Keeping Our Eyes Fixed On Housing

Posted in In The News

Philip Mills, Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region CEO

Keeping Our Eyes Fixed On Housing

We are in a housing crisis.

 I’d forgive you if you didn’t realize. In fact, if you keep up with housing news you would likely walk away wondering why you hadn’t heard more about the real crisis in our community - cars. From where they park to how they travel, cars seemed to be the top concern for many.

It doesn’t matter where you look, across the region it’s the same concerns - cars.

 I’m not saying we shouldn’t ask about parking or traffic, but I do worry that as we ask those questions we miss the real crisis - housing.

 We are in a housing crisis.  

 I wish we’d ask how we can build more homes in our community, not more parking spots. I wish we’d prioritize a roof over people’s heads rather than asphalt under their tires.

 I wish the community would rally behind affordable housing. I wish the community would rally behind attainable housing. I

wish the community would loudly support building more homes in our community.

All too often we hear folks say, “we need affordable housing but…” and in that moment we are losing sight of the crisis. In that moment we turn from facing this crisis to focus on something else. We take our eyes from the families struggling to find adequate housing, from the adult children living at home, from new graduates to seniors trying to retire. We avert our eyes from what we are facing.

 We are in a housing crisis.

 As a community we need to understand we need more houses. In some ways it is as simple as that. We need more houses, and we need them as quickly as possible.

 To do that we will need to see this issue for what it is, a crisis. We will also need to see our conversations and considerations shift in response to this crisis. To solve this crisis for current residents, future residents, your children, and mine, we cannot continue to build how we have in the past. We cannot continue to approach housing as we have in the past. We cannot expect the future of our housing to look like or mirror what was.

 That means more density. That means taller buildings. That means less single-family dwellings. That means less parking. That means more transit solutions. That means neighbourhoods will change because the reality is our community has changed.

 We cannot prioritize parking over people. We cannot prioritize cars over houses. We cannot continue to say we need affordable housing in one sentence only to follow it with reasons why not this housing. We cannot prioritize everything else over housing.

 We can solve this crisis as a community. To do so we need to keep our eye on the problem and the people that live this crisis everyday.


Philip Mills

CEO, Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region

Philip Mills, CEO

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