Part 1: Panel Discussion – Cooperative Housing Through Partnerships
Members of Cooperative Housing International will provide examples of best practices in cooperative housing that demonstrate innovation and successful ways of leveraging partnerships. Whether completed or underway, these case studies will show the potential of adaptation to meet the needs and opportunities in other regions and jurisdictions. A second session on housing cooperatives in France will follow at 11:15.
The Abuja International Housing Show (AIHS) has been recognised and endorsed by relevant industry stakeholders as the biggest platform for tackling housing deficit in Nigeria. The show has through its programs and quality attendance been able to generate some of the best ideas for scaling housing demand and supply in Nigeria.
Housing policies are often introduced by government whose tenures are largely limited, but the Abuja Housing Show is the only regular and permanent housing platform in Nigeria and Africa where old and new ideas on housing and construction are developed, adapted and presented to relevant authorities for implementation.
Through its advocacy and reportage, the show and its organisers have been able to keep housing stakeholders on their toes. The show’s organisers own the first and most vibrant Housing Development Programs on TV and Radio in the country. Through these platforms, they are also able to continuously advance housing issues, track the implementation of policies and demand accountability and efficiency from product suppliers, whether in the public or private sector.
As a result of the high cost and limited production of affordable housing in Nigeria, an important number of its population lives in rented property which condition varies from shacks to formal housing with highly speculated rent. Neither the government nor the private sector provides sufficient housing units especially for the masses that need and demand it. Formal housing production is at approximately 100 000 units per year and this is highly inadequate because at least 1 000 000 units are needed yearly to bridge the 17 to 20 million housing deficit by government’s target date of 2033.
It is in recognition of these seemingly daunting challenges that the Abuja International Housing Show is convened. It is a significant platform for real estate companies, mortgage finance managers, housing experts from all over the world and government officials to come together in a marriage of ideas to suggest tested and trusted modalities of solving these age-long challenges.
According to the convener, Bar Festus Adebayo, the show features a CEOs Forum, Panel Discussions, Breakout sessions, and individual keynote speakers with the purpose of identifying and analysing the methods of housing finance adopted by the country’s institutions, low income and informal groups in order to recognise the loopholes and suggest better plans.
AIHS: A Story of Success
Over the years, the show has been able to provide opportunities for home seekers to access affordable mortgage plans and even Rent-to-Own Schemes. Every year, over 5000 home seekers benefit from the cheap housing plans that are retailed by estate developers and even government housing projects at the show. These offers are usually limited to the show and home seekers know that there is no other way they could have gotten access to such flexible and relaxed payment plans.
Influencing Policies and Projects
At the end of every show, after thorough deliberations by Real Estate Managers, Industry CEOs, Mortgage Finance Executives and Government Officials, there is a communique drawn up, encapsulating the challenges and the solutions or action plans.
These communiques are usually adopted by the government – federal and state – and private organisations in the planning and execution of housing policies/projects which have so far aided them in the efficient provision of more houses.
Even after the shows, stakeholders continue to make reference to the communique in order to achieve maximum results.
Largest Gathering of Stakeholders
The show plays host to over 200 Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) from varied firms and institutions in the housing, construction and business industries across Africa and the world. It is the biggest convergence of such important figures sharing ideas, experience and expertise on how to lead a more effective and financially inclusive industry.
These top stakeholders in the real estate, mortgage housing finance, construction companies and professional institutions focus on macro-economic and socio-political environment and impact of real estate market.
According to the show’s convener, Bar. Festus Adebayo: “The forum which is a gathering of high profile professionals who are founders and business owners enables the opportunity to present and discuss challenges facing their respective organisations and the way forward. It is a collaborative and supportive environment for leaders in Nigerian real estate industry support services and mortgage banks. Participating in the forum also increase high level business contact.’’
The show always present the best opportunity for professional networking and business exchanges.
Awarding Excellence and Performance
The show has also developed a sustained value of awarding excellence and performance in the industry. The Show has been able to identify high-flyers, both in public and private sectors, delivering good results and living up to expectations, in spite of the obvious challenges in the industry.
The awards are usually meant to serve as a motivation for more performance. Most previous awardees went on to become elevated in their capacities because of how noteworthy their performances were – a validation for the show’s awards.
As mentioned earlier, the Show and its organisers own the first and biggest housing development TV, Radio and Web programs in Nigeria. These specialised programs boast of very large viewership, being the number one stop for the latest developments in the housing and construction industry.
