Affordable Housing Initiatives and Ideas

In Canada, there are housing initiatives and programs that aim to deal with affordability problems and to improve access to suitable housing.

The Canadian government provides financial assistance and works in cooperation with the territorial and provincial authorities to ensure that residents have access to affordable housing. The territorial and provincial governments also run their own housing programs. A number of provinces and territories have housing programs in place, including Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, British Columbia, Nova Scotia.

British Columbia administers multiple programs to improve affordability and supply, including the Federal – Provincial Housing Initiative, Homelessness Prevention Program -, Rental Assistance Program. Under the Homelessness Prevention Program, groups at risk are offered rent supplements, including persons in hospital settings and correctional institutions, Aboriginal people, victims of family violence, and young people.

Nova Scotia also administers programs that aim to promote independent living, renovate existing housing, increase supply, and improve affordability. Some of the programs include the Home Ownership Preservation Program, New Rental Housing Program, Senior Citizen Assistance Program. Under the New Rental Housing Program, funding is allocated to build affordable housing in areas in which rental units are in short supply - Funding is offered to developers based on factors such as relevancy to area, project design, demonstrated need.

The government of Newfoundland and Labrador administers several programs, among which the Home Modification Program and the Provincial Home Repair Program. Only residents with low incomes are eligible to apply for funding - Under the Provincial Home Repair Program, homeowners are offered funding in the form of forgivable loans to ensure that their homes adhere to minimum safety and fire standards. The money can be used for plumbing, electrical, and heating services as well.

Quebec also runs a number of programs that aim to improve availability and supply and to improve access to low-rental housing. The Emergency Repair Program - is administered by the government to provide funding to homeowners with low incomes who live in rural areas. The goal is to help them deal with urgent problems that pose health hazard. Other programs include the Shelter Enhancement Program, Renovation Quebec, and Shelter Allowance Program.

A number of programs are in place to improve affordability and allow homeowners to make modifications and improvements. Among them are the Home Renovation Program, Family Housing Rent Supplement Program. The Home Renovation Program targets homeowners who need financing or apply for credit to pay for structural renovations and improvements. Only families with a combined income of $35,000 or less are eligible to apply provided that the home is their principal residence. The money can be used to make electrical, plumbing, heating, and structural repairs and renovations.

One option to increase supply is to apply inclusionary zoning so that developers offer a certain percentage of the units to individuals and families with modest and low incomes. Another option is to replicate the Grow Home, Montreal program under which affordable homes were offered to families with low incomes. Homeowners were given the option to buy a house that was partially built and to add a storey when they could afford it.

Small, Low-Cost, Eco-Friendly Houses in Canada

Tiny houses offer plenty of advantages to homeowners – they are inexpensive, eco-friendly, energy efficient, and easy to tidy and clean.

There are different types of tiny houses on the market that are designed and built to match any budget and lifestyle. Examples of different types include RVs, cob houses, bus conversions, shipping containers, and trailer homes. Other types are A-frame cabins, yurts, and houseboats. Shipping containers, for example, offer many advantages, and one is that they are made from fireproof and hurricane proof materials. The hob house is made from a mix of straw, sand, and clay, which makes it an environmentally friendly option. The house is fitted with a thatched roof and stone foundation and has a unique design. Other types of tiny homes include earthships, tree houses, prefab and modular houses, and cabins. Manufacturers also feature pods and capsules, vardos, converted trucks, beach huts, and cubes. There is plenty of choice, depending on location, weather, budget, choice of materials, style and design, and size. Cubes, for example, are smaller than other varieties and are quite compact. Converted trucks, on the other hand, are more spacious and a good choice for large families. Converted horse boxes and vans are also offered.

Manufacturers in Canada offer tiny houses that are designed to withstand winter temperature extremes. Minimaliste, for example, features houses on wheels which come with a vertical exterior finish. The home is fitted with all amenities, including kitchen amenities such as a freezer and fridge, convection oven, ceramic glass cooktop, and custom made cabinetry. The bedroom and dining room are cozy and functional, and the bathroom is fitted with a hot water tank, hydronic heating floor, and vanity. There is a toilet and a dryer and a washer area. Tiny Homes also features custom built products that are designed to meet the requirements of individual homeowners. The company uses eco-friendly, repurposed, and sustainable materials only. Houses are built from purchased, donated, abandoned, unwanted, new, upcycled, recycled, and other types of materials. This helps reduce homeowners’ environmental footprint. The Mint Tiny House Company also features cozy homes that are fitted with French doors and exterior lights. The kitchen is fully fitted and equipped and comes with exposed cedar roof beams, sash windows, counter power outlets, and built-in wall shelving. The kitchen is also fitted with a fridge, cutlery divider drawers, stainless steel sink, and space for electric or propane tops. The bathroom is also fully fitted and comes with wall paneling, decomposing or traditional water toilet, opening sash window, ventilation fan, and shower unit. The floor plan also includes a loft sleeping area, closet, and living area. The closet is wired and plumbed to fit a drier and a washer. The living area has a French door, tracked lighting, fan heater, wall-hung table, and wall paneling. The loft sleeping area is fitted with all amenities, including a smoke detector, removable ladder, slide open windows, roof lighting, and a sleeping area.