Task force takes steps to create housing

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The fledgling Clearview Affordable Housing Task Force is taking steps to register as a not-for-profit in order to be eligible for funding opportunities that may come along.

The initiative evolved out of an effort by the Clearview Ministerial Association – which represents a dozen area churches with combined membership of more than 1,000 congregants – to draw attention to the local need for affordable housing. Since then, members of the faith community have invited all community members to join in their mission to create housing options.

As the housing crisis worsens, members of the faith community are seeing a rise in food bank use and are all too aware of people who don’t have stable housing.

Dennis Ball, a pastor at Sixth Line Church, is helping to steer the committee. “We are worried about this,” said Ball. “From a Christian perspective we want families to flourish and part of that is having the security of a home.”

His church supports people who need help paying their bills and are in need of food, whether due to income or illness. He said these are necessary band- aid solutions to get people though lean times, but there is a need for long-term solutions.

According to the Canadian Housing Market Report, the average home price in Ontario is $889,033, and the average monthly rental price is $2,410.

Ball sees young couples trying to find a house and understands that even with education and good jobs, they struggle to plan for the future or children because they are unable to find housing.

He said the creation of housing is a big task but he compares it to eating an elephant, one bite at a time.
“We see the problem and we want to do our bit,” said Ball. “This is a way to unite and to focus our betterment of community to help in our little corner of the world.”

He said when the task force started reaching out to other non-profits that had successfully established housing in other communities, they found people who were willing to share information and resources but weren’t able to find any that were available to partner on a local project, so once again they realized they had to take matters into their own hands.

The advice they received was to register as a not-for-profit as the only viable option to apply for government grants and other funding.

Ball said the ultimate goal is to secure funding to purchase a property with an existing structure that could be converted into multi-purpose housing, a mix of units for singles, seniors and families.

“It’s necessary,” said Ball. “We’re all excited about seeing this vision realized.” He said the task force looks forward to working with all three levels of government and welcomes everyone who wants to contribute to the effort. The task force is now in the early stages of registering as a not-for-profit and are looking for volunteers who have experience with the application process and professionals who can contribute legal and accounting services.

The next meeting is at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 13, at Jubilee Presbyterian Church, 7320 Highway 26, Stayner. Future meetings will be posted on the Sixth Line Church’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

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