Courtesy of the County of Simcoe
The County of Simcoe has released its seventh annual report card, Housing Our Future: 2020 Annual Report, to measure and evaluate the implementation of recommendations contained in 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 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, such as:
- Rent supplements and housing allowances ($1.86 million)
- Ontario Renovates and Secondary Suites programs ($1.3 million)
- Affordable homeownership programs ($347,700 in affordable homeownership down-payment supports)
- New affordable rental development ($40.3 million investments; $80 million approved for future new developments)
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 strategy is divided into three phases (2014-2017, 2018-2020, and 2021-2024) with a target of 895 new affordable housing units in each phase. This allows the County to revisit and evaluate progress at the end of each phase of the ten-year strategy. December 31, 2020, marked the end of Phase 2, enabling staff to update progress for this Phase. In the period ranging from January 1, 2018-December 31, 2020, the County and its partners were able to create 1,347 new units – 150% of the target identified for that period at the end of the previous phase.
“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. More information on this can be found at simcoe.ca/ourahhps.
The County of Simcoe is composed of sixteen member municipalities and provides crucial public services to County residents in addition to providing paramedic and social services to the separated cities of Barrie and Orillia. Visit our website at simcoe.ca.