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Posted in Affordable Housing, Development, Housing

London Mayor Josh Morgan called on the federal government to look for new ways to subsidize and support the construction of new housing to keep pace with surging demand that has pushed rents and home prices beyond the reach of many Canadians.

Speaking at a House of Commons finance committee on Monday, Morgan said the federal government should look into freeing up some of its land holdings and use them to offer attractive lease rates for developers to build affordable housing.

“A real difference could be made if the not-for-profit housing sector could gain preferential access to some of these lands,” said Morgan

Morgan made the comments during a five-minute appearance at a committee session held to discuss housing affordability.

Morgan said while London city council has committed to building 47,000 new housing units in the next 10 years, they need ongoing support from senior governments to hit those targets.

Morgan said the federal government’s decision last month to remove the GST on construction of rental housing is “a valuable first step” in getting more affordable units on the market. However, he implored Ottawa to do more.

One idea he floated: Having Ottawa offer discounted interest rates on affordable housing projects through the Canada Infrastructure Bank. He also suggested tax deductions for private investors on select rental projects that benefit vulnerable populations.

Morgan also called for new incentives for first-time home buyers, which he said would encourage many to enter the housing market and vacate existing rental units. Morgan also called for more incentives to boost the number of people entering the building trades.

“Federal programs which contribute to an increase in the pool of skilled labour that builds homes are enormously valuable,” he said.

Morgan’s comments come at a time when London is front-and-centre in the push to address a national housing crisis.

Last month, London became the first city in Canada to tap into a $74 million housing accelerator fund. London moved to the front of the line for that money in part by moving to raise the number of dwelling units allowed on a single residential to four from three.

Morgan said the housing fund will boost the number of homes the city can build next year by 20 per cent.


Story by: CBC News