The County of Simcoe has released its seventh annual report card on Housing Our Future: 2020 Annual Report, to measure and evaluate the implementation of recommendations contained in the Our Community 10-Year Affordable Housing and Homelessness Prevention Strategy.
“The County has been aggressively working on its ten-year strategy to address affordable housing and homelessness prevention needs within our communities since 2014,” said Simcoe County warden George Cornell. “I am incredibly proud to say that despite the unique challenges we faced throughout the majority of 2020, we worked with our area partners to create 491 new affordable housing units in Simcoe County over a 12-month period. Since 2014, we have created 2,364 new units and achieved 88 per cent of our target of 2,685 new units by 2024. We understand that the need for affordable housing is growing and staff are working extremely hard on a number of large developments and innovative strategies to support our residents and communities.”
New affordable housing units are created through a variety of methods.
These include, rent supplements and housing allowance, Ontario Renovates and Secondary Suites programs, affordable home ownership programs, and new affordable rental development.
Funding for the affordable housing strategy comes from a variety of sources including the County of Simcoe, the Cities of Barrie and Orillia, and the federal and provincial governments.
The strategy is divided into three phases with a target of 895 new affordable housing units in each phase.
This allows the County to revisit and an evaluate progress at the end of each phase of the ten-year strategy.
Phase 2 of the strategy ended on December 31, 2020.
In the period from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2020, the County and its partners were able to create 1,347 new units.
“As we enter the third and final phrase of our ten-year strategy, we have a lot to look forward to including the new affordable housing project in Bradford just announced and the ongoing Orillia hub project, which build on recent new developments in other areas of the County,” said Greg Bishop, general manager of social and community services. “The strategic direction that County Council gave us on these projects means that we are well set up to continue hitting our targets as they approach and give more affordable housing options to those who need them.”
The County's strategy will continue to focus on supporting residents through maximizing funding, achieving targets, and working with area partners to create affordable housing units for residents across the County.
Brian Lockhart, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Tecumseth Times