ON THE ONE HAND, YOU'VE
GOT A PARTICULAR PROPERTY, IT'S
GOT A LANEWAY, AND MAYBE THERE'S
A GARAGE BACK THERE BUT THERE
COULD BE A SMALL SUITE ON TOP OF
THAT GARAGE, RIGHT?
CURRENTLY THE ZONING DOESN'T
PERMIT THAT KIND OF THING.
SO THAT INCREASES SUPPLY IN A
VERY GENTLE SORT OF WAY, WITHOUT
ACTUALLY BEING REALLY INTRUSIVE.
SECONDARY SUITES ARE THINGS THAT
ARE DIFFICULT TO LICENSE AND
ALSO... SOMETIMES NOT PERMITTED
UNDER EXISTING ZONING.
SO, AGAIN, PEOPLE HAVE EXCESS
SPACE.
THERE WAS A REPORT DONE IN THE
GTA THAT SHOWED THERE'S
2 MILLION EMPTY BEDROOMS IN THE
GTA, AND THAT'S A BIG PART OF
WHAT'S DRIVING UP HOUSING COSTS,
IS THAT YOU'VE GOT LOTS OF
PEOPLE WHO ARE QUOTE, UNQUOTE,
OVERHOUSED.
IT'S THEIR CHOICE.
THEY OWN THE HOUSE.
THEY HAVE FOUR BEDROOMS.
WHAT IF THEY COULD AFFORDABLY
AND WITH RELATIVELY LITTLE RED
TAPE ACTUALLY DEVELOP SOME OF
THEIR SPACE INTO A SECONDARY
SUITE.
THEN THAT BECOMES A RENTAL SUITE
THAT INCREASES THE SUPPLY
WITHOUT ADDING A LOT OF BURDEN
IN TERMS OF THE INFRASTRUCTURE
AND SO FORTH AND ALSO
ACCESSIBLE.

Steve says I HAVE TO IMAGINE
THERE'S A LOT OF EMPTY NESTERS
OUT THERE, KIDS HAVE MOVED OUT,
THERE'S ONE, TWO, THREE EMPTY
BEDROOMS IN THE HOUSE.
HOW DO YOU EFFECT WHAT HE JUST
SUGGESTED?

Brian says I THINK IT'S PART OF A
SOLUTION BUT IT'S STILL
INVESTING IN PROPERTIES THAT ARE
MAKING THOSE PROPERTIES WORTH
MORE, RIGHT?
IF YOU CAN CHARGE 1,000 dollars A MONTH
TO RENT OUT YOUR BASEMENT, YOUR
HOUSE IS LITERALLY AND
FIGURATIVELY WORTH MORE MONEY.
I THINK WE HAVE TO LOOK AT
SOLUTIONS THAT GO OUTSIDE THE
MARKET.
WORKING WITH NOT-FOR-PROFIT
DEVELOPERS, COMMUNITY
ORGANIZATIONS, MANY CHAMPING AT
THE BIT TO BUILD MORE HOUSING TO
HOUSE THOSE IN GREATEST NEEDS.
CO-OP HOUSING.
SHARED TENURESHIP.
THESE THINGS I THINK ALSO NEED
TO BE PART OF THE MORE
TRANSFORMATIVE SOLUTIONS, RATHER
THAN JUST SORT OF TINKERING AT
THE EDGES OF ALLOWING SOMEONE TO
TURN THEIR GARAGE INTO A...

Jim says AND THAT'S TO SCALE, RIGHT?
THERE'S NO SILVER BULLET IN ANY
OF THIS, RIGHT?
THAT ACTUALLY HELPS WITH SCALE,
WHAT YOU'RE DESCRIBING, BRIAN,
BECAUSE IN A PLACE LIKE
HAMILTON, THEY SAID WE'RE
ACTUALLY GOING TO DEVELOP A UNIT
WITHIN THE PLANNING DEPARTMENT.
WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A
SPECIALIZED UNIT TO HANDLE
NOT-FOR-PROFITS.
THAT'S TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR
THOSE PLACES.
THERE'S A LOT MUNICIPALITIES CAN
DO.
THOSE ORGANIZATIONS CAN BUILD
AFFORDABLE HOUSING BECAUSE
THAT'S A BROADER MUNICIPAL GOAL.
SO THINK ABOUT WAYS WE CAN
ACHIEVE OUR GOALS WITH THE
POLICY LEVERS THAT
MUNICIPALITIES HAVE, AND THAT'S
ONE OF THEM.

