Affordable Housing FAQ

Affordable Housing FAQ

  1. What does affordable housing mean?
  2. Why is housing so important?
  3. What is the City doing to respond to the current situation?
  4. Is housing really a municipal responsibility?
  5. What are my rights and responsibilities as a tenant?
  6. Where can I find affordable housing in St. John’s?

What does affordable housing mean?
To be considered affordable, housing options must cost less than 30 per cent of before-tax household income. For renters, shelter costs include rent and utilities. For owners, shelter costs include mortgage payments, property taxes, condominium fees and utilities. 

In this housing market, the task of securing adequate, affordable housing is becoming extremely difficult for people across the income spectrum. 

Why is housing so important?
Housing is a foundation upon which a prosperous, vibrant and healthy community is built. Investment in affordable housing solutions helps to produce many dividends for the entire community:

  • A secure labour force, especially in the essential service sector of the economy.
  • Healthy independent living for seniors.
  • The reduction of poverty.
  • Improved outcomes for employment, education, health and community safety.
  • Environmental sustainability through energy efficiency.

What is the City doing to respond to the current situation?
The City of St. John's is stepping forward through strong leadership and effective partnerships. The main hub for the City’s leadership on this issue is the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Affordable Housing, which includes representatives from all three levels of government and the community and private sectors. This Committee developed the Affordable Housing Action Plan, which was adopted by City Council on Feb. 28, 2011. The Plan has three Strategic Directions: Produce, Protect and Promote Affordable Housing. 

Click to view the full Affordable Housing Action Plan - Solid Foundation Long View

The Action Plan focuses on helping those in need of adequate affordable housing, many of whom are not eligible for government assistance, but cannot afford rental or ownership options in the current housing market. By helping people in this group to find secure housing, we can relieve pressure on the housing market and the emergency services required by people in housing crisis. This proactive approach creates a healthier community and saves taxpayer money.   

Is housing really a municipal responsibility?
Municipalities have long been active and vocal on the issue of affordable housing. The City of St. John’s owns and operates 424 units of affordable housing and its history of involvement in affordable housing issues spans five decades. However, with access to only eight cents out of every tax dollar collected in Canada, no municipality can tackle an issue of this magnitude alone. The City must engage many partners and pursue strategic solutions that multiply our efforts, including the other levels of government, as well as the community and private sectors.

What are my rights and responsibilities as a tenant?
The City of St. John's has prepared the guide Your Rights and Responsiblities as a Tenant  for the information of all tenants. 

Where can I find affordable housing in St. John’s?
Agencies and resources that can help you secure an affordable place to live:

NL Housing Corporation
Phone: (709) 724-3031

City of St. John’s Non-Profit Housing
Phone: (709) 576-8196 

Seniors Resource Centre (produces a list of housing options for seniors and others)
Phone: (709) 737-2333 Toll-free: 1-800-563-5599

Stella Burry Community Services
Brian Martin Housing Resource Centre

Phone: (709) 738-0457

Phone: (709) 864-3765