Support options and financial incentives for people to move on from community housing are limited in Waterloo region and across Canada. This can create blockages in the housing system, limiting options for existing tenants and keeping individuals and families on the waitlist. If families and individuals transition to home ownership, however, new spaces open for those on the waitlist. This adds affordable housing stock to the community.
The Accessing Affordable Home Ownership Opportunities Solutions Lab will help support transitions from community housing to affordable home ownership. It will work to identify and produce new support tools, incentives and ways of working. This includes financial incentives for moving, a new mobile app and new ways of interacting with community housing tenants.
3 Key Goals
Bring together partners within and beyond the housing sector who have traditionally not worked together to form a Think Tank.
Create innovative support tools, incentives and approaches to help individuals and families transition from community housing to affordable home ownership.
Develop a prototype digital app to provide housing transition support.
Project scope and expected outcomes
Making the step from community housing
There is increased need for affordable housing—both rental and ownership—in Waterloo Region and throughout Canada. Transitioning from community housing, however, can be challenging for individuals and families. Without support, they may stay in community housing long-term. They also may struggle to maintain housing stability if they do move on, leading them to return to community housing. This creates a blockage for accessing affordable homes for people on the waitlist.
This Lab will use its solutions to help 10 individuals or families move from community housing to affordable home ownership. It also recognizes that some people may require housing plus support to maintain housing stability. The Lab will make a range of options available to support households making the transition, including financial, social and digital options.
Creating a think tank
The Lab will bring together a range of key partners in the Waterloo Region who would not naturally come together. This “Think Tank” will include representatives from the financial, government and technology sectors. The Lab will provide them with a space to pursue new and innovative thinking, idea generation and solution co-design.
The Lab will be conducted over 5 phases:
- The Definition Phase will involve a project kick-off and stakeholder meeting to establish the vision and values for the project. It will also map the stakeholders and identify the best engagement methods for reaching them. The project’s website will be created at this stage and the project team will define its processes.
- The Discover Phase will conduct research with people with lived experience and other relevant stakeholders. It will engage people in the project through a series of stakeholder labs, interviews and observational research. The collected data will be used in materials that will help the Lab produce ideas and explore options. This includes journey maps and insights summaries.
- The Development Phase will generate ideas that will drive prototyping, testing and future planning. A 2-day brainstorming meeting will help generate, diversify and rank ideas.
- The Prototype and Test/Delivery Phase will explore, evaluate and communicate how people might experience possible solutions. Participants will co-design prototypes and test ideas over a week-long session. This potentially includes digital services to help with housing transition support and rehearsals of how potential services might work.
- The Roadmap Phase will produce a strategy and implementation plan. This plan will be based on the findings, ideas, prototypes and feedbacks of the previous phases. It will detail the options and identify steps for implementing them.
A platform for sharing
A website will be created for the project at the start of the Lab. This will be used to share findings, lessons learned and new ideas. It will also contain other lab materials, such as summaries and journey maps and the final strategy and implementation plan. This website will be shared through industry platforms, like Homeless Hub and the Expert Community on Housing.
The prototype mobile app will be presented in a demonstration mode through the website. A beta version will also be shared with 10 housing system service managers across Canada. This will allow a second round of households to use and test the app.
Project Team: Waterloo Region Housing
Location: Waterloo Region, Ontario
Solutions Lab Consultant:
- Overlap Associates
Get More Information:
Email: Innovation-Research@cmhc.ca or visit the National Housing Strategy’s Innovation page.