As governments in many parts of the world cut back on financial support for affordable housing, there is growing interest in the possible role for private finance in funding social housing. “Financing the Irish Social Rented Housing Sector: Lessons from England and Canada” is a new report from Cluid Housing Association in Ireland that sets out a detailed review of the potential and the challenges in Canada and England. It offers a practical framework, including recommendations for action and the roles of various partners, including government, the housing sector and financial markets. The Wellesley Institute was one of the key informants for the Canadian portion of the new research.
The Wellesley Institute’s Precarious Housing in Canada notes the steady erosion of affordable housing investments over the past two decades. The latest federal budget includes another $131 million in national housing cuts. The dismantling of Canada’s national housing program in the 1990s has made it increasingly difficult for affordable housing developers to access the development and operating capital that they need to build and manage affordable homes. Alternative financing, including social impact bonds and Infrastructure Ontario’s affordable housing loan fund, is emerging as an important source of reliable, sustainable financing.
The new Irish housing report provides a solid overview and pragmatic policy recommendations to finance new affordable homes. Affordable housing is one of the most important determinants of personal and population health.