Submission By Tayside Community Residential and Support Options
February 27, 2006
Tayside Community Residential and Support Options (TCO) was established in 1989 to provide residential care to adults with intellectual disabilities in the town of Perth. It is a non-profit charitable organization governed by a board of directors of 11 community members. Since 1989 TCO has expanded it operations to respond to other pressing community needs. TCO now operates the two TayCare Child Care Centres licensed under the Ontario Day Nurseries Act and a social housing development on Rogers road covered under the Social Housing Reform Act. Group Homes The organization started with Brady House, a residential support home which continues to operate with six disabled adults. TCO then expanded to operate three more group homes in and around the Town of Perth. These homes have been nestled in and among a variety of neighbourhoods in Perth with very little, if any disruption to the neighbourhood’s normal functioning. In short, these homes simply contribute to the normal diversity of our communities. Diversity is a reality of modern living and is present, with varying elements, across the country. In fact this diversity is guaranteed under the Ontario Human Rights Code: FREEDOM FROM DISCRIMINATION
Services 1. Every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to services, goods and facilities, without discrimination because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status or disability. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19, s. 1; 1999, c. 6, s. 28 (1); 2001, c. 32, s. 27 (1); 2005, c. 5, s. 32 (1).
Accommodation 2. (1) Every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to the occupancy of accommodation, without discrimination because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status, disability or the receipt of public assistance. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19, s. 2 (1); 1999, c. 6, s. 28 (2); 2001, c. 32, s. 27 (1); 2005, c. 5, s. 32 (2). 3
It is for this reason many groups from across the Provinces have challenged by- laws that restrict the development of group homes for developmentally disabled individuals in a number of communities. The Town of Perth has such a by law:
Dwelling – Group or Group Housing or Group Housing Project Shall mean a combination of dwelling types (e.g. semi-detached, triplex, row housing, apartments) where there are two or more such dwellings located on the same lot, which lot is retained under one ownership or registered and in compliance with the Condominium Act.
Group Home Shall mean a single housekeeping unit in a residential dwelling, which is registered with the Municipality, in which three (3) to ten (10) persons (excluding supervisory or operating staff) live together under responsible supervision consistent with the requirements of its residents for a group living arrangement and which is licensed and/or approved under Provincial Statutes and in compliance with municipal by-laws. [See also Crisis Care Facility] 4.13 Group Homes
a) Group Homes shall be permitted in all zones that allow residential uses, provided they are licensed by the Province and/or approved under Provincial Statutes and in compliance with municipal By-Laws.
b) b) No group home shall be located closer than 800 m [2,624 ft.] in straight line distance to any another group home. File P-968 lxxxiii October 10, 2000 c) All group homes shall be registered under the provisions of the Municipal Act and this registration shall be completed prior to the establishment of any such facility. At the time the group home is proposed to be established the sponsoring agency, group or persons shall furnish the following information:
• the type and location of the group home proposed;
• the number of residents; • the name of the licensing or approval agency within the province and proof of licensing or approval or financing;
• plans for parking including visitor parking; and
• architectural information pertaining to the facility.
Such sections as the one below included in the current official plan of the Town of Perth have been seen to be unfairly restrictive in their application.
Group Homes: Council recognizes the special and varied needs of individuals that can be met by providing for group homes. Accordingly, group homes shall be permitted in all zoned areas that permit permanent residential development. Town of Perth Official Plan A group home is defined as a single housekeeping unit in a residential dwelling, which is registered with the municipality, in which 3 to 10 residents (excluding supervisory staff) live together under responsible supervision consistent with the requirements of its residents for a group living arrangement and which is licensed or approved under provincial statute and in compliance with municipal by-laws.
In order to prevent an undue concentration of group homes in the municipality, (but not to their exclusion), standards such as minimum distance separation between these facilities and a maximum number of residents per dwelling unit shall be incorporated into the implementing Zoning By-Law. The Zoning By-Law may also identify homes licensed under specific Acts and identify the areas in which they are to be permitted.
Group Homes shall be subject to zoning standards and site plan control to ensure the compatible and harmonious integration of such facilities into a residential neighbourhood. All group homes shall be registered under the provisions of the Municipal Act, and this registration shall be completed prior to the establishment of any such facility.
At the time the group home is proposed to be established the sponsoring agency, group or persons shall furnish the following information:
• the type and location of the group home proposed;
• the number of residents;
• the name of the licensing or approval agency within the province and proof of licensing or approval or financing; • plans for parking including visitor parking; and • architectural information pertaining to the facility. In permitting group homes, Council does not mean to exclude other persons which may live in a group setting where provincial licensing is not a requirement, but who otherwise meet the requirements of the zoning by-law.
According to a recent study commissioned by the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association when social service operators appealed these restrictions to the Ontario Municipal Board they have been successful in over 30 cases to date. These appeals however are very costly and consume large amounts of time.
