June 27, 2022

Responding to Community Opposition to Affordable Housing

By Civida

Despite the known benefits of affordable housing and the negative aspects of housing inequality, the supply of social and affordable housing in Canada is lacking. One challenge to increasing the supply of affordable housing is community opposition, often described as NIMBYism or Not in My Backyard opposition. While most people support affordable housing in principle, local community members are often concerned about the potential impacts of affordable housing developments on their neighbourhoods.

To better understand why communities are opposed to affordable housing and how providers can understand and respond to opposition, Civida conducted an applied research project, with the support of the Alberta Real Estate Foundation, on affordable housing and neighbourhoods, exploring the questions:

  • What does the existing research show as emerging strategies for responding to community opposition to affordable housing? Are there different considerations for rural and small-town communities?
  • What does the existing research show about the impacts of affordable housing on neighbourhoods, with a focus on property values?
  • What are the impacts of affordable housing developments in Alberta on neighbourhoods, with a focus on property values?

From the research, Civida highlighted four emerging strategies to respond to community opposition:
(1) educate and inform early
(2) engage early
(3) mobilize community leaders
(4) avoid the term NIMBY

Further, from the literature review and from their empirical analysis of five Alberta case study sites, there is no evidence that affordable housing has intrinsic negative impacts on neighbourhoods. In fact, there is more evidence that affordable housing has positive impacts on families and communities.

The results of this research are two full reports titled Exploring the Impacts of Affordable Housing on Neighbourhood Property Values – A Literature Review and Five Alberta Case Studies and Strategies for Responding to Community Opposition for Affordable Housing Providers. Civida also created a toolkit of eight factsheets that summarize and highlight aspects of the research.

You can find these resources at civida.ca/AHFacts and on the Foundation website.

Who is this for? This toolkit of resources is designed for housing providers, developers, housing agencies, and the public.

How can you use these resources? Download these resources for your use in community engagement, public campaigns, or for your own research. All we ask is that you mention
Civida as your source.

Where can you find more information? On the webpage with the toolkit, Civida also posted links to further external resources with more information about these topics. The
full reports also cite over 20 different publications used in our research.

The Foundation is proud to support this project through our grants program.

Similar News