This cements their place as a major stakeholder in the industry. There is a recognisable level of commitment, passion and excellence in the administration of housing information and opportunity.
Most industry leaders, whether in the public or private sector are always keen on speaking with these Housing Development Programs because of the confidence they have in them and the realisation that their comments and opinion will travel far across.
Speaking in broad terms, the Abuja International Housing Show is the most established platform whose commitment to driving up housing supply and affordability in Nigeria is unmatched. The impact that has been made by the show on the housing and construction industry can never be over emphasised. And this is why it has continued to convene the show every year, with participants from different parts of the world seeking ideas and opportunities for the kind of change they always trust AIHS to bring.
North Dakota lawmakers are reinstating a program that subsidizes affordable housing projects, but the state funding is much lower than supporters had hoped.
The Bismarck Tribune reports that legislators approved $7.5 million for the Housing Incentive Fund, which has helped finance 2,500 rental units since 2011. The North Dakota Housing Finance Agency’s program wasn’t funded in 2017 due to limited state resources.
Gov. Doug Burgum had proposed allocating $20 million to bring back the housing incentive for 2019-2021. Lawmakers considered funding proposals of up to $40 million for the program.
The housing agency’s executive director, Jolene Kline, says she’s disappointed by the funding amount but pleased that the program has been restored.
Kline says the agency can likely support 150 rental units. She says they’ll solicit proposals in September.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s new housing policy offers us a lot of things, but what it fails to mention might hurt vulnerable Canadians the most.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Toronto Mayor John Tory recently announced a $1.3 billion federal investment in the Toronto Community Housing Corporation, the city’s largest affordable housing provider. According to the federal government, the $1.3 billion will go toward renovating some 58,000 housing units across 1,500 buildings. It is the largest federal transfer of housing funds to a municipality in the country’s history.
The investment follows on the heels of Trudeau’s announcement of the federal government’s first-ever National Housing Strategy in 2017. Trudeau pledged to spend $40 billion to address the problems of inadequate housing and chronic homelessness in Canada over a 10-year period.
For his part, Ontario Premier Doug Ford recently pledged $1 billion to repair Ontario’s affordable housing stock and streamline the application process as part of the provincial government’s Community Housing Renewal Strategy. Exactly how much Toronto Community Housing will receive is unclear.
Ontario’s recent budget is silent on the issue as well. It doesn’t mention Toronto Community Housing once. Instead, the budget seems focused on boosting the overall housing supply while cutting access to social programs like affordable housing, income support and homelessness prevention by $550 million.
n per year. Funding for the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Housing and Affairs has been cut by 25 per cent overall.
When Trudeau first announced the National Housing Strategy, he famously declared that “housing rights are human rights.” The federal government’s investment in Toronto Community Housing is an important step toward fulfilling this promise. Now it’s the province’s turn to step up as well.
More than just a landlord
Affordable housing providers in Canada are facing an identity crisis.
Some critics have argued that Toronto Community Housing should behave like any other landlord. They argue its main job should be to collect rents, enforce leases and promptly evict tenants who fail to comply with the rules, regardless of their personal circumstances.
Toronto Community Housing has faced accusations of wasteful spending in the past. Residents and taxpayers should demand a crackdown, the critics say. A Toronto Sun columnist suggested that it should behave like a private landlord: “Clearly, private landlords are in business to make money. (Toronto Community Housing) officials really couldn’t care less.”
Ford would seem to agree. One of the hallmarks of Ontario’s new housing policy is a change to the application rules. Toronto Community Housing would be empowered to turn away prospective tenants who were previously evicted for criminal activity. Apparently Tory has campaigned for the rule change as well.
Toronto Community Housing is home to 110,000 people, including 30,000 youth and children and 20,000 seniors. The vast majority of residents live below the poverty line. Nearly 60 per cent of them are women, and one third of them self-identify as either having a disability or living with mental health challenges. For many people, eviction from Toronto Community Housing would mean they have nowhere else to live. Homelessness, poverty rates, and mental health are closely interrelated in Canada.
Properly understood in this light, Toronto Community Housing is more than just a private landlord. And the federal government’s investment is more than just a commitment to repairing bricks and mortar. Affordable housing is one of the planks of a more fair and just society. Ontario’s new housing policy fails to recognize this.
