World-class social housing exhibit makes debut in Canada

Ottawa Community Housing (OCH) was pleased to join international leaders and community partners Wednesday morning to unveil a world-class social housing exhibit in Ottawa at the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association’s 50th National Congress on Housing and Homelessness, with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and the Austrian Embassy.

The convention comes just a few short months after Canada released the first ever National Housing Strategy – a 10-year, $40 billion plan. The strategy highlights the federal governments renewed commitment to affordable housing and looks to ensure more Canadians have a place to call home. 

Over 500 delegates and industry leaders are attending the four-day convention. The event will allow leaders in the social, not-for-profit and affordable housing sector the opportunity to share best practices both nationally and internationally.

The Viennese exhibit, “The municipality is building. Vienna residential construction 1920 to 2020,” is a travelling multimedia display detailing the importance of social apartment construction in Vienna. Their successful social housing model has been recognized internationally and allows Canadians the unique opportunity to learn from an industry leader.

“Vienna demonstrates that with the right leadership and commitment, social and non-profit housing can provide a viable solution to meet the affordable housing needs of populations,” said Jeff Morrison, Executive Director of the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association. “We encourage federal, provincial and local governments across Canada to demonstrate the same commitment.”

The City of Vienna has built 220,000 municipal dwellings for half a million tenants and has overseen the building of a further 200,000 subsidized apartments. One of four residents of Vienna lives in affordable housing.

“CMHC encourages the sharing of best practices from innovative housing models around the world,” said Derek Ballantyne, incoming Board Chairperson at CMHC. “Vienna’s abundant social housing stock led to well-balanced, mixed-income communities and that’s something many Canadian cities could learn from.” 

“The City of Vienna has set an example to the world in the early 20th century by politically committing to and effectively realizing every person’s right to decent housing. It remains a beacon in the face of the challenges of the 21st century, where livable cities are those where housing remains affordable to the greater number,” said Austrian Ambassador Stefan Pehringer.

According to the international Mercer survey, Vienna is the world city with the highest quality of life. The principle of affordable housing for all is a key factor in this achievement.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to welcome the Viennese exhibit to the nation’s capital and to encourage conversation on social housing at the national level,” said Stéphane Giguère, CEO of OCH. “Much like the Viennese model, OCH believes that access to affordable housing increases economic and social opportunities to the broader community. Every Canadian should be able to live and thrive in safe and healthy communities.”

The Congress on Housing and Homelessness runs until April 27, 2018 at Delta Hotels Ottawa City Centre. The convention hosts more than 40 concurrent workshops and a variety of keynote speeches. The Viennese Exhibit is being showcased in the Pinnacle Room.