Conestoga news

September 29, 2022 9:45 AM

Research project addresses affordable housing

A project led by two Conestoga researchers is helping inform affordable housing solutions in the Region of Waterloo. 

Dr. Anthony Piscitelli and Jennifer Whitaker from the college's School of Interdisciplinary Studies explored alternative solutions to improve housing affordability. The research was in collaboration with community partners as part of the Leveraging Community Contributions to Acquire Local Real Estate for Long-term Affordability and Sustainability project.

An interactive voice response survey was conducted of residents to determine attitudes towards housing developments. The findings show strong support for the development of single detached homes in neighbourhoods throughout the Region of Waterloo, but less support for mid-rise condos or rental units. These findings will inform and support the launch of Union Sustainable Development Co-operative, a for-profit, co-operatively owned affordable rental housing provider aimed at improving the region's environmental, social and economic health.

Strong economic growth has fueled population expansion and sky-rocketing house prices in most major cities around the globe as the demand for homes increases. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. estimate that 3.5 million homes will need to be built by 2030 to reach affordability for all Canadians. The Region of Waterloo has committed to making housing affordable with plans to develop up to 2,500 new homes over the next five years. Union Sustainable Development Co-operative is working to buy residential and commercial properties in the region for permanent affordability through community ownership.

Piscitelli and Whitaker will discuss housing policy and public opinion as panellists at a forum on October 6 through the Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy.

The 2022 Waterloo Region Housing Development Survey was supported in part by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). The project is funded by SSHRC through the College and Community Social Innovation Fund (CCSIF) grant. Conestoga is committed, where possible, to supporting open data initiatives. Survey results are fully available through openICPSR.

Conestoga is ranked among Canada's top 12 research colleges, supporting the needs of industry and community partners and has committed close to $35 million in collaboration with public and private partners to support applied research and innovation over the past five years.