Innovating for Equity

Enabling Affordable Housing Development in the Waterloo Region

Lynx Developments is a non-profit that helps Affordable Housing Providers do what they do best - build and operate affordable housing. Lynx offers a unique service that includes land purchase and assembly, community master planning, parcel development, and strong partnerships, to make it easier and cheaper for Affordable Housing Providers to create much-needed affordable housing.

How does Lynx Developments help Affordable Housing Providers build housing?

We raise the capital required to purchase and masterplan large land parcels on behalf of our Affordable Housing Partners and subdivide the land into smaller sites that suit the needs of our partners. We are then able to subsidize the developed land for our Affordable Housing Partners, enabling them to create the housing and community spaces their residents need by selling some of the parcels to private sector players. By buying market-rate land, our model is not dependent on donated/free land that is in low supply and can act as a constraint to affordable housing projects. In the Waterloo Region, larger parcels (5+ acres) are available for purchase several times per year. These parcels are typically lower cost per acre and are of interest to a smaller pool of buyers, even when connected to transit and amenities.

Although we don’t require free or low cost land to operate, our model does benefit from socially-minded investors to seed our initial investment. If you are interested in learning more, please reach out to us through our contact page. 

What are the anticipated outcomes of a Lynx Development?

Our development will be a mixed-income community that provides affordable housing for low and moderate-income households as well as market housing. As a transit-supportive, complete community, our development will support a mix of housing types and sizes, as well as small-scale commercial businesses and office spaces. Residents and workers will have convenient access to basic daily needs, and amenity spaces via walking, cycling, rolling, and public transportation. The site will promote sustainable, climate-resilient design through building construction requirements and shared, climate-friendly energy services. 

What does that look like in practical numbers? On a 5-acre site, we plan to support the creation of 10 medium-density buildings ranging from 4 to 10 stories, resulting in more than 700 net new housing units. 8 of the 10 buildings will be owned by our community partners resulting in more than 500 units owned by groups with a demonstrated commitment and capacity to provide appropriate and affordable housing. Our expected time-to-occupancy of ~3.5 years from the time of purchase will significantly increase the supply of affordable and market-rate housing in the Waterloo Region.

Who are Lynx Developments' Affordable Housing Partners?

We’ve been working closely with the folks at KW Urban Native Wigwam Project, Reception House, and Union Cooperative. We love their commitment to making the community better and are very excited to be working with them! Check them out on our partners page

How does Lynx Developments ensure the affordability of the housing projects?

Our mandate is to support the creation and community ownership of affordable housing in Waterloo Region. Lynx Developments helps Affordable Housing Partners to build and maintain affordable housing by removing the key barriers to development and passing on savings in the process. We approach this in a few ways! The four main components are: 

How can I get involved with Lynx Developments' mission?

If you are an investor who would like to support us financially, a volunteer who would like to support us in other ways, an Affordable Housing Provider that would like to shadow the process and learn, or an interested party who would like to replicate this idea either elsewhere or in the future, just reach out through our contact page

The Waterloo Region needs to add affordable housing at more than 7x the current rate. 

Population in the Waterloo Region has exploded in the past 10 years with a growth of 22.7k in 2022 while housing starts have remained relatively consistent (4.8k in 2022). Beyond housing starts in general not keeping up with demand, the deficit is felt even more in the affordable housing space.

Community providers are expected to build 5,390 new affordable units by 2031, (770 / year), to meet anticipated demand. That’s 7x the growth in affordable units compared to the past 20 years! This housing challenge requires an all hands on deck approach. It’s not about “which solution should we pick” - we need them all to meet the need.