Steve says I MENTIONED THAT THE
MAYORALTY CANDIDATES IN
CAMBRIDGE WERE HERE THE OTHER
NIGHT.
SINCE THAT'S YOUR NECK OF THE
WOODS.
LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT THIS IDEA,
CO-HOUSING AND SECONDARY SUITES.
WHAT'S CO-HOUSING?

Brian says WHO KNOWS?

Steve says DO YOU KNOW?

Brian says I'M NOT ENTIRELY FAMILIAR...

Jim says I'M IF A AM WITH THE CONCEPT.
CO-HOUSING IS AN IDEA... IT'S
USUALLY A CONDOMINIUM TITLE.
SO EACH PERSON HAS THEIR OWN
UNIT.
THERE'S LOTS OF SHARED SPACES.
THERE MIGHT BE A SHARED KITCHEN.
IT'S A WAY OF ENCOURAGING PEOPLE
TO COOPERATE MORE AND CARE FOR
EACH OTHER AND PROVIDE INFORMAL
CARE AND THOSE SORTS OF THINGS.
THERE IS A LOT OF... AGAIN,
THERE'S NO SILVER BULLET TO ANY
OF THIS.
THAT'S NOT TO EVERYBODY'S TASTE.

Steve says IS THAT LEGAL RIGHT NOW?

Jim says IT'S DIFFICULT TO ZONE UNDER
CURRENT ZONING.
THERE'S SOME EFFORTS TO DO THIS
AROUND SENIORS' HOUSING BECAUSE
ESSENTIALLY, YOU KNOW, MUTUAL
INFORMAL CARE AND THOSE SORTS OF
THINGS.
THAT'S ONE OF THE THINGS.
IT'S NOT A BAD IDEA.
AGAIN, THE MORE THAT WE CAN
PROVIDE OPTIONS FOR PEOPLE, I
THINK THE BETTER IT IS, AND THE
WAY... AND THE MORE THAT WE CAN
KIND OF OPEN UP CHANNELS FOR
NOT-FOR-PROFIT OR EVEN
FOR-PROFIT DEVELOPERS TO DO
THESE INNOVATIVE THINGS, THE
MORE OPTIONS FOR PEOPLE, THE
BETTER IT IS.

Steve says IN OUR LAST COUPLE
OF MINUTES HERE, LET'S JUST...
LET'S JUST CONSIDER WHAT
HAPPENS... GO AHEAD, BRIAN
FIRST.
WHAT HAPPENS IF WE DON'T DO A
LOT OF THE IDEAS THAT HAVE BEEN
PUT ON THE TABLE HERE TONIGHT?
WHERE ARE WE FIVE, TEN YEARS
DOWN THE ROAD IF THE STATUS QUO
PERSISTS?

A caption reads "On the horizon."

Brian says WE'RE CONTINUING TO SEE OUR
CITIES BECOME MORE UNEQUAL AND
WE'LL CONTINUE TO SEE THAT
HAPPEN.
IN A REGION LIKE WATERLOO, WHERE
WE HAVE THE LIGHT RAIL LINE THAT
IS REORDERING THE GEOGRAPHY, YOU
NEED TO HAVE A LOT OF MONEY TO
BE ABLE TO AFFORD TO LIVE,
EITHER TO RENT OR TO BUY, SO
IT'S SORT OF THIS PARADOX OF
QUALITY OF LIFE IMPROVEMENTS,
THAT THE QUALITY OF LIFE
IMPROVEMENT THAT WE'VE ALL PAID
FOR IS REALLY ACCESSIBLE TO
THOSE WHO HAVE THE MEANS TO LIVE
ALONG ITS ROUTE.
WITHOUT ANY INTERVENTIONS,
WITHOUT ANY REGULATIONS, I THINK
THAT'S THE DIRECTION WE'RE
HEADING.
IT WON'T HAPPEN OVERNIGHT, BUT
YOU'RE CERTAINLY SEEING MOST OF
WHAT GETS BUILT NOW IS AT THE
HIGHER END OF, PARTICULARLY THE
CONDO MARKET.

