What is home?

Photo by Ahmed Abbas

In March 2023, the Hamilton Transit Oriented Affordable Housing (TOAH) Lab was launched, aimed at addressing a critical shortage of non-market housing.

Specifically, the Hamilton TOAH lab is focused on identifying and co-developing financing solutions to preserve existing and create new affordable housing near transit corridors in the City of Hamilton, and to inform the development of similar projects in other municipalities across Canada. In today’s challenging fiscal climate the Lab will work with up to three projects to identify innovative and sustainable funding pathways to bring about the projects’ realization.

On May 16, the Lab participants met for the first time to examine what ideas could be prototyped in the city. The energy in the room was positive and committed. As a facilitation team, we wanted to begin this challenging work by first asking all participants to consider the question, what is home? What does it mean to work on creating pathways to home? Rather than focus on the housing crisis, it was important to think through what we hope to be building towards: a sense of security, of love, family and belonging.At the end of the day, many remarked on the unique opportunity this Lab presented by inviting in a diverse stakeholder group, who don’t usually work together. And we finished our deep ideation session having identified four solution areas that we continue to refine during the summer:

1. Acquisition of non-market housing
2. Inclusive (or equitable) transit oriented communities
3. Flexible, Efficient, Affordable Capital
4. Outcomes Financing

Joining us on this lab journey are our partners: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the City of Hamilton, Hamilton Community Foundation, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and Canadian Housing Evidence Collaborative (CHEC). LURA Consulting is also providing Lab design and engagement support. Additional partners and advisory members currently include Hamilton is Home, Infrastructure Canada, Infrastructure Ontario, Hamilton Community Benefits Network and a growing list of other engaged participants.

The Hamilton TOAH Lab builds on the work of the CMHC’s 2018 Transit Oriented Affordable Housing Lab and our Financialization of Housing Lab. We look forward to sharing progress with you as the prototyping gets underway in the Fall.

This project received funding under the National Housing Strategy Solution Lab Program. For more information visit www.cmhc.ca/SolutionsLab

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