Proposed Reform: Tayside Community Residential and Support Options recommends that such sections of the official plan be removed and replaced with language that refers to accepted planning principles that could not be interpreted as a violation of section 1 and 2 of the Ontario Human Rights Code and comply with the “Provincial Policy Statement on Affordable Housing 2005” ( attached) Affordable Housing The Town of Perth has seen no social housing development for over ten years.
It is this type of development that provides the most stable form of long term availability of affordable housing in our communities. The Provincial government issued a policy statement in 2005 (full text attached) that instructed municipalities to include provisions for affordable housing in the their planning protocols
Section 1.4 of the PPS, 2005 requires planning authorities to provide for an appropriate range of housing types and densities to meet projected requirements of current and future residents. These policies require the establishment of affordable housing targets and development standards that minimize the cost of housing and facilitate compact form, while maintaining appropriate levels of public health and safety.
The following section of the official plan should be revised to comply with the Provincial Policy Paper. 8.3.9
Affordable Housing Council will provide for affordable housing measures through such measures as: 1. Working with local housing authorities to monitor and assess the need for social assisted housing e.g. periodic surveys, analysis of waiting lists etc. 2. Maintaining a sufficient supply of land designated for residential development. For the purposes of this Plan, affordable housing means accommodation which is affordable to households with incomes in the lowest 60 per cent of incomes within the housing market (County of Lanark).
Proposed Reform The Town of Perth establish a planning sub-committee composed of planning staff and community members to develop recommendations for changes to the Official Plan that would enable the Town of Perth to meet the requirements of the “Provincial Policy Statement 2005”. These recommendations would include affordable housing targets, methods of measuring affordable housing stock, methods to preventing the loss of affordable housing, particularity rental units (i.e. mitigating the effects of gentrification) as well as any other recommendation that the committee would deem appropriate.
Child care The development of high quality licensed child care in all zones does not seem to be encumbered by the provision of the official plan. Tayside Community Residential and Support Options thus sees the current wording of the official plan to be adequate for the purposes of the families with children who require high quality licensed child care in the Town of Perth.
Excerpts from: Provincial Policy Statement: Affordable Housing • Info Sheet •
Provincial Policy Statement, 2005 The new Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) provides policy direction on matters relating to land use planning that are of provincial interest. It is issued under the authority of Section 3 of the Planning Act and applies to all applications, matters or proceedings commenced on or after March 1, 2005. Housing represents an important part of the government’s commitment to build strong, healthy and sustainable communities. The government is committed to ensuring that the housing needs of all Ontarians are met. Section 1.4 of the PPS, 2005 requires planning authorities to provide for an appropriate range of housing types and densities to meet projected requirements of current and future residents. These policies require the establishment of affordable housing targets and development standards that minimize the cost of housing and facilitate compact form, while maintaining appropriate levels of public health and safety.
What is Affordable Housing? The Government of Ontario recognizes the need for more affordable housing in our communities. Our changing demographic requires corresponding shifts in how we meet the demand for more affordable housing as well as for housing that is accessible and barrier-free to people with special needs. The PPS, 2005 defines “affordable” as it relates to housing in Ontario.
Affordable means: a) in the case of ownership housing, the least expensive of: 1. housing for which the purchase price results in annual accommodation costs which do not exceed 30 percent of gross annual household income for low and moderate income households; or 2. housing for which the purchase price is at least 10 percent below the average purchase price of a resale unit in the regional market area; b) in the case of rental housing, the least expensive of: 1. a unit for which the rent does not exceed 30 percent of gross annual household income for low and moderate income households; or 2. a unit for which the rent is at or below the average market rent of a unit in the regional market area. Fall 2005
Benefits of Affordable Housing Affordable housing is one of the major factors in creating attractive, livable and competitive communities. Among other things, the availability of affordable housing makes it easier to attract and retain people to a community. For many communities, the need for affordable housing is a priority issue. Planning authorities are routinely challenged to find solutions for housing needs, especially as the population increases and ages, and as household size decreases. A lack of affordable housing effectively limits economic growth and can lead to inferior housing or homelessness. This can place tremendous pressure on individuals and families, and on health and social services. Moreover, affordable housing and support services for those in need helps create stable living conditions, increased self-esteem and better financial stability. Affordable housing also costs less than accommodation in group homes and other institutions for homeless people, who are often in poor health. Having a place to call home provides an important base and anchor in our lives. A home nurtures and supports individuals and families as they go about their daily lives, allowing them to contribute positively to the economy and society.
Affordable Housing Policies in the PPS, 2005 8 The government recognizes that communities across Ontario are diverse and unique. The PPS, 2005 promotes the integrity of planning by requiring planning authorities to identify affordable housing needs for low and moderate income households within their communities. Ensuring an adequate supply and distribution of affordable housing represents an opportunity for communities to achieve more sustainable growth and improve living conditions. There are several policies in the PPS, 2005 that are directly and indirectly related to the provision of affordable housing.