Affordable housing matters
Since the federal and provincial governments downloaded responsibility for affordable housing to municipalities in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Toronto Community Housing has lacked stable, long-term sources of funding and support from every level of government.
As a result, Toronto Community Housing faces a capital repairs shortfall of $2.6 billion over the next 10 years since it inherited a large stock of buildings without the resources to maintain them. The city’s affordable housing stock is literally crumbling.
The waiting list for a rent-subsidized unit in Toronto Community Housing is currently tens of thousands of families long. Most applicants can expect to wait seven years or more for a bachelor unit and longer than 10 years for a larger unit. The waiting list includes people experiencing homelessness, survivors of intimate partner violence and human trafficking and terminally ill people with fewer than two years to live.
A combination of factors has meant that Toronto Community Housing has failed to provide shelter for many people who need it most. Research shows that racialized women, Indigenous peoples, immigrant populations, and persons with disabilities, among others, are most likely to face housing discrimination in Canada. Homelessness is a barrier to the social advancement of historically marginalized groups in our society, particularly those who fall at the intersection of multiple systems of oppression and can face the greatest challenges in obtaining safe and adequate housing.
Police services are not equipped to contend with the complex issues facing people who experience poverty and homelessness. The criminal justice system is increasingly exclusionary of people with mental health challenges, among others, who comprise a large part of Toronto Community Housing’s population. Shifts in public policy surrounding poverty, homelessness and mental health have resulted in the criminalization of homelessness in Canada.
Faced with this reality, the federal government’s recognition that “housing rights are human rights” is a commitment to addressing the city’s increasingly competitive and inaccessible housing market. It’s a commitment to improving the safety, housing conditions and quality of life for thousands of city residents. It’s a commitment to empowering some of the most vulnerable members of our society by increasing their access to vital social services like job placement assistance and local community-building initiatives. Affordable housing providers can help to provide these services.
The provincial government’s new housing policy, on the other hand, fails to reflect the same values as the federal government’s plan.
Ontario should have allocated more for affordable housing in its budget, not less. To match the federal government’s investment, the province should have earmarked funds for Toronto Community Housing specifically. Mental health supports and other social programs aimed at homelessness prevention should have been made a top priority throughout. And the province should have recognized that housing rights are human rights, not privileges. This means they should extend to everyone. Prospective tenants who were previously evicted for criminal activity should not be denied access to affordable housing in the future.
Building for the future
Affordable housing providers should be funded and supported toward the goal of breaking the cycle of poverty in Canada. The federal government’s investment in Toronto Community Housing is a good start, but more funding and support from every level of government is needed to fulfil Trudeau’s promise that “housing rights are human rights” across the country.
At the same time, affordable housing providers should be held more accountable in meeting their human rights mandate. The National Housing Strategy is not a blank cheque. The promise of the policy requires that we spend residents and taxpayers’ money in socially responsible ways.
Canadians should invest in affordable housing. It’s a commitment to lifting the most vulnerable members of our society from the ground up — and lifting our entire country up in the process.
The joint venture will offer a “Wall as a Service” operation, with FBR’s Hadrian X construction robot laying the bricks and Brickworks providing masonry blocks optimised for use with the machine.
FBR has already received the first shipment of concrete masonry blocks from Brickworks. The blocks are being tested at a new 10,000 sq m facility based in High Wycombe in western Australia. FBR’s 10,000 sq m facility (FBR)
The joint venture will last three years, but can be extended.
Mike Pivac, FBR’s chief executive, said: “We are very pleased to have a joint venture partner in Australia with the reputation and scale of Brickworks to jointly offer Wall as a Service to the Australian market. The joint venture will demonstrate the capabilities of the Hadrian X and test our business model for the commercialisation of Wall as a Service.”
In November 2018, Hadrian X built a complete house in three days, and in July 2017, Caterpillar announced that it would buy $2m shares in FBR.
FBR said in a recent press release that it is planning “global commercialisation” of its operations.
With the UK’s homes crisis is reaching breaking point, one housing association has promised it is doing all it can to help those in Norfolk and Suffolk. ELEANOR PRINGLE met Flagship Group chief executive David McQuade.
This is the pressure under which housing association Flagship Group operates, in its bid to help the UK government achieve its target of building 300,000 homes every year.
