County releases annual report card on 10-Year Affordable Housing and Homelessness Prevention Strategy

 In Community

The County of Simcoe has released its eighth annual report card, Housing Our Future: 2021 Annual Report, to measure and evaluate the implementation of recommendations contained in Our Community 10-Year Affordable Housing and HomelessnessPrevention Strategy.

The strategy sets a minimum goal of 2,685 new affordable housing units between 2014 and 2024. By December 31, 2021, the county reported that 2,531 new units had been created since 2014, 94 per cent of the way to its overall target.

“We know that over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, housing has become more challenging for many people due to rising house prices and rental rates,” said Warden George Cornell. “We recognize that the need continues to grow, that is why County Council has been so supportive in the delivery of increased affordable housing stock across the County. This includes three new builds in various stages of progress in Orillia, Bradford West Gwillimbury, and Barrie, which will provide at least 330 new homesthat are affordable to residents in those communities once complete.”

Highlights of the Housing Our Future: 2021 Annual Report include:

• Creation of 167 new units in 2021;

• County council approved a $28.4 million project in Bradford by Simcoe County Housing Corporation to develop a mixed family and seniors building, in partnership with the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury;

• The Building Hope Project by The Lighthouse, which received contributions from the federal and provincial governments, County of Simcoe, City of Orillia, and community fundraising, opened its doors in August 2021; creating 20 self-contained units of supportive housing and 40 new shelter beds for men and women, plus a 5-bedroom youth wing on a 2.4- acre property in Orillia;

• Distribution of $1.29 million in rent supplement/ housing allowance subsidies;

• Distribution of $377,200 in affordable homeownership down-payment supports;

• Funding and distribution of over $1.3 million for Secondary Suites and for urgent home repairs;

• Funding for the affordable housing strategy comes from a variety of sources, including the County of Simcoe, the Cities of Barrie and Orillia, and Governments of Canada and Ontario.

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. More information on this can be found at simcoe.ca/ourahhps.

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