A primer on affordable housing and homelessness
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A primer on Affordable housing and homelessness. By: Nick Falvo Presentation to United Church Women Location : Barrhaven United Church Ottawa, Ontario February 17, 2014. Overview. Government support for housing Social assistance Social housing Homelessness “Housing First” Summary.

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A primer on affordable housing and homelessness

A primer on Affordable housing and homelessness

By: Nick Falvo

Presentation to United Church Women

Location: Barrhaven United Church

Ottawa, Ontario

February 17, 2014


Overview

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Overview

  • Government support for housing

  • Social assistance

  • Social housing

  • Homelessness

  • “Housing First”

  • Summary


A well kept secret

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

A Well-Kept Secret


Ex s of support to ontario homeowners

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Ex’s of Support to Ontario Homeowners


Imputed rent

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Imputed Rent

  • When a landlord rents a unit to a tenant, the landlord is taxed on that rental income.

  • When a landlord (effectively) rents to her/himself, that (imputed) rental income “is not taxed under the income tax regime” the way “net rental income” would be taxed if they rented to another person.

  • It’s not actual rental income. Hence the term “imputed rent.”


Capital gains on principal residences

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Capital Gains on Principal Residences

“Capital gains realized on the sale of a principal residence are non-taxable under the income tax regime in Canada. In comparison, 50% of capital gains from other investments (e.g., equities) realized in a year are taxed at income tax rates.”

— Frank Clayton


The economics of newly built housing

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

The Economics of Newly-Built Housing


Sa shelter allowance ottawa

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

SA Shelter Allowance, Ottawa


Sa shelter allowance ottawa cont d

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

SA Shelter Allowance, Ottawa (cont’d)


A primer on affordable housing and homelessness

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)


Social housing

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Social Housing

  • Social housing generally refers to housing for low-income households that benefits from substantial funding from senior levels of government.

  • Usually, social housing is owned and operated by a not-for-profit entity.


Social housing cont d

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Social Housing (cont’d)

  • A crucial point about ‘social housing’ is that a significant proportion of tenants who live there pay reduced rent. This is usually referred to as Rent Geared to Income (RGI).

  • Though the precise rent scale varies across Canada and across programs (and years), tenants in RGI units typically pay between 25% and 30% of their before-tax monthly income.

  • The highest amount of rent a tenant would be charged in social housing would be ‘break even rent’—that is, the actual market rent that would be charged on the private market. This happens in private non-profit and co-op housing (with tenants who are ‘middle-income’). These would not be RGI units.


Rent levels in social housing compared

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Rent Levels in Social Housing Compared


Who has social housing

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Who Has Social Housing?


Ottawa s waiting list

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Ottawa’s Waiting List


Tenants

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Tenants

  • 1/3 of social housing tenants in Ontario are seniors. Most prefer all-seniors buildings, and non-profit housing authorities find them to be very good tenants.

  • 10% of Ontario’s stock of social housing is “supportive housing.”


Inadequate housing children in care

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Inadequate Housing, Children in Care

“Two studies have been done in Toronto looking at the role of housing with respect to children in care. Results of both studies indicate that the state of the family’s housing was a factor in one in five cases in which a child was temporarily admitted into care. Results from the Toronto research also indicate that, in one in 10 cases, housing status delayed the return home of a child from care.”

— Falvo, 2012


A primer on affordable housing and homelessness

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Developing

Social Housing


Social housing in toronto basic math

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Social Housing in Toronto: Basic Math

  • $200K to build new unit of social housing (including cost of land). Amount gets paid over 30 years

  • $300/month (from tenant) to cover operating deficit.

  • After 30 years, major repairs necessary.


Social housing in ottawa

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Social Housing in Ottawa


Social housing in ottawa cont d

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Social Housing in Ottawa (cont’d)

  • It might cost less than half of that to acquire an already-existing unit (from a private landlord, for example).

  • But such a unit likely would not last as long as a newly-built one.

  • And for some types of supportive housing (i.e. for persons with physical disabilities), housing must be purpose-built.


A primer on affordable housing and homelessness

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Land

  • Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation (CCOC) provides social housing in Ottawa. CCOC often pays full market value of the land for their units.

  • CCOC cannot afford to buy land in downtown Ottawa at market rates and build new. But they can afford to acquire already-existing units downtown.

  • For example, when carrying out new construction, CCOC could not afford to pay the full cost of land in the Market, Centretown, Hintonburg or the main streets of Little Italy or Chinatown.


Land cont d

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Land (cont’d)

  • Sometimes the City of Ottawa (or another level of government) donates the land.

  • Other times, a level of government will offer CCOC a long-term lease for one dollar (or for $30,000 or $40,000 a year).


Land cont d1

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Land (cont’d)

  • Government funding cycles make it challenging for non-profit housing providers to ‘jump on’ good land opportunities.

  • City of Ottawa might issue an RFP in July and then announce results in November.

  • But there might be a great deal on land in June; and owner of the land will not wait. Seller wants to close in three months.


A primer on affordable housing and homelessness

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

New Social Housing in

Ottawa


Examples of ahi projects in ottawa

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Examples of AHI Projects in Ottawa


Beaver barracks

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Beaver Barracks


Beaver barracks cont d

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Beaver Barracks (cont’d)


Beaver barracks cont d1

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Beaver Barracks (cont’d)


Shepherds of good hope the oaks

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Shepherds of Good Hope (“The Oaks”)


Ex s of new ahi coop units in ottawa

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Ex’s of New AHI Coop Units in Ottawa


Blue heron housing co operative

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Blue Heron Housing Co-operative


Maclean co operative homes

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

MacLean Co-operative Homes


Eastern ontario christian seniors co op

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Eastern Ontario Christian Seniors Co-op


A primer on affordable housing and homelessness

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

But Where Does This Leave Us?