But currently the country is only finishing 200,000 homes a year for an increasingly demanding population. Flagship was set up after two associations, Suffolk Heritage Housing and Peddars Way, joined forces in 1998.
Group chief executive David McQuade, inset right, has been with the business since its inception, and said that despite the decades “housing challenges are as complex and difficult as they always have been.”
He explained: “We simply haven’t been building enough new homes to keep pace with need. This is for of a number of reasons; it might be demographics, it might be social behaviours. We have more people that are separated so each need a home, we have an aging population, there’s a whole range of factors which have meant demand has increased.”
He continued: “We’re seeing tremendous demand for any empty properties we do have. Typically for a two or three-bed house in Ipswich or Norwich we can see 60 to 80 families expressing their interest.”
And lack of supply in the market with increasing demand has meant house prices have shot up – making it even more impossible to get on the property ladder.
“House prices have rocketed over the past couple of years and wages haven’t kept pace with that. Put that with huge deposits and now you have an even more demanding scenario,” said Mr McQuade.
“I’ve got four kids who have been in that position, and they tell me they can’t afford to buy or rent. The majority of customers we work with tend to be on below-average incomes – it’s just hard for them.”
Flagship currently has 28,000 homes on its books at reasonable rent for those who may not be able to afford renting privately.
It is also building around 700 homes a year, with the hope of increasing this to 1,000 homes in the next few years.
But deciding whether to build new homes or invest more into current assets is a dilemma Mr McQuade and his board face every day.
“You’ve got to make the call about how much to reinvest into our assets and providing the level of customer care, service, and modernisation we want to be able to offer,” Mr McQuade said. “These houses need new roofs and wires and heating, and then you need money set aside to build new homes too.
“The tension is knowing how desperately people need new homes but also wanting to provide customer service and we’re always grappling with that. At the moment we’re spending about £50m on assets and another £50m to £70m on new supply.”
The profits made through rent or sale of homes is currently reinvested back into the business – either through paying staff or improving assets.
But Mr McQuade says there are ways the UK can catch up with its housing demand.
“Our concern is that we won’t reach the 300,000 homes target based on what we’re doing now, and there will need to be some new models and behaviours if we’re to achieve that target,” he said.
“Some of that is starting to come along with modular homes being built off site. We’re also looking internationally at what’s happening in other parts of the world, 3D printing in Japan and China and America.
“Is this something that we can learn from and bring back? We think some of those new solutions will probably be necessary alongside the methods we’ve already got.”
But although the technology is here, the uptake in the construction industry is slow.
“These methods are not as proven as people might like it to be, big housebuilders are not convinced the costs will be driven down,” Mr McQuade added.
“I don’t know all the answers, but I hope in 20 or 30 years time it might actually be affordable to buy a home.”
Berwickshire Housing Association’s vision of creating thriving rural communities has come to fruition in Chirnside following the completion of a new affordable and energy-efficient housing development.
Reflecting local demand, the 25-unit development at Glebe Place is a good mix of housing types and flats suitable for individuals and families on what was previously a green field site on the southern edge of the village. Berwickshire Housing Association (BHA) has worked in partnership with Scottish Borders Council (SBC) and the Scottish Government on the development of the homes, with BHA and the government providing the funding.
As with all of BHA’s new-build homes they are of a very high standard when it comes to energy efficiency.
This new development, built by Hart Builders, is part of a larger 1.4-hectare zone identified in SBC’s local development plan as a proposed housing site. The architect was Smith Scott Mullan Associates.
BHA owns the site which has been divided into two development areas. The larger part of the development has a series of semi-detached two, three and four-bedroom homes facing north and south, all looking onto the main street and each having private front and rear gardens and parking spaces between them.
Within a courtyard space on the larger development there are one and two-bed cottage flats plus a three-bedroom wheelchair accessible home at ground-floor level with its own dedicated parking space. Each flat has its own front door.
In the smaller development area there are two semi-detached three-bedroom family homes to the south side of Erskine Place.
In total there are 42 car parking spaces within the development.
During the construction phase Hart Builders recruited all of their joiners and labourers locally and several Borders firms have been sub-contracted. These include: Landscaping – Lindenlea Landscaping, Hawick; groundworks – A.S. Crawford Groundworks, Hawick; painters – W.R. Patterson, Kelso; bricklayers – M. Hume, Hawick; fencing – Wayne Mitchell, Melrose; road tarring – Scottish Borders Council.