Steve says JIM?

Jim says ONE OF THE FUNDAMENTAL
PRINCIPLES OF URBAN GEOGRAPHY,
AND WE SHARE THE SAME
DISCIPLINE, BRIAN AND I, IS LOW
INCOME PEOPLE LIVE WHERE THE
LEAST EXPENSIVE AND LEAST
DESIRABLE HOUSING IS, WHEREVER
THAT MAY BE.
IF WE DON'T ACTUALLY ADDRESS
MAINTAINING AFFORDABLE UNITS IN
ALL PARTS OF THE CITY, THEN
PEOPLE ARE GOING TO GET SHUNTED
TO DIFFERENT PLACES.
WE'VE SEEN IT IN TORONTO
ALREADY.
A PLACE LIKE CABBAGE TOWN WASN'T
ALL THAT DESIRABLE.
NOW IT IS INCREDIBLY DESIRABLE
AND THERE ARE FEW LOW INCOME
PEOPLE THAT LIVE THERE.
NOW THE LOW INCOME PLACES ARE
THE TOWERS IN THE KIND OF SECOND
RING OF THE CITY.
AND IT'S DIFFICULT FOR A LOT OF
REASONS BECAUSE PEOPLE... IT'S
VERY INACCESSIBLE FOR PEOPLE TO
GET TO THE INNER CITY, TO GET TO
JOB OPPORTUNITIES AND SO FORTH.
IT'S ALSO DIFFICULT TO DELIVER
SERVICES TO PEOPLE.
IN A PLACE LIKE HAMILTON, RIGHT
NOW THE LOWER CITY IS BECOMING
MORE AND MORE DESIRABLE, IT'S
SQUEEZING PEOPLE, AND SO WHERE'S
THE EQUIVALENT PLACE THAT'S
GOING TO OCCUR IN HAMILTON, IT'S
GOING TO BE ALL THE TOWERS ALONG
MOHAWK ROAD AND UPPER JAMES.
WE'RE GOING TO SEE A REORDERING
OF THE GEOGRAPHY, TO USE BRIAN'S
LANGUAGE, THAT'S GOING TO BE
ULTIMATELY TO THE DISADVANTAGE
OF THOSE LOW INCOME PEOPLE.
WE REALLY NEED TO THINK ABOUT
SCALING A NUMBER OF UNITS THAT
WE CAN DELIVER IN AFFORDABLE
HOUSING BUT ALSO THINKING ABOUT
MAKING SURE THAT WE HAVE THEM
LOCATED IN PLACES WHERE PEOPLE
CAN LIVE THEIR LIVES
SUCCESSFULLY.

Steve says YOU WANT THE LAST WORD?

Brian says I SHOULD POINT OUT, THERE'S
NOTHING INEVITABLE ABOUT THIS.
THESE ARE POLITICAL CHOICES THAT
ARE MADE, POLICY DECISIONS THAT
ARE MADE.
IF WE CONTINUE ALONG THE PATH
THAT WE'RE CONTINUING, WHICH IS
A FAIRLY NON-INTERVENTIONALIST
APPROACH TO PARTICULARLY
AFFORDABLE HOUSING, THAT'S THE
SCENARIO THAT COULD HAPPEN.
BUT WE HAVE ALL SORTS OF
DIFFERENT TOOLS AND A WEALTH OF
IDEAS WITHIN OUR COMMUNITIES OF
HOW TO AVOID THOSE KIND OF
SCENARIOS FROM HAPPENING.

The caption changes to "Producer: Harrison Lowman, @harrisonlowman."

Steve says GOOD. GENTS, THANKS
A LOT FOR YOUR TIME. BRIAN
DOUCET FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF
WATERLOO, JIM DUNN FROM MCMASTER
UNIVERSITY. GOOD TO HAVE BOTH OF
YOU HERE ON TVO TONIGHT.

Brian says THANK YOU.

Jim says THANKS.

Watch: Greater Golden Horseshoe Housing Crunch