Housing charity appealing Hamilton education levies

News Jun 26, 2019 by Richard Leitner hamiltonnews.com

A local affordable housing charity is vowing to fight increases to education development charges by Hamilton’s public and Catholic school boards, arguing they disproportionately burden homeless people.

Indwell executive director Jeffrey Neven said it’s unfair the levies, used to generate money to buy property for new schools in growth areas, charge the same fee regardless of the type or size of a housing unit.

He said his group’s latest 51-unit affordable housing project in lower east Hamilton, for instance, will pay the same fee per bachelor apartment as a multiple-bedroom home in Waterdown or Binbrook — adding nearly $100,000 to construction costs.

Neven said Indwell has already formally appealed the Catholic board’s increases to Ontario’s Local Planning Appeal Tribunal and plans to do likewise with the public board’s.

He unsuccessfully urged public school trustees at a June 17 special board meeting to either exempt affordable housing from their levy — set to rise to $1,339 on July 6, a $300 jump, and then to $1,573 next year — or scale fees to a housing unit’s size.

Trustees unanimously approved the new rates without changes, while the Catholic board similarly passed its new levy of $1,101, up from $885.

Neven said Indwell appealed the public board’s levies when they were last reviewed in 2014, but agreed to withdraw after being promised consultations that never took place.

“I do understand that new schools do need to be built in areas of growth, but it shouldn’t be on the backs of homeless people,” he said.

Cynthia Clarke, a consultant on the public board’s new rates, told trustees no other Ontario school board has ever exempted affordable housing from education levies.

She said although trustees could charge lower rates for apartment dwellings, provincial legislation doesn’t allow them to make up the estimated $3.2 million to $4 million in lost revenue by increasing charges on bigger homes.

The public board’s new rates are designed to cover a $32-million deficit in spending on new public school properties over the past five years and a projected $80 million in land needs over the next 15 years.

Board chair Alex Johnstone said trustees are passionate about addressing child poverty but have no other way to raise money to buy land, making an exemption for affordable housing like “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

“We start jeopardizing our projects,” she said, citing planned new schools in Waterdown and Binbrook.

“We need to be in a position to acquire property immediately because those communities are exploding.”

 

Housing charity appealing Hamilton education levies

Flat rate unfairly burdens poor, Indwell rep argues

News Jun 26, 2019 by Richard Leitner hamiltonnews.com

A local affordable housing charity is vowing to fight increases to education development charges by Hamilton’s public and Catholic school boards, arguing they disproportionately burden homeless people.

Indwell executive director Jeffrey Neven said it’s unfair the levies, used to generate money to buy property for new schools in growth areas, charge the same fee regardless of the type or size of a housing unit.

He said his group’s latest 51-unit affordable housing project in lower east Hamilton, for instance, will pay the same fee per bachelor apartment as a multiple-bedroom home in Waterdown or Binbrook — adding nearly $100,000 to construction costs.

Neven said Indwell has already formally appealed the Catholic board’s increases to Ontario’s Local Planning Appeal Tribunal and plans to do likewise with the public board’s.

I do understand that new schools do need to be built in areas of growth, but it shouldn’t be on the backs of homeless people. — Jeffrey Neven

He unsuccessfully urged public school trustees at a June 17 special board meeting to either exempt affordable housing from their levy — set to rise to $1,339 on July 6, a $300 jump, and then to $1,573 next year — or scale fees to a housing unit’s size.

Trustees unanimously approved the new rates without changes, while the Catholic board similarly passed its new levy of $1,101, up from $885.

Neven said Indwell appealed the public board’s levies when they were last reviewed in 2014, but agreed to withdraw after being promised consultations that never took place.

“I do understand that new schools do need to be built in areas of growth, but it shouldn’t be on the backs of homeless people,” he said.

Cynthia Clarke, a consultant on the public board’s new rates, told trustees no other Ontario school board has ever exempted affordable housing from education levies.

She said although trustees could charge lower rates for apartment dwellings, provincial legislation doesn’t allow them to make up the estimated $3.2 million to $4 million in lost revenue by increasing charges on bigger homes.

The public board’s new rates are designed to cover a $32-million deficit in spending on new public school properties over the past five years and a projected $80 million in land needs over the next 15 years.

Board chair Alex Johnstone said trustees are passionate about addressing child poverty but have no other way to raise money to buy land, making an exemption for affordable housing like “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

“We start jeopardizing our projects,” she said, citing planned new schools in Waterdown and Binbrook.

“We need to be in a position to acquire property immediately because those communities are exploding.”

 

Housing charity appealing Hamilton education levies

Flat rate unfairly burdens poor, Indwell rep argues

News Jun 26, 2019 by Richard Leitner hamiltonnews.com

A local affordable housing charity is vowing to fight increases to education development charges by Hamilton’s public and Catholic school boards, arguing they disproportionately burden homeless people.

Indwell executive director Jeffrey Neven said it’s unfair the levies, used to generate money to buy property for new schools in growth areas, charge the same fee regardless of the type or size of a housing unit.

He said his group’s latest 51-unit affordable housing project in lower east Hamilton, for instance, will pay the same fee per bachelor apartment as a multiple-bedroom home in Waterdown or Binbrook — adding nearly $100,000 to construction costs.

Neven said Indwell has already formally appealed the Catholic board’s increases to Ontario’s Local Planning Appeal Tribunal and plans to do likewise with the public board’s.

I do understand that new schools do need to be built in areas of growth, but it shouldn’t be on the backs of homeless people. — Jeffrey Neven

He unsuccessfully urged public school trustees at a June 17 special board meeting to either exempt affordable housing from their levy — set to rise to $1,339 on July 6, a $300 jump, and then to $1,573 next year — or scale fees to a housing unit’s size.

Trustees unanimously approved the new rates without changes, while the Catholic board similarly passed its new levy of $1,101, up from $885.

Neven said Indwell appealed the public board’s levies when they were last reviewed in 2014, but agreed to withdraw after being promised consultations that never took place.

“I do understand that new schools do need to be built in areas of growth, but it shouldn’t be on the backs of homeless people,” he said.

Cynthia Clarke, a consultant on the public board’s new rates, told trustees no other Ontario school board has ever exempted affordable housing from education levies.

She said although trustees could charge lower rates for apartment dwellings, provincial legislation doesn’t allow them to make up the estimated $3.2 million to $4 million in lost revenue by increasing charges on bigger homes.

The public board’s new rates are designed to cover a $32-million deficit in spending on new public school properties over the past five years and a projected $80 million in land needs over the next 15 years.

Board chair Alex Johnstone said trustees are passionate about addressing child poverty but have no other way to raise money to buy land, making an exemption for affordable housing like “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

“We start jeopardizing our projects,” she said, citing planned new schools in Waterdown and Binbrook.

“We need to be in a position to acquire property immediately because those communities are exploding.”