Canada’s Capital City: Advancing An Affordable Housing Agenda With A New Mayor

exterior shot of approach and front entrance to Ottawa's city hall

Ottawa City Hall, where newly elected Mayor Mark Sutcliffe is pondering the City’s priorities.

The City of Ottawa has a new mayor, who naturally wants to make an impression on his city. To that end, he’s put together a task force to review the City’s spending and decide priorities for this term of office.

The Alliance to End Homelessness Ottawa (the Alliance) is pitching the importance of homelessness and affordable housing as a priority issue for the City. The Alliance is encouraging the City to use publicly owned land as sites for new housing that would be owned and operated by non-profit housing providers. It’s worth looking at some of the strategies the Alliance is using to make this pitch.

First, the Alliance has partnered with Carolyn Whitzman to prepare a report for the Mayor and City staff to mull over. Whitzman has solid credentials as an expert. She is currently based at the University of Ottawa and has decades of experience in non-profit housing, planning and academia.

Whitzman successfully persuaded a state government in Australia to use publicly owned land for affordable housing. This should encourage the City government to think seriously about using public lands for non-profit housing.

Additionally, the Alliance has chosen to build its report on one that was written by staff from the City of Ottawa in 2019. The report by City staff identified public land holdings that were suited to housing development.

The Alliance is an external organization, but by starting with the City’s past work, it is paying tribute to the valuable role the City has played and could continue to play. By doing this, the Alliance is also presenting itself as an ally willing to work with the City going forward.

The linked article reports on the City’s initial reaction to the Alliance’s report. Read more in the Ottawa Citizen: Push to use public land for public housing comes to Ottawa city hall, where ears are open to ideas to tackle housing crisis

The Alliance’s report is published on the web site of the Alliance to End Homelessness Ottawa: Our City Starts With Home: Scaling Up Non-Profit Housing in Ottawa

2023-05-12 00:10:01
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