The Affordable Housing Summit

Mike Labbe

Michel Labbé, M.S.M. (Mike to many) is an Urban and Regional Planning Graduate from the University of Waterloo. He has been involved in the production of affordable housing for 42 years, the first 13 working on subsidized rental projects with Lantana Non-profit Housing Corporation who developed 7,600 units over that period. He was responsible for identifying and securing land for successful development under these programs.
A trip, to work in the Townships of Johannesburg, South Africa, and the disappearance of government grants contributed to a shift in focus to affordable ownership housing.
In 1992, Mike founded Options for Homes NonProfit Corporation.
As President of Options For Homes Non-profit Corporation, Mike has been instrumental in developing a model that can provide mixed income housing to thousands of households without any permanent government subsidy. Options for Homes has become a leading organisation in the Social Enterprise movement and has provided homes to over 6500 households across Canada.
Options received numerous awards and honours over the 25 years that Mike was responsible for its growth. The first the CMHC Affordable Housing Award in 2002. The City of Toronto the named Mike an Affordable Housing Champion in 2010. In 2008, Mike was name winner of the Canadian Urban Institute Local Hero Award. The Alumni Achievement award by the University of Waterloo in 2014. In 2015, he received the City Builder Award from the Canadian Urban Institute as and received the EY Entrepreneur of the Year for social entrepreneurs. Mike was also a recipient of a Meritorious Service Medal from the Governor General of Canada in 2016.
Options began expanding its business model to other social enterprises in 2009: car-sharing cooperative, Options for Cars, green energy division, Options for Green Energy, international homes division, Options International, and the Community Wealth Non-Profit, a non-profit social enterprise that acts as a financing agent for the social enterprise community.
Six countries across the world are now applying the Options model, including Kenya, Cameroon and many others. Mike, as CEO of Options International has assisted in the construction of over 50 homes internationally.
In 2014, Mike started working with a group in Baffin Island, Nunavut in hopes to bring the Options’ Model up north. With an extremely high unemployment rate, Mike shifted his focus to developing employment rather than housing. Since then, he has become the President of First Fish; a non-profit working directly with the Inuit fishers of Pangnirtung with the goal of providing full employment for the community.
In 2018, Mike left Options for Homes Non-profit Corporation (Greater Toronto Area) to launch his current endeavour Home Opportunities Non-profit Corporation that in 2020 began working with the Community Wealth Workforce Housing Coalition to develop poverty reducing hubs throughout Ontario. The Coalition includes organizations like the Meridian Credit Union, the United Way, the YMCA, the Canadian Mental Health Association and many other organizations developing a scalable solution to address the issue of poverty. They are currently working on 5,000 units worth or potential developments that will provide ownership opportunities to households with incomes between $30,000 and $65,000 per year.