Affordable Housing Targets The PPS, 2005 requires planning authorities to establish and implement minimum targets, based on local needs, for the provision of housing that is affordable to low and moderate income households. Affordable housing, which includes both ownership and rental housing, promotes development opportunities in built-up areas and supports densities for the efficient use of land and resources. In achieving affordable housing targets, planning authorities should consider not only the need for new housing, but also ways in which the existing stock might be better utilized to meet the needs of the community. In situations where planning is conducted by an upper-tier municipality, the upper-tier municipality, in consultation with the lower-tier municipalities, may identify a higher target(s) than the lower-tier municipalities.
Upper-tier municipalities are uniquely positioned to address broad, regionally-based issues and will continue to work with lower-tier municipalities to best address these issues. Establishing targets helps provide a basis for planning authorities to develop performance measures and to evaluate the production of affordable housing. Building permits for affordable housing can be compared with targets to help determine whether objectives are being met. Results can then be taken into account in the review of site-specific development applications and comprehensive reviews. • Info Sheet •
10 and 3-Year Land / Unit Supply Sustainable and efficient patterns of development help minimize the cost of development by using existing services and infrastructure. The PPS, 2005 requires planning authorities to maintain the ability to accommodate residential growth for a minimum of 10 years. This shall be done through residential intensification and redevelopment and, where necessary, through the use of lands which are designated and available for residential development. Planning authorities are also required to maintain at all times, where new development is to occur, land with servicing capacity sufficient for at least a 3-year supply of residential units. This shall be available through lands suitably zoned to facilitate residential intensification and redevelopment, and land in draft approved and registered plans. This helps to avoid situations where there are insufficient opportunities to address housing needs. The policies manage growth by directing new housing development to areas with appropriate levels of infrastructure and public service facilities, and promote densities that support the use of alternative transportation modes and public transit.
Special Needs Housing The PPS, 2005 requires planning authorities to permit and facilitate all forms of housing to meet the social, health and well-being requirements of current and future residents, including those with special needs. Based on local circumstances, planning authorities must determine the range of needs and establish policies to address them, including affordability. Ensuring adequate distribution and supply of affordable housing helps provide options for special needs housing that reflect local circumstances. Special needs housing includes dedicated facilities, in whole or in part, required for daily living by people who have specific needs, such as mobility or support functions. Examples of special needs housing 9 include housing for persons with disabilities such as physical, sensory or mental health disabilities, and the elderly.
This Info Sheet was developed to assist participants in the land use planning process to understand the PPS, 2005. The information in the Info Sheet should not be relied upon as a substitute for specialized legal or professional advice in connection with any particular matter. It is recommended that independent legal or professional advice be obtained when determining the effect of the PPS, 2005. How Communities can Facilitate Affordable Housing
Planning authorities are responsible for implementing the policies of the PPS, 2005 including policies related to affordable housing, through their decisions and official plans. Under the Planning Act, all decisions affecting land use planning matters “shall be consistent with” the PPS, 2005. While the PPS, 2005 provides minimum standards for decision-making, it also recognizes matters of regional and local significance.
Planning authorities may build upon the policies in the PPS, 2005 to incorporate local issues in their planning documents and decisions, as long as these documents or decisions do not conflict with any provincial policies.
Currently, the government is building stronger communities by creating more affordable housing through a comprehensive Affordable Housing Strategy. Ontario’s strategy is based on a commitment to work with municipalities and the federal government to increase the supply of affordable housing through the Affordable Housing Program, with a focus on the working poor, persons with mental illness and victims of domestic violence.
Companion Tools to Help Implement Affordable Housing There are a number of tools that may be used by municipalities and groups interested in building affordable housing: • The Affordable Housing Program is a federal-provincial cost-shared initiative, which will commit funds for affordable housing until March 31, 2009. The program has three components:
o Community Rental – funding to reduce the capital costs for newly constructed, or acquired and rehabilitated rental buildings, making it economically feasible for landlords to charge affordable rents
o Homeownership – funding to ease the demand for rental housing by assisting rental households to purchase affordable homes
o Remote Program – funding to create, acquire or rehabilitate, through renovation, affordable rental or ownership housing in remote areas (Northern Ontario). • The Housing Allowance Program is a five (5) year program that will provide immediate relief for up to 5,000 low-income households across the province. Funding commitments must be made on or before March 31, 2008. • Municipalities may be able to provide property tax exemptions and other incentives such as loans, grants and development charge waivers to encourage affordable housing construction (under the Municipal Act, 2001 regulation (O. Reg. 46/94 as amended by O. Reg. 189/01)). • Municipalities can reduce the property tax rate on multi-residential rental housing (apartments) to near or equal to the tax rate for owner-occupied condominiums or singlefamily homes, making it more economical to develop affordable housing (under the Fair Municipal Finance Act, 1997).
• Changes to the Ontario Building Code encourage new, single-room occupancy rental units. Additional changes, effective July 1, 2005, encourage the use of more innovative or cost-effective building design and materials.