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HSH update on Housing Supply Challenge: Part II

Home Suite Hope was among 29 applicants across Canada to receive Stage 1 Funding for New Construction in the CMHC(Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation)-led Housing Supply Challenge.

The Challenge aims to reduce barriers to housing supply and affordability with a goal that by 2030, everyone in Canada has a home they can afford and meets their needs.

The Challenge offers up to $300 million in funding for new ideas and solutions to help more people find an affordable place to call home.

HSH received funds to plan a prototype to determine Housing Needs and Affordability for Single-Parent-Led Families and is working on Stage 2 in hopes of winning a portion of $37.5M available to pay architects and construction project management companies to implement its ‘prototype.’

HSH Director of Development Krystal Valencia recently presented HSH’s Findings, Outcomes, and Next Steps.

Imagine being a single-mom, and you and your children are getting evicted, or your children are with Children’s Services while you are at a shelter, or landlords refuse you based on your single income and you have no option than to couch surf with friends.

Krystal Valencia, Director of Development, Home Suite Hope

Graduates of our program earn $50K to start – but still face rents of $2,200 on average for a two-bedroom unit. That’s 42% of their income, and not sustainable for single parents who are both breadwinner and caregiver.

HSH is proposing a new housing model – for single-mothers, by single mothers. We seek to understand the everyday needs and patterns of single mothers and incorporate them into every level of the home design.

Our solution is to develop a non-profit affordable rental housing model that is sustainable environmentally, socially, and financially.

We will identify the needs of single-parent led families and the tools needed to simplify the affordable housing process, for organizations and single-parent led households.

We are in the process of creating widely-sharable building standards, informed by three main principles: Participation, Collaboration, and Sustainability.

Participation: We are asking single-mother led families across the country – of all demographics, and incomes – to join our committees, discussion boards and focus groups to help us identify the fundamental needs.

Collaboration: We are working with private, public, and non-profit housing sector partners to share their expertise – from local builders to B-Corps, to multi-national conglomerates. We are partnering with people who understand, truly, what we are trying to achieve.

Sustainability: We are providing stability to families for long-term affordability, flexibility in costs and being unconventional in living situations.

We experienced a hard reality check in our first few single-mother-run activities and workshops.

Here are some results:

  • 100% respondents were single-mothers

  • Child care proved to be one of the least important factors in housing with the top three being price, proximity to elementary schools, and on-site laundry.

Krystal Valencia - Director of Development - Home Suite Hope

To date, we have engaged in the following consultation processes:

  • 2 Focus groups for single-parent families

  • 1 Design Thinking Workshop

  • 1 Learning Management System (LMS) Module about co-housing in progress

  • Completed a Harvard Business School Online Certificate on Design Thinking, invited for case discussion in May 2022

  • Krystal was invited to speak at the Urban Thinkers Campus in partnership with the Urban Economy Forum and UN Habitat towards the ‘City We Need Now’ to discuss the SDGs 5 & 11s and link to affordable housing specific to single-parent families. HSH Executive Director Sara Cumming moderated a panel to integrate lived experience perspectives into housing design.

  • Sara joined Halton Region’s Commissioner of Housing on Oakville Mayor Rob Burton’s local cable show to speak about affordable housing

  • Leveraging student placements: (3 at Brock University) to help with Social Determinants of Health and how 7 Pillars of Holistic Health are related to housing, (1 MSW at McMaster University) to help with data collection and community outreach to like-minded organizations supporting single-parent led households.

  • Confirmed full support and letters from all Mayors & MPs within Halton towards an affordable housing awareness campaign

  • Creation of a first iteration of a 100% affordable 2-4 bedroom, for an urban location

  • Monthly Housing Committee Meetings in subsections of: due diligence.

  • We are in the process of creating Requests for Qualifications (RfQs) with housing consultants

We hope our affordable housing model becomes the new norm in the pre-development phase of affordable housing for single-mother families and will be open-sourced to any organization that wants to lead an affordable housing prototype in their neighbourhood.

We will focus strictly on affordable rental opportunities for single-parent families and envision creating a circular economy within a housing complex where HSH participants and graduates work within the complex.

We invite you on our journey towards more equitable and affordable housing for single mother-led families.

Let’s learn from one another and work towards a housing solution that fits the needs of those living within it.

HSH is hosting Housing Focus Group on Tuesday, May 3 from 6-7:30 p.m. If you’d like to join or discuss the affordable housing issue more, please contact Krystal.


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