Government Funding Programs
Sionito Invites Government Funding Partnerships
In all its endeavors sustainability has been its strongest guiding value expressed in terms of
i) project development,
ii) property management and
iii) program operations. (For details see the Sionito Model section).
Sionito and Government Partnerships Have Been Successful in Toronto
1) Government Options Available to Achieve Sustainable Affordable Rents
Governments at all levels are legislating long-term funding streams focused on affordable housing, energy sustainability and senior’s ageing in place programs, all supported by recent polls and election results.
i) The Development Cost Reduction Option for Affordability
In Sionito’s experience, Municipalities can provide development exemptions and other council-approved measures that reduce other fees associated with the planning and construction program. If this amounts to a 15% reduction in financing costs, it will translate into an 8% reduction in a unit’s rent. This partnership program allows municipalities to absorb development costs without having to use direct cash subsidies from the tax base.
ii) In Sionito’s experience, Municipalities can provide grants from city funds collected from other private sector developers, from funds designed to establish an affordable housing base. It seems only appropriate that a portion of development fees for housing, in general, be allocated to support affordable housing programs in specific.
iii) Municipalities working with the Province can also provide rental subsidies that can be given directly to tenants on an income testing basis or indirectly to identified subsidized apartments.
2) Government Options with Patient Land
The government sectors may own land that has development potential. Sionito refers to this as “patient” land sites. Municipalities recognize that by increasing transportation infrastructure routes, housing densities can be increased, encouraging even low-income workers to remain in the city core with its employment opportunities. City properties such as parking lots etc., can be moved under these developments providing space for non-profit affordable housing.
In terms of government land, the Sionito model is prepared to take it through a development and site plan approval process and then transfer the land to an established charity. This retains the property tax exemption and ensures that the property will remain in the charitable sector in perpetuity.
Municipalities can lease or grant land to charities, in the firm knowledge that they are supporting affordable housing by supporting the non-profit sector.
3) Government Tri-level Partnerships
Sionito’s experience is that the three levels of government, municipal, provincial and federal, have programs that can be organized into one package of support for a single project. Together with Sionito, the following goals can be achieved:
a) financing to achieve sustainable, affordable rents
b) constructing energy-producing and sustainable buildings
c) providing a dining amenity space that sustains our senior’s ageing-in-place program.
4) Government Environmental Focus
Sionito is finding that governments are interested in the affordable housing sector leading the way in developing a building that can move towards zero carbon footprints. Consulting support is available at all levels. Municipalities can provide grants from city funds collected from other private sector developers, from funds designed to encourage “green” building practices, or lease or grant the land to the charity. In this way, the capital costs are decreased, which decreases the mortgage financing payments, decreasing the amount of rent required to carry the project.
5) Government Aging in Place Support Focus
Municipalities have community-based citizen support programs (some partially funded by other levels of government) that provide the home’s personal support services on an as-needed basis. These supports can be for short-term medical issues or for chronic mental health conditions. The Sionito Model integrates these support services into its projects with the goal of allowing seniors to age in place in low-cost housing with minimal Active Daily Living support. Research shows that up to 20% of nursing home residents could manage independently in their own homes if they had ADL support. The most important support is a dining room amenity since this reduces daily anxieties of shopping for and preparing one’s meals each day, with the added benefit that tea and toast meals change to become nutritious meals. Dining room amenity spaces within senior apartment complexes are one of the original attributes of the Sionito Model.
There has never been a time in recent Canadian history that has so much support provided for affordable housing. With non-profit sector mortgages being paid down, the sector is in a strong position to establish the next platform of new affordable housing across our municipalities. The Sionito business model is staged on
1) establishing a charity to own the property on a property tax-free basis,
2) partnering with a private sector social entrepreneurial group of development professionals to develop the land and construct the building,
3) partnering with government programs to finance and fund the development
4) and finally, partnering with an enhanced property management firm capable of maintaining the property as well as operating the ADL services of dining and cleaning.