The affordable housing crisis can be solved. Models exist to create both affordable ownership and affordable rental homes in perpetuity. We know because we’ve implemented them and witnessed the positive outcomes.

We have an affordability crisis across the country, and it is crystal clear how we got here: successive governments have not invested nearly enough in the fundamental building block of a healthy society — affordable housing for all Canadians.

Our governments have been prolific in the announcements department but haven’t done nearly as well on implementation.

It wasn’t a surprise last week when Ottawa pulled the plug on the first-time homebuyer incentive program. Underwritten with $1.25 billion in 2019, the program parameters were drawn far too tight to work. Rewriting the parameters to recognize differential costs and household incomes across the country would have been easy. Instead, the feds killed the program with over $800 million unspent.

It was obvious from the outset that a program offering up to 10 per cent down payment assistance wouldn’t work, especially in large urban centres. Unfortunately, constraints hard wired into the program regulations made flexibility impossible.

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