Angela Taylor, BHA’s property director, said: “BHA is delighted with the high quality of these homes and standard of this new development. These 25 homes provide a range of house types which people can afford to rent, are energy efficient and warm and are much needed in the area.”
Andy Mallice, managing director of Hart Builders, added: “Hart Builders is delighted to have completed a further development for Berwickshire Housing Association at the Glebe in Chirnside. Built adjacent to a well-established community, the 25 new homes are highly energy efficient and were designed to take advantage of the panoramic views beyond the site.
“During the construction, Hart was particularly pleased to offer a local school pupil (and neighbour to the development) a placement on site to gain work experience and an overview of the career opportunities available to her in construction.”
An additional £13,078 over the next two years will help East Renfrewshire Council deliver affordable homes.
Local authorities will share a total of £1.3 billion between now and 2021 to help achieve the Scottish Government’s ambitious aim to deliver 50,000 affordable homes, with 35,000 available for social rent, by that date.
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: “We believe that everyone should be able to live in a warm affordable home.
“Our investment and delivery of affordable housing is the biggest since devolution and I am determined to see it benefit communities across Scotland.
“This investment backs up our ambitions with financial certainty.
“We will continue to work in partnership with councils and housing associations to deliver quality homes to meet local needs.”
CouncillorKelly Parry, COSLA Community Wellbeing spokesman, said: “I am pleased to acknowledge the additional resources that will come to councils in this financial year and in 2020/21 to support the growth of affordable housing for all in our communities.”
The pilot program aims to boost housing affordability and equity in Minneapolis.
A new city of Minneapolis housing program aims to promote middle-sized housing complexes to encourage affordability and equity.
Past zoning codes restricted the construction of middle-sized complexes, specifically those with three to 20 units, in favor single-family homes and large apartment complexes. The Missing Middle Housing Pilot Program stems from research for the 2040 Comprehensive Plan aimed at identifying barriers to middle-sized housing projects in the city. Representatives from the city’s Community Planning and Economic Development department hosted an event May 1 to receive community feedback on the program.
The Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan, which the city council approved in December, will rezone sections of the city to allow more middle-sized housing on a single lot.
Researchers aimed to answer key questions about middle-sized housing in Minneapolis, said Madel Duenas, a senior city planner who worked on the 2040 study.
“It [was] basically studying, ‘what is [the] missing middle? Where is it? Why isn’t it being built?’” she said.
The study found zoning codes and historical trends are often to blame for the lack of middle-sized housing complexes. While Minneapolis housing in the early 1900s began as a diverse mix of housing types, zoning codes passed in the 1940s allowed only single-family homes in certain areas of the city, said Heather Worthington, the city’s director of long-range planning.
“[In the early 1900s], the market was building a single-family house next to a duplex next to a small scale apartment building — a very natural development pattern. But once we regulated that through zoning, we effectively said, ‘you can’t build that anymore,’” Worthington said.
The zoning code changes that shifted away from middle-sized housing can be traced to redlining, a practice which aimed to exclude African Americans and other people of color from living in certain parts of the city. Traces of redlining can still be seen in the city’s zoning code, Worthington said.
By incentivizing missing middle housing, the city would make building and renting housing units more affordable and equitable for developers and tenants, Duenas said.
The program may also help the city develop affordable housing more cost-effectively, said Robin Garwood, an aide to Ward 2 Minneapolis City Council member Cam Gordon.
“We’ve supported the production of hundreds of units of affordable housing over the years, but a lot of those units are in some pretty big buildings,” Garwood said. “I think this is kind of in response to that, saying, ‘Let’s also focus on these smaller buildings … that may in some cases be actually more affordable to build and where the city’s financing might go a little bit further.’”
Some Minneapolis residents have expressed concerns about changes to neighborhood dynamics and a potential for parking shortages caused by rezoning.
While the program’s goals parallel similar efforts in other large cities, Minneapolis is one of the first to rezone its neighborhoods to promote more diverse housing options, Worthington said.
“Other cities are building this missing middle product — duplex, triplex, fourplex — in areas where they’re already allowed in zoning. But we’re the first major city in the U.S. to allow for these types of products to be built in historically single-family neighborhoods,” she said.
CPED representatives will present the proposed pilot program to the city council later this month. The program will begin accepting program applications in the summer, with the first missing middle construction expected to begin in 2020.