If you’re looking to rent housing in Mississauga, there might be some good news in store for you.  Mississauga was invited to submit an Expression of Interest in the new Provincial Affordable Housing Program.

The City council is currently reviewing the Ontario program to see if it fits with Mississauga’s needs as well as objectives and guidelines already established in its own housing strategy, “Making Room in the Middle.”  This strategy is aimed at increasing the supply of new market rental housing in Mississauga that is affordable to middle income households.

The new Ontario housing program, called The Provincial Development Charges Rebate Program, provides $125 million over five years ($25 million per year) to eligible developments.  These developments must be for “priority purpose-built rental developments in municipalities with low vacancy rates or high tenant populations, where affordable rentals are hard to find.”

Some of the main criteria for rebate eligibility include:

  • Developments and units that will remain rental for a minimum of 20 years
  • Non-luxury rental units where rents do not exceed an Average Market Rents      threshold of 175% indicated by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
  • Developments must align with provincial priorities

Mississauga councillors and city managers are now debating the pros and cons of this provincial housing rebate program.

“I think [the program is] a little premature…there is only $125 million available for the entire Province of Ontario over five years. There is no way we’re going to get 25 per cent of that which is the calculation that was done in the presentation,” said City Manager, Janice Baker.

On the other hand, some Mississauga councillors have expressed a keen interest in the program.  “[We need to] step forward quickly and get our names in here, and I think we’re the best prepared,” said Councillor Carolyn Parrish.

Councillor Nando Iannicca, one of the skeptics about the rebate program, is nevertheless willing to go along with Mayor Bonnie Crombie’s position —the reasoning that the city should “go into it with an open mind and see if some good comes of it.”

Many councillors seem to be in line with this position.  They are interested in the initiative and willing to give it an exploratory go, especially since the first step is only an Expression of Interest submission, and not a formal agreement.