Canada compared

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Canada Compared


Rental housing production

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Rental Housing Production


A primer on affordable housing and homelessness

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Homelessness


Causes

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Causes

Traditionally, two schools of thought:

  • Individual risk factors

  • Socioeconomic factors affecting entire jurisdictions


Causes cont d

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Causes (cont’d)

Ex’s of Individual Risk Factors:

  • Mental health diagnosis

  • Heavy use of drugs or alcohol

  • Lack of education/skills


Causes cont d1

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Causes (cont’d)

Examples of Socioeconomic Factors Affecting Entire Jurisdictions

  • High unemployment rate

  • Lack of affordable housing

  • Inadequate social assistance benefits

  • Reductions in psychiatric beds


Causes cont d2

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Causes (cont’d)

Since early 1990s: convergence of opinions

1. Structural factors matter

2. Those most at risk tend to have individual risk factors


Impact on health

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Impact on Health

“Homeless people in their forties and fifties often develop health disabilities that are more commonly seen only in people who are decades older.”

—Dr. Stephen Hwang


Impact on health cont d

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Impact on Health (cont’d)

  • Homeless people more likely to have:

    29X Hep C

    20X Epilepsy

    5X Heart Disease

    4X Cancer

    2X Diabetes


Mental health

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Mental Health

  • Depression 17% (8% in pop)

  • Anxiety 11% (1%)

  • Bipolar 8% (1%)

  • Schizophrenia 5% (1%)


Social costs cont d

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Social Costs (cont’d)

  • 2000 article in JAMA reported on death rates among homeless men in Toronto:

    →The mean age of death was 46 years.

    →The mortality rate for homeless male youth 8X rate of of their non-homeless counterparts.

    →Homeless men 9X more likely to be murdered than their housed counterparts.


Social costs cont d1

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Social Costs (cont’d)

  • 1998 Toronto study

    → Over half of all female street youth become pregnant.

    →300 babies are born to homeless women each year in Toronto


Violence

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Violence

  • More than 1/3 of homeless persons report being physically assaulted or beaten up in previous year

    • Stranger 56%

    • Acquaintance 38%

    • Police 35%

    • Another shelter resident 27%

    • Partner or spouse 21%

    • Shelter staff 15%


Sexual violence

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Sexual Violence

  • 1 in 5 homeless women report being sexually assaulted or raped in previous year.


A primer on affordable housing and homelessness

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

“Housing First”


Throne speech 2013

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Throne Speech, 2013

  • “Our Government will…[b]uild on the successful Housing First approach and its renewed Homelessness Partnering Strategy to help house vulnerable Canadians…”

    — Throne Speech (Canada), Oct. 2013


Housing first

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Housing First

My Definition (for the purpose of today’s class)

Providing a homeless person with immediate access to permanent housing.

The alternative to Housing First: the “treatment first” approach (also known as the “continuum of care” approach)—i.e. fix person’s behaviour (i.e. addictions, mental health, etc.) before giving them permanent housing.


A primer on affordable housing and homelessness

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Difference between HF and Treatment First

Based on slide from S.Tsemberis

Housing First

No requirement for readiness to move directly to permanent housing

Permanent housing

Transitional housing

Shelter placement

Treatment First

Homeless

Client must demonstrate readiness for each step


At home chez soi study

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

At Home/Chez Soi Study

  • 5-city, random control study

  • $110 million

  • Results expected imminently


Summary

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Summary

  • Senior levels of government in Canada provide various forms of support for housing, including for homeowners.

  • Social assistance (i.e. ‘welfare’) provides assistance to many low-income Canadians, but, for the most part, not enough for appropriate private-rental accommodation.

  • Fewer than half of very low-income Canadians are fortunate enough to live in “social housing” (which involves subsidized rent levels).


Summary cont d

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Summary (cont’d)

  • Indeed, there are lengthy waiting lists for social housing all across Canada.

  • The percentage of Canadian households who live in social housing is considerably lower than the OECD average.

  • Canada’s rate of ‘social renting’ is 5%. In The Netherlands, the rate is 34%. In Sweden, it’s 32%.


Summary cont d1

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Summary (cont’d)

  • People who are homeless (i.e. sleeping in emergency shelters or outside) experience certain health problems at much higher rates than the general population.

  • They also die much more quickly.

  • They are also considerably more likely to be assaulted (both physically and sexually).


Summary cont d2

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Summary (cont’d)

  • Over the past decade, it has become quite trendy for senior levels of government in Canada to claim that they believe in the Housing First principle.

  • In other words, they state that they hold the philosophical view that homeless persons should be given immediate access to affordable housing.

  • Note: This is not the same thing as agreeing to provide sufficient funding for every homeless person to live in affordable housing.


Summary cont d3

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Summary (cont’d)

  • Results of the At Home/Chez Soi study will be released later this year.

  • Some people believe that these results will make it more palatable for senior levels of government to provide more resources so that homeless persons can be provided with more affordable housing.


Thank you

Nick Falvo: United Church Women (Feb. 17, 2014)

Thank You

Nick Falvo

PhD Candidate (Public Policy)

Carleton University

[email protected]


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