County releases Affordable Housing Strategy and announces plans for 22 new rental units

Cobourg, ON – March 20, 2019 – Northumberland County has finalized an Affordable Housing Strategy that is designed to address challenges in a market of rising housing prices and a vacancy rate of approximately 1 per cent. Actions outlined in the strategy target expansion of the community’s available rental stock as well as increased diversity of the overall housing supply, based on an assessment of local need.

“As the local systems manager for housing and homelessness, ensuring both the availability and the affordability of housing are important priorities for Northumberland County,” states Warden John Logel. “This strategy will equip the County and member municipalities with specific tools and tactics to encourage the development of additional rental and ownership units, and expand the range of affordable housing options for our community.”

The average household income in Northumberland is below the provincial average, making affordability a critical issue, with the need for accessible and supportive housing also identified. The Affordable Housing Strategy outlines targets to address these issues, proposing that the construction of approximately 900 new affordable units by public, private and non-profit providers by the end of 2029 is what is required to meet the level of need. Of these units:

  • 65 would be rental units affordable to households with low incomes;
  • 18 would be rental units and 7 would be ownership units affordable to households with moderate incomes; and
  • 23 would be units with support services and 14 would be accessible units for individuals with physical or cognitive disabilities, or mental health issues.

Recognizing that the County’s seven member municipalities are the leads for many of the instruments proposed for incentivizing the creation of rental stock—including development charges, property taxes, and permits—Council has directed staff, as a next step, to work with each municipality to understand the feasibility of implementation and to develop individual companion strategies.

Demonstrating a commitment to moving forward with concrete actions, the County also announced today plans for the redevelopment of social housing on Elgin Street East in Cobourg in order to increase the number of Rent-Geared-to-Income (RGI) and affordable market rental housing units at this location from 18 to 40. The new four– and six-plex buildings will add to the County’s existing complement of 344 social housing units throughout Northumberland. While timelines for this project will depend on factors such as funding from other levels of government, an application has already been submitted to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation for Seed Funding to cover the cost of pre-development work such as engineering studies.

“Through the development of the Affordable Housing Strategy as well as other housing and homelessness plans on which we rely, we have worked with the community to better understand the specific housing needs of our residents, and to develop strategic actions to address these needs,” states CAO Jennifer Moore. “The Elgin Park Redevelopment Project responds to a critical need for additional RGI and affordable market rental housing in our community, and we look forward to working with our government and community partners to achieve progress on this important project.”

Created in collaboration with SHS Consulting Inc., the Northumberland County Affordable Housing Strategy was informed by government statistical data and information gathered through recent plans, reports and surveys, as well as consultation with member municipalities, community partners and members of the public. The strategy is available at NorthumberlandCounty.ca/ AffordableHousingStrategy.

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