As mayor one of my top priorities will be to convene a ‘Mayor’s Taskforce on Affordable Housing’ to bring together developers, real estate industry representatives, social housing groups, County representatives and interested community members to ensure that we look at all the issues as we move this agenda forward.
I will press senior levels of government for resources, partner with the private sector and create policy tools to provide affordable housing to meet the needs of various groups in the community. Policytools include:
- a municipal land acquisition / surplus policy that gives 1st priority to housing needs,
- waiving parkland fees and development charges
- deferring taxes
- expedited planning approval processes
It is said we will face an affordable housing crisis as our population ages. In fact we are facing an affordable housing crisis now that reaches far beyond our seniors population. Residents of all ages are finding it difficult to find affordable housing of any sort. Rents in the past year have risen beyond the reach of many and owning a home is a distant dream.
Approximately 3000 homes to be built in Midland over the next 10 years are in various stages of planning approval. Most of these will not meet the needs of a growing number of residents who have special needs or lack resources to own or rent a conventional home
- Seniors who can no longer manage and are unable to find supportive facilities
- Low income families (18.6% in Midland up from 11 % in 2006)
- Disadvantaged people who need transitional housing
- Homeless andyouth at risk
What can we do in Midland?
- Create a municipal land acquisition / surplus policy that frees up land for affordable housing, e.g. Town properties no longer needed, e.g., former Ops Centre.
- Defer property taxes, waive parkland fees and development charges for affordable housing
- Create inclusionary zoning policies requiring future developments to include specific percentages of affordable homes, mixed income neighbourhoods
- Introduce higher taxes on vacant land already approved for housing
- Harness the expertise of the Midland Bay Service Corp. to lead the development of a spectrum of affordable housing
- Seek out and encourage private sector developers to build specialized facilities, e.g., the Jarlette Seniors Complex planned for King St and include affordable housing as part of the mix in new communities
Simcoe County Announces Funding for Seniors Housing
We will go after funding from senior levels of government. The federal government recognized the need and pledged $40 Billion would be spent over the next ten years, with $13.2 Billion going to affordable housing building and repairs. The province provides some policy tools that empower municipalities to develop taxation, planning and land management policies that can increase the supply of affordable housing, e.g., vacant land tax, inclusionary zoning, second units.
The County of Simcoe has approved $500,000 in annual funding towards the Age-Friendly Seniors Housing Grant program. According to a release issued by the County on September 5th, the new program will support eligible applicants in creating age-friendly housing through renovations or new housing developments. Grants will be awarded under three streams: accessible housing design; housing that incorporates support services for older adults; and design for individuals suffering from dementia.
Applicants eligible for these grants include those completing housing projects located within Simcoe County (excluding the cities of Barrie and Orillia). Applicants can be homeowners of principle residences or developers, who wish to include accessible, adaptable and inclusive design modifications for occupants aged 60 or over. Grant amounts will be distributed based on the number of applications received and ability to meet funding criteria.
The deadline for 2018 application submissions is November 30th, 2018. For further details, or to apply to the Age-Friendly Housing Seniors Grant program please visit http://www.simcoe.ca/LongTermCare/Pages/Age-Friendly-Seniors-Housing-Grant-Program.aspx .
More affordable housing is essential if we are to make Midland a prosperous and livable community. I look forward to the opportunity of working with the new Town Council to ensure we move ahead towards this goal.
Resources on Affordable Housing:
30 on 30 Affordable Housing transition brief http://on360.ca/30-30/ontario-360-affordable-housing-transition-briefing/Simcoe Countyhttps://www.simcoe.ca/dpt/sh/apply-for-the-homeownership-program
Ontario and affordable housing https://www.reminetwork.com/articles/ontario-municipalities-affordable-housing/
Federal Government and Affordable housing https://fcm.ca/home/issues/affordable-housing.htm
Barrie got money to build affordable unitshttps://globalnews.ca/news/4172405/barrie-affordable-housing-rebates/
Simcoe County Positive Aging Strategy