“The housing situation has been getting further and further out of control in this region. We want our sons and daughters to be able to move out of the basement, and not be forced to move out of the city” – Ontario NDP MPP Jennie Stevens, St. Catharines Riding
News from Ontario’s NDP Official Opposition Party
Posted August 6th, 2021 on Niagara At Large
ST. CATHARINES/Niagara — Finding an affordable place to live in St. Catharines and throughout the Niagara region has gotten much harder — but Leader of the Official Opposition New Democrats Andrea Horwath says her housing platform will help young workers and families afford the life they’re working for.
“Parents are worried their kids won’t be able to afford to stay in St. Catharines, buy a home and settle in, like they did,” said Horwath. “There are young people putting off growing their family because they can’t afford a bigger place. There are born-and-raised Niagara-region workers leaving because they can’t find a home in their price-range. It’s heartbreaking.
“The NDP has a plan that offers concrete solutions. It’ll help you afford the life you’re working hard for.”
In St. Catharines, the median sale price (https://creastats.crea.ca/mls/stca-sales-by-category) jumped more than 28 per cent between June 2020 and June 2021. In Welland, that jump was 35 per cent, and in Niagara Falls the median price jumped more than a whopping 38 per cent in just one year.
Horwath and the NDP’s comprehensive platform for housing includes down payment help for first-time homeowners. The Homes in Ontario Program would give home buyers an equity loan of up to 10 per cent of the purchase price of their first home to help cover the cost of the down payment. That doesn’t need to be repaid until the owner chooses to, sells or moves.
The plan also increases the Non Resident Speculation Tax to 20 per cent and applies it province-wide; regulates short-term rentals; and closes loopholes that let wealthy speculators off the hook. Altogether, that will leave more of the homes in Niagara for people who live in Niagara.
Horwath’s Homes You Can Afford (https://mcusercontent.com/353019c4e982ae7eb8ea53150/files/a5e91717-c4c3-4139-9958-93672890fef6/Homes_You_Can_Afford_EN.07.pdf) platform also builds 69,000 new affordable homes, better protects tenants from poor living conditions, and helps 311,000 households pay their rent. Supporting tenants rights is critical, said Horwath, who recalled stories of St. Catharines renters receiving eviction notices (https://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/news/niagara-region/2020/01/30/eviction-notice-issued-over-three-cents-st-catharines-tenants-feel-harassed-by-new-landlord.html) for supposedly being just a few pennies short on their rent.
“The housing situation has been getting further and further out of control in this region. We want our sons and daughters to be able to move out of the basement, and not be forced to move out of the city,” said NDP MPP Jennie Stevens (St. Catharines).
“Doug Ford is planning to let Core gobble up homes here — and that’s going to drive up housing prices even more. And Steven Del Duca isn’t the answer. After 15 years in power, his government left speculators and investors rolling in money, and young families without much hope. People deserve better – and with our plan, there’s so much more hope.”
* An Ontario NDP government will create a new Residents’ Rights Act to make it easier for homeowners to convert an unused garage, basement or floor of their home into an affordable rental home.
* Under the NDP’s Homes in Ontario Program (HOP), first-time home buyers with household incomes under $200,000 would be able to access home equity loans of up to 10 per cent to help with their down payment. Home owners would then have the flexibility to buy back the government’s share or repay the loan only if and when they move and sell their home.
* The NDP will create a revenue-neutral fund to finance repayable loans as a part of the HOP. That fund will be self-sustaining. Gains in the fund over time will be used to maintain the fund.
* The NDP will regulate short-term rentals. Short-term rentals will obtain a license from the province, or from a municipality that sets its own regulations. In areas experiencing low vacancy rates for long-term rentals, hosts will be limited to renting their primary residence only.
* The NDP will increase the NRST from 15 to 20 per cent, and expand the tax to apply everywhere in Ontario. Horwath’s platform also closes those loopholes that let some greedy, wealthy speculators off the hook.
* Implementing the entire Homes You Can Afford plan will take a capital investment of $90 million to extend the life of 260,000 affordable homes and an average annual investment of $340 million for 10 years to build 69,000 new affordable homes.
* The total additional annual projected revenue is $300 million, all from speculation, non-resident vacancy, taxes on pre-construction condo flipping and licensing short-term rentals — not a dime will come from everyday families who rent or buy in Ontario.
* An NDP government would fund an operating investment of $300 million. That includes $240 million to fund rent subsidies for 311,000 households, $10 million for a co-op seed fund and $50 million to deliver 30,000 supporting housing spaces.
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