The Greenhouse by Pine

We can create a housing system that is inclusive, accessible, and equitable.

Recognizing Black History Month and what needs to be done

“What can we do to help create a more inclusive housing landscape?”

At Pine, our mission is to uphold and support an equitable and accessible mortgage process for any and every Canadian. That’s why, through our digital channels, we are creating the best, inclusive home financing experience for all.

And we believe approaches like this are necessary–and this article highlights exactly why.

February marks Black History Month, and while we hope you’ll spend most of the month celebrating the milestones many Black Canadians have had in the country, it’s also important to reflect and discuss what more needs to be done when it comes to our Black communities: especially with housing. 

By the numbers 

In Canada, the homeownership rates among Black Canadians are among the lowest of any racialized group. According to the 2021 Census, the homeownership rate among the Black community was at 45.2.%, whereas the Canadian average sat at 71.9%–that’s a difference of 26.7%. 

And for most, this disparity in homeownership is due to numerous systemic barriers including the lack of affordable housing options, combined with low income, a lack of funding for Black entrepreneurs in their business ventures, and inadequate financial support–especially for newcomers to Canada. On top of homeownership, Black Canadians are also exposed to  discrimination in the rental market (where stories like Daehani’s are more common than we think).

But that’s not all: 

This needs to change. 

Recognizing Black History Month and what needs to be done

Resources and organizations to support Black communities

While social movements have taken centre stage over the past few years, encouraging more open dialogue surrounding race and intersectionality, more still needs to be done to address the systemic barriers when it comes to the accessibility of housing. 

One of the number one questions people ask in the wake of the stats and information is, “What can we do to help create a more inclusive housing landscape?”

For many Canadians, taking the time off from work to attend in-person appointments with banks or other lenders just isn’t feasible, especially when traditional finance systems are sometimes only available during the standard 9 to 5 hours. That’s why, at Pine, we're trying to eliminate those barriers for all Canadians: you can apply anytime–and anywhere–on your schedule and on your terms

And while we believe in making a change in an archaic system, we also believe in spotlighting the organizations that are doing the groundwork to truly make systemic change in all aspects of housing and access to housing across Canada.

So, here's what you can do:

  • Call for an increase in funding for affordable housing: While the Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion dedicated $50 million to support Black-led organizations in building housing for Black Canadians, we want this work to continue. This could look like calling on even more help to increase investment in social housing, building more affordable housing units, and providing more financial support for low-income families. This could also look like offering more programs for immigrants who are coming to Canada to find their financial footing and head start towards homeownership. 
  • Invest in and support community-led initiatives: Community-led initiatives can be incredibly effective in addressing local housing needs and improving the housing situation for Black families. This includes supporting community-based housing organizations and encouraging collaboration between communities, government, and housing organizations.

Specifically, you can support organizations like the BlackNorth Initiative (BNI) Homeownership Bridge Program–created in partnership with Habitat for Humanity GTA and empowered by the Dream Legacy Foundation–to create action at all levels to address systemic barriers in the housing crisis facing Black Canadian communities.

You can also support initiatives and studies by the Black Planning Project, as they strive to amplify “Black voices and perspectives in city and community building, planning, and development.” 

And those in Nova Scotia can also support the Black Communities Technical Housing Resources Centre.

We can create a housing system that is inclusive, accessible, equitable, and provides families with the opportunity to access safe, affordable, and dignified housing.

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