HART for the Housing Sector

Information and guidance on the HART project specifically for those working in the housing sector.

Free, reliable, and equity-focused housing needs assessments

Data-driven, research-backed tools for housing advocacy

Housing needs assessments are useful tools to identify gaps in housing. As a developer or housing advocate, knowing and understanding how many homes, of what size, and at what cost, are needed in any given community – now and in the future – is essential. Our tool provides free, reliable, replicable, and easy-to-use data for every community across Canada that includes need by income, household size, and equity-deserving group identification.

Ways to leverage our HNA in your work

Using our data, developers can identify, for example, significant need for 3-bedroom homes under $1,500 in a particular community and use that as a model for a building to meet that need. A non-profit developer serving families could see that over 35% of single mothers in a particular city are in core housing need, and advocate for family-oriented housing or supportive housing for single mothers. Additionally, a community housing organization could advocate for funding by showing data that they are providing housing at a cost that is affordable to a community’s most vulnerable income group.

Delving deeper for more complex projects

In addition to the automated tool that gives data on housing need by income, household size, and priority populations, we also provide free access to our data; the largest set of disaggregated data in Canada that measures core housing need related to income. The original data files from our custom order with Statistics Canada will be available for download through the Borealis dataverse. Our custom census data allows organizations and individuals to ask even more complex questions of their community and generate reliable answers.

For those who wish to learn how to access the data, we will be offering an asynchronous eLearning course where you can learn how to access, interpret, and expand upon the data used for our public tools.

Identify land for development

While many municipal governments consider their land holdings as potential sites for non-profit housing, the Land Assessment Tool offers a more comprehensive, solutions-oriented map that also considers:

  • Land owned by other levels of government
  • ‘Lazy’ land – plots which may be occupied by low-level services like post offices or libraries and can have housing build on top
  • Proximity to amenities that would be relevant to residents

We use a proximity measures index, which was created by Statistics Canada and the CMHC, to identify key amenities that should be nearby any housing. The amenities are as follows:

  • Childcare
  • Primary & secondary schools
  • Healthcare
  • Pharmacies
  • Libraries
  • Community centres
  • Parks
  • Grocery stores
  • Public transit

Using these metrics, the Land Assessment Tool provides communities with a ranked list of parcels that are best suited for housing development. For non-profit developers, this information may be used to support proposals. For other sector professionals, our Land Assessment methodology can serve as a foundation for your own map to assess the suitability of any type of land in a community where there is available data. You are also able to add in proprietary metrics to our map to better plan for future projects – our eLearning course can help with that.

Property acquisitions strategies for the sector

Governments and community organizations across Canada are recognizing the importance of implementing strategies to preserve affordable housing stock as a part of a comprehensive housing strategy. Since Canada has had little activity in dedicated acquisitions for the last several decades, the approaches and strategies undertaken by communities are often haphazard, reactive, and loosely defined.

Our Property Acquisitions Tool consists of a strategy database with an outline of acquisitions practices in Canada, the United States, and globally to assist governments and community housing providers alike in understanding the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches. Furthermore, we have produced policy guides for communities of all sizes to help you select a strategy that is best suited to your organizational capacity and resources.

How does this all translate to policy?

Understanding the needs and available resources in your community is the first step to addressing it. What are the policies you should be advocating for in your work with government? We’ve put together policy implications for the HART Tools, describing the concrete ways different communities can implement policy that will support housing affordability.


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