City launches Ontario Renovates Secondary Suites renovation grant program
HAMILTON, ON – The City of Hamilton, through the Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative (OPHI) is implementing the Ontario Renovates Secondary Suites Forgivable Loan Program aimed at increasing the supply of affordable rental units in the private market, while creating an opportunity for homeowners to generate additional income.
Through this initial pilot program homeowners looking to add or renovate an existing secondary unit in their home may be eligible for up to $30,000 in the form of a $25,000 forgivable loan, and an additional grant of $5,000 if accessible modifications are included in the project. As step forward in implementing Hamilton’s Strategic Plan to Create Affordable Housing Supply in the Secondary Rental Market that was approved by Council in April 2022, this program provides eligible homeowners with financial assistance in the form of a 15-year forgivable loan to create affordable secondary suites in existing single-family homes or garden suites on the property lot of a single-family home that is the homeowner’s sole and principal residence. The amount of rent charged for secondary suite must be below the maximum permitted during the 15- year term of the agreement
Application intake is open and will be ongoing, however funding is limited and will be provided on a first-come first-served basis to eligible applicants.
Secondary suites provide tremendous benefits to homeowners, tenants and the broader community. They make housing more affordable because of their size and sharing a residence with another property; they provide long-term healthy alternative housing arrangements for households including seniors and families, contribute to community sustainability and are innovative housing solutions. They also increase property value and potential buyers will use them as an asset.
The City has successfully created an enabling environment for the implementation of the Secondary Dwelling Units Strategy through the changes made on the City’s comprehensive Zoning By-Law No.05-200 approved by Council on May 14, 2021. Since 2017 there have been 28 building permits issued for secondary dwelling units, including 16 since implementing changes to the City’s comprehensive Zoning By-Law.
The City is committed to incentivizing and increasing the supply of affordable rental units in the secondary rental market as a means of helping the community achieve its targets around new housing supply. Considerable progress has been achieved through the development/update of City strategies and by-laws that pertain to secondary dwelling units.
Creating secondary suites in existing housing is an innovative way to tackle the housing shortage that our entire province is facing. Moreover, secondary suites can meet a variety of housing needs, from older adults who wish to stay in place to multi-generational living. Reducing regulatory barriers and making this grant available is a great way to meet our community's needs for more housing.Mayor Fred Eisenberger