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Affordable Housing Strategy will help unlock opportunities for rental development

Posted on Wednesday May 16, 2018

Survey coming to Northumberland residents May 21 

Cobourg, ON – May 16, 2018 – With local housing prices at an all-time high and a chronic lack of available rental stock, affordable housing options are an issue of concern across the local housing continuum. Northumberland County is seeking to generate solutions to this challenge with the creation of an Affordable Housing Strategy.

“As part of this strategy we seek to better understand the specific housing needs of our residents, and to develop strategic actions to address these housing needs,” states Lisa Horne, Director of Community & Social Services. “This is an important priority for the County, aligned with our existing housing and homelessness strategies. We plan to present a draft framework to County Council in September, with the final strategy completed in January 2019.”

The average vacancy rate for Northumberland County currently sits at 1 per cent compared to a healthy vacancy rate of 3 per cent. Furthermore, the average local resale price of a home has increased over $100,000 since 2016.

SHS Consulting Inc. has been contracted to work with the County in the creation of an Affordable Housing Strategy designed to relieve some of these market pressures, stimulating the development of public, private and non-profit rental housing. Recognizing that the County’s seven member municipalities are the leads for many of the instruments that could be used to incentivize the creation of rental stock—including development charges, property taxes, and permits—the strategy will include specific data collection, needs assessments and strategies for each municipality. Member municipalities will be key partners in the development and implementation of the strategy.

“Our housing and homelessness plans are rooted in the principle of ‘Housing First’ - that people can only focus on other elements of self-sustainability, such as employment, appropriate medical attention, and family management, once they have a stable home from which to build,” indicated County Warden Mark Lovshin. “A home for everyone is key, and this strategy will equip the County and member municipalities with specific tools and incentives to encourage the development of additional rental units for our community, across varying levels of affordability.”

As part of this important work, a survey will be released to the public, seeking feedback from Northumberland residents about their thoughts on the current state of housing in the community, their own current housing situation, and any ideas they may have for improvement.

The survey will be available online as of May 22nd and will remain open to the public until Monday, June 18th. For more information, and to complete a survey once open, visit www.NorthumberlandCounty.ca/HousingServices.

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