Promises 500 homes by 2017
St. John’s has set an affordable housing target: 500 homes by 2017.
City council adopted a new affordable housing plan at its regular Monday meeting, one that aims to build affordable houses in four different categories, to be achieved through public and private partnerships.
• Rental housing: With a target of 200 homes, the plan calls for housing that’s affordable to households earning less than 65 per cent of the city’s median income (about $76,500 in 2013).
• Home ownership: A hundred homes that people earning the median income or less can afford while spending no more than 30 per cent of pre-tax income on mortgage, property tax and utilities.
• Energy efficiency: A hundred homes with energy-efficency measures to bring costs down into the affordability range of 30 per cent.
• Age-friendly homes: A hundred rental homes at below-average rent to make them attainable to seniors who have a median income of just $26,500.
Victoria Belbin, chairwoman of the mayor’s advisory committee on affordable housing and CEO of the Newfoundland and Labrador branch of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association, said the plan shows the city knows it can’t tackle housing affordability on its own, and that one “cookie-cutter” housing solution won’t solve the problem.
“If we only do one cookie-cutter, it’s not going to be for everybody — what’s good for a senior might not be good for a new homebuyer,” she said.
“Identifying the different targets helps allow us to plan better and have a little more defined conversation about what the needs are in the community.”