Affordable homeownership benefits all: report

Oct 1, 2012 | News

Habitat for Humanity Toronto helps those in need attain affordable home ownership. COURTESY HABITAT FOR HUMANITY TORONTO

By Alex Lambert

A report released on Monday states that affordable homeownership holds myriad benefits for homeowners, families, and entire neighborhoods.

The study, released by Habitat for Humanity Toronto is meant to coincide with the United Nations’ World Habitat Day. All respondents surveyed are currently living in Habitat for Humanity homes, which are provided on a non-profit basis to low-income families.

Started by the UN in 1985, World Habitat Day is meant to “bring global attention to the need for better shelter around the world.”

“The results are astounding,” said Habitat for Humanity Toronto CEO Neil Hetherington in today’s release. “Not only did homeowners report improvements in physical space, health, safety and security in their new homes, they also revealed significant changes in family dynamics, social integration, pride and confidence.”

Affordable homeownership holds economic and social benefits for communities, and a number of benefits for families and individuals as well, said Sarah Jeffrey, vice president of family services for Habitat for Humanity Toronto.

“When they move from a rental situation or a subsidized situation to ownership, it strengthens their connection to where they’re living and you can see that by them being more active in their communities,” Jeffrey told Humber News.

She said those moving into affordable homeownership tend to be more inclined to help maintain the community by doing things like recycling.

Other social benefits for communities include increases in “neighbourly ties” and an increase in people’s desire to invite others to their homes.

The economic benefit is that these families, who may have been living in subsidized housing at one time, are now paying a mortgage and property taxes, which benefit their community and the City of Toronto.

There are also a number of benefits associated with families moving into a home with more space. People feel less crowded, kids do better in school because they have more space to work and study, there are fewer cases of vermin, and there are reductions in symptoms of allergies and asthma.