The privatization of social housing
Nick Falvo rabble.ca
Last weekend, I spoke on a panel at the annual conference of the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association. The panel was inspired in large part by the recent debate in Toronto over Mayor Rob Ford's attempt to sell social housing units to private buyers. The panel, entitled "To Privatize or Not to Privatize? That is the question," included myself, Vince Brescia (President and CEO of the Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario), John Dickie (President of the Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations), and Margie Carlson (Director of Policy Research and Networks at the Social Housing Services Corporation).
Here are some of my speaking notes:
- Canada already has one of the most private-sector oriented rental housing markets in the OECD. Consider for example our "rate of social renting," which is the percentage of a jurisdiction's households that are tenants in social housing. The United Kingdom's rate of social renting is 18 per cent. In France, it's 19 per cent; in the Netherlands it's 34 per cent; and in Sweden it's 32 per cent. Canada, by contrast, has a rate of social renting of just 5 per cent, which is considerably less than the OECD average.
- Social housing generally refers to government-subsidized housing for low-income households. And there are two main types of costs involved with social housing: capital costs (i.e. bricks and mortar, along with land) and operating costs (i.e. debt servicing, utilities, maintenance, insurance, municipal taxes, etc. that a low-income tenant's contribution towards rent does not cover).
To read the full article: http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/progressive-economics-forum/2011/11/privatization-social-housing