M E M O   /   N O T E   D E   S E R V I C E




To / Destinataire

Planning Committee/

Comité de l’urbanisme


File/N° de fichier: ACS2011-COS-CSS-0002

From / Expéditeur

Administrator of Housing Services, Community and Social Services Department / Administratrice, Services de logement, Services sociaux et communautaires


Subject / Objet

Housing First Policy – Update /

La politique de priorité au logement - Mise à jour

Date: April 18, 2011 / le 18 avril 2011


In February 2009 Council passed motion 60/8 holding funds totalling $765,000 in reserve from the sale of two residential properties known as 293-295 and 281-283 Crichton Street, until a review of the City’s Housing First Policy was completed. Currently, the Housing First Policy is administered and interpreted to provide 25% of proceeds from the sale of surplus residential properties be directed toward the cost of development of new affordable housing under Action Ottawa. Motion 60/8 was brought forward to discuss the possibility of transferring 100% of revenue from specific residential properties such as those sold on Crichton Street.


Staff does not propose any changes to the Housing First Policy. However, this memorandum provides clarification to the land disposal provisions of the Housing First Policy with respect to both “viable” residential properties, and “non-viable” residential properties.


Council adopted the current Housing First Policy in 2005 to respond to the new affordable housing targets established in the City’s Official Plan and to include the City’s land disposal process as a source of revenue for the development of new affordable housing. The 2005 review of the Housing First Policy identified three issues to be addressed:


  1. A coordinated Corporate approach to affordable housing;
  2. An enhanced process of identifying and prioritizing appropriate City-owned property for affordable housing; and
  3. The City to lead by example in the use of City-owned resources.  


In response to the issues highlighted above, Committee recommended and Council approved the following amendments that now form part of the City’s current Housing First Policy:


1.      “While recognizing the need to ensure that affordable housing is distributed throughout the City of Ottawa, the Housing First Policy provides the framework to ensure city departments work in a cooperative and coordinated manner to achieve the affordable housing targets in the Official Plan.”

2.      Identify and make available suitable City-owned sites as identified by the Housing Branch to the community for the provision of long-term affordable housing.

3.      Enabling the utilization of 25% of the proceeds from the sale of residentially zoned land owned by the City where affordable housing is not developed to fund development elsewhere to meet social housing needs.


The 25% funds are used for predevelopment activities, capital grants, rehabilitation and repairs, and most importantly provide the necessary financial resources for the payment of City building permit, planning, and development fees which are not exempt under legislation.


A review of land sales since 2005 has illustrated that 25% of proceeds from the sale of viable residentially zoned land has not resulted in the projected revenues estimated in the 2005 report. Housing and Real Estate Services have reviewed the residential land sales since 2005 and have come to the conclusion that the sale of viable residentially zoned property is not a consistent revenue generator as other types of properties held and sold by the City. Non-viable properties form a small but significant portion of residential land sales in the City.  Twenty five percent of the proceeds from the sale of non-viable residential properties would have resulted in an additional $423,398 over a four year period.


The inclusion of non-viable residential properties in Housing First will provide consistent support to fund the City’s affordable housing targets and ongoing capital projects. Therefore the interpretation of the 2005 Policy will be to include viable residential properties, meaning residential properties that could accommodate one or more new dwelling units.  The policy will also be applied to smaller non-viable residential properties that are deemed surplus to the City’s needs and sold to adjacent property owners such as surplus road allowances, laneways and miscellaneous parcels not suitable for development on their own.


The City has received approximately $38.5M since 2008 in Federal and Provincial funding under the Canada-Ontario Affordable Housing Program 2009 Extension and more than $4M in Aboriginal Housing Program funds. Previously received City funds totalling approximately $1.0M from the 25% Housing First allocation were used to provide financial relief from building permit fees, non-exempt planning fees and school board charges for these projects between 2008 and 2010 and as a result have reduced the Capital Building Fund to a minimal amount at the end of 2010.


Housing First funding is therefore critical to support the development of affordable housing. Whether under Action Ottawa or in combination with the Canada-Ontario Affordable Housing Program, the City requires a minimum level of funding to support the indirect costs and activities associated with developing new affordable housing.


Since the Housing First amendments were implemented, Housing Services has successfully worked with Real Estate Services and the Planning and Growth Management Branch to develop new affordable housing projects on City owned land. Recent projects built on City land include the Centretown Citizen Ottawa Corporations Beaver Barracks project at 424 Metcalfe Street and the 16 unit townhouse development by Cumberland Housing Corporation at 260 Tompkins Avenue. Housing and Real Estate services have also collaborated to sell land at or below market value to other non-profit housing and support service agencies such as Habitat for Humanity and Christian Horizons.



Housing and Real Estate Services will coordinate the implementation of the Housing First Policy in the Land Disposal and Sales Process as outlined in this memorandum. Housing Services will report annually on the revenue collected as a result of Housing First and provide a summary outlining the annual use of Affordable Housing Funds.


With receipt of this memorandum twenty-five percent (i.e., $191,250) of the $765,000 in reserve from the sale of 293-295 and 281-283 Crichton Street will be transferred to the Social Housing Reserve Fund (810011).


I trust that this information will be of assistance.


Original Signed By


Janice Burelle


c.c.       Kent Kirkpatrick, City Manager

            Steve Kanellakos, Deputy City Manager, City Operations

            Aaron Burry, General Manager, Community and Social Services

            Gordon MacNair, Director, Real Estate Partnerships and Development Office

Timothy Marc, Senior Legal Counsel, City Clerk and Solicitor Department