Bringing Affordability to the Suburbs

It’s no secret that the cost of housing in the West Island and elsewhere is skyrocketing, affecting groups such as seniors looking to downsize, first-time homebuyers, and families. If we want to maintain and retain our population, action must be taken at the municipal level to ensure a balanced housing system with something to offer everyone.
Bringing Affordability to the Suburbs aims to empower elected officials to make informed decisions regarding housing policy and mobilize community members to advocate for affordable housing! The workshops are open to all who are interested.
Why attend?
  • Discover creative solutions to local housing needs
  • Network with diverse housing actors and potential collaborators
  • Represent and advocate for your district
Our workshops:

Legalize Housing Diversity: Introduction to Context-Sensitive Infill Housing

Densification is a necessary ingredient for meeting social, economic, and environmental goals – but adding new housing doesn’t have to look like soaring towers or greenfield development.
This workshop explored context-sensitive infill housing, which refers to low-rise development on small-scale sites requiring little to no demolition of existing residential units. Participants will learn about the benefits of this type of development and how municipalities can support it through policy action. 

The ABCs of ADUs: Introduction to Accessory Dwelling Units

Granny flats, garden suites, basement apartments, in-law units … accessory dwelling units (ADUs) go by many names and come in many forms.
Defined as “a second home on a lot already occupied by a main residence”, ADUs are a nimble way to add housing to established low-density neighbourhoods. Across North America, homeowners have constructed ADUs as a way to house elderly family members, adult children with disabilities, or to earn extra rental income. In the West Island, most municipal zoning codes prohibit the development of detached and unattached ADUs. 
This workshop presents the fundamentals of ADUs and explores how they could help West Island municipalities expand their housing options.
Arpent will deliver a French-language presentation on the principles, benefits, and challenges of enabling ADUs (this presentation will be in French). Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) will present current federal initiatives to enable ADUs across Canada. 

Build Your Own Affordable Housing Toolkit: Tools, Policies, and Strategies for a Suburban Context

From Accessory Dwelling Units to Zoning reform, this crash course to affordable housing policy will examine a roster of tools and strategies hand-picked for the West Island context.
After a dynamic overview of suburban-appropriate housing affordable tools and strategies, participants will gather into breakout rooms sorted by municipalities to assemble their own affordable housing toolkit. It’s a moment to have a frank conversation about housing issues and to think proactively about what can be done. 
All skill and knowledge levels are welcomed and encouraged!

The Renewable City: Best Practices for Revitalizing Underutilized Land & Buildings

When it comes to developing housing in the West Island, land is a scarce resource. At the same time, the territory is full of schools, plazas, malls, churches, and parking lots that have fallen out of use. How can we transform existing lots and buildings into developments that benefit the community and add to our housing stock?
This workshop explores greyfield redevelopment and adaptive reuse in the West Island. A greyfield refers to a lot that is underutilized due to economic circumstances (e.g. an old shopping mall). Adaptive reuse refers to the process of converting an existing building to fulfil another use (e.g. a school becoming apartments). Participants will learn about the benefits, challenges, and funding opportunities for these two processes. 
Groupe CDH will deliver a presentation covering just a few of their relevant projects, specifically addressing the roles municipalities can play to support greyfield redevelopment and adaptive reuse.

Bringing Affordability to the Suburbs received funding from the National Housing Strategy under the NHS Research Planning Fund; however, the views expressed are the personal views of the author(s) and CMHC accepts no responsibility for them.