Affordable Housing Units Coming to Mississauga

For well over a year now, Mississauga has been working to address the mounting affordable housing crisis plaguing the city.

Now, it looks some residents could get some relief in the form of a brand new building development planned for the City Centre area.

The Daniels Corporation, the development firm who has built multiple properties in the City Centre and Erin Mills Town Centre areas in the city, is slated to construct an affordable housing project at 360 City Centre Drive.

Acting to enhance affordable housing options in the city—something Mississauga has been championing for sometime—council will a provide a sizeable $2.7 million to the Region of Peel to offset development charges for the project.

The Region approved funding of the much-needed project to the tune of $65 million ($65,966,522, to be exact) on June 22. After approving funding, the Region asked Mississauga to "consider granting relief from City Development Charges (the aforementioned $2.7 million) by waiving or providing a grand to offset such DCs."

As for how the development will work, 40 per cent of the units (70 in total) will be Rent Geared to Income suites. These units will take residents off affordable housing waitlist. The city also says that 60 per cent (or 104 units) will be set aside for renters and owned by the Region. They will be available to middle-class residents.

A second tower on the same podium will boast market-value units, creating a mixed-income property on City Centre grounds.

This news is no doubt relieving to the many low and mid-income residents who can no longer afford housing in the city. Although real estate prices are high in the GTA in general, homes are particularly pricy in Mississauga. In fact, Expatistan, a site that compares living costs across international cities, recently ranked Mississauga the third most expensive city in Canada.

According to Making Room for the Middle: A Housing Strategy for Mississauga--a draft strategy recently unveiled by the city of Mississauga--there’s a pressing and dire need to create affordable housing for middle income earners who are in danger of being priced out of the city.

Some of the draft’s findings are alarming, even though they’re not at all surprising.

Some key facts:

  • A home is considered affordable when its inhabitants spend 30 per cent or less of their earnings on housing costs
  • 1 in 3 households are spending more than 30 per cent of their income on housing and research suggests this number will rise
  • Middle income households typically net between $50,000 and $100,000 a year
  • Middle income earners include nurses, teachers and social workers
  • People who want to purchase homes can typically afford to pay between $270,000 and $400,000, meaning their only options are condos and a limited selection of townhouses
  • Housing prices are adversely affected by supply and demand imbalances (there’s much more demand than there is supply)
  • The average rental unit costs $1,200 a month
  • Rental inventory is 1.6 per cent (which is troublingly low)

The city is focusing on middle income earners because they typically make too much to qualify for government assistance, but still cannot afford to rent or purchase homes in the city. When people are priced out of their communities, the social and economic fabric of the area is compromised. If the middle class is forced to move further away, the city will only be suitable for very high and low-income earners--something leaders are hoping to prevent.

With detached home sales still sitting around the $1 million mark and condos costing buyers over $400,000, there's no arguing that relief isn't necessary for a plethora of households.

We'll keep you updated on developments with the Daniels building as they become available.

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