Top 5 Community Housing Myths (and Why They’re Bogus)
National Housing Day is November 22: a day to reflect on challenges many Canadians face finding a place to call home. While most agree everyone deserves a place to live, some still cling to illusions about affordable housing: what it does to the community, who pays for buildings, and tenants’ impact on their neighbours.
Our team compiled the top five myths about community housing – and why they’re false. Despite some misconceptions, community housing provides significant value to communities where they operate. It helps build stronger families, provides stable platforms to find jobs, and grows the local economy. Read on to see the top five community housing myths busted.
Myth 1: My property value will decrease
Reality: Many studies show affordable housing has no impact on property values. In fact, one report from the Wellesley Institute found property values increased from affordable housing’s presence in the community.
Myth 2: Affordable housing won’t fit the neighbourhood’s character
Reality: Affordable housing must comply with market-rate housing’s design characteristics and building restrictions. New affordable housing properties will always fit in with the neighbourhood’s character – it’s the law.
Myth 3: Crime will increase
Reality: A study of 146 community housing sites found “no statistically significant evidence” to suggest community housing led to increased crime rates. The study found most occupants already lived in the neighbourhood – helping contribute to its character and growth.
Myth 4: Tenants don’t contribute to the economy
Reality: Tenants are almost always low- or medium-income people who struggle to pay rent in Ontario’s expensive housing market. Many Ontarians pay well over the 30% affordability threshold for housing, often giving up meals or essential services to pay rent. Tenants’ full income is often deployed to help local businesses, but they have less disposable income to support economy further from income disparity.
Myth 5: I’ll pay more in taxes because tenants put a strain on services and infrastructure
Reality: Higher-density housing requires less extensive infrastructure than new developments – features like piped water, sewer services, schools and roads already exist. New tenants provide larger tax bases needed to increase service quality from greater fee collection.
The Proven Benefits of Community Housing
Community housing is an integral part of municipal and provincial service delivery. Tenants in affordable housing contribute to the economy and build cohesion in communities.
On National Housing Day, think about ways community housing has a positive impact on you and your neighbours. As housing providers, we have a critical role to play to ensure everyone has a safe place to call home.
To learn more about the benefits affordable housing brings to neighbourhoods, visit us online. What myths do you hear? Are there ones we missed? Let us know in the comments below.