What does home mean to you? For me, home is my exhale. It’s where I feel safe, loved, comfortable, and at ease. I feel extremely privileged to have a home that I can afford in my neighbourhood of choice. And in our home, we are surrounded by a community that supports my family’s health and well-being. We have supportive friends and neighbours, access to green space, recreation, transit, jobs, health services and more.    

Unfortunately, millions of people in our country have a different story. A recent report produced by housing policy expert Carolyn Whitzman applied a human rights-based approach and counted people in “core housing need.” The results are sobering. The report found that we need to create 4.4 million permanently affordable and accessible homes to restore affordability to Canada’s housing system. Further, over the next decade, an additional 9.6 million homes will be needed, with a third of that supply attainable for very low to moderate-income households. 

This is a gap of epic proportions, and solutions will require ingenuity and collaboration from every corner of our country. Motivated by the depth and urgency of this challenge, I’ve been volunteering my time for the past year alongside a dream team of inspiring social impact leaders, combining our decades of collective expertise to bring one innovative solution from idea to reality. 

Introducing Partners for Affordable Housing

Partners for Affordable Housing is an incorporated non-profit (soon-to-be charity). Our goal is to facilitate nationwide collaboration and coordination among non-profit community housing providers and publicprivate, and philanthropic supporters (P4 partners) to attract investment in and funding for the acceleration of more dignified affordable housing. We connect P4 partners to existing resources and knowledge from key players in the sector and raise awareness for this important cause among the public. 

Our approach to accelerating more affordable housing supply is three-fold: 

1. Collective Investment

When P4 partners come together, investments go further. Partners for Affordable Housing facilitates the stacking of investments combining non-profit affordable housing project opportunities with public, private (corporate) and philanthropic investments across Canada, providing grants to get projects to market faster. Non-profit providers can access “top-up” funding to complete funded projects or equity investment to bolster government, public or private financing eligibility. 

2. Collective voice 

Partners for Affordable Housing provides a national and unified voice for individuals, destigmatizing the need for housing, dispelling myths often associated with those most impacted and raising awareness of the front-line organizations developing solutions. We promote the need for greater investment and help Canadians understand the important role they can play. 

3. Collective knowledge 

Within the sector, there is a wealth of resources, tools, and knowledge. Partners for Affordable Housing provides a valuable directory for P4 partners and capitalizes on tools like CMHC’s Capital Connect (an online project repository) to bring together social purpose investors/funders with non-profit providers and developers looking to secure project capital. 

Alongside my day job running Ramp, I am part of the senior leadership team at Partners for Affordable Housing, leading brand, marketing and communications. You can read more about Partners for Affordable Housing, our team and advisory council here. Our work is gaining momentum! Partners for Affordable Housing has received a letter of support from CMHC and $250,000 of seed funding from the Government of Alberta and we are hoping for more partner announcements soon. 

We are working towards a broader public launch in fall 2024 and looking for aligned board members, corporate partners and philanthropists to join us. I’d be thrilled to connect and share more.