Addressing the housing shortage in Haliburton County
Published May 14, 2018
There is a severe shortage of housing for the “missing middle” in Haliburton County. The missing middle are those who don’t qualify or don’t want subsidized housing and can’t afford much of what’s on the market.
The need is particularly high for small units – six per cent of the housing stock is one-bedroom and 76 per cent of our population is one- and two-person households who need that size accommodation.
Rental stock is also in very short supply – only 13 per cent of the county’s housing stock is rental, compared to 30 per cent in Ontario.
And rents are high – higher than in many larger centres; a one-bedroom unit, utilities included, rents on average for $871 a month, which is considered unaffordable to a household with an income of less than $2,900/mo.
Twenty-nine per cent of the county population, almost 2,500 people, has less than that income.
The Minden Hills Housing Task Force focused on small, affordable rental units for two years, and concluded that the market is unlikely to deliver what’s needed.
It is fully occupied building upscale housing and has little motivation to build houses with a smaller profit margin. The task force is challenging the people who need this kind of housing to join with others to make it happen.
The task force identified four kinds of housing that may be affordable but is not currently available in the community – secondary and garden suites, a cluster of tiny houses, housing mixed with retail on main streets, and a multi-faceted retirement complex. It invites the public to attend an all-day drop-in public consultation on Saturday, May 19, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Minden Hills Council Chambers to talk in more depth about these options. (Refreshments available.)
The intent is to identify citizens who want affordable housing enough to put their name on a work committee to collectively move the housing of choice from an idea to a plan to implementation.
To prime the pump, the task force is hosting a call-in show on Canoe FM at 11 to 11:45 a.m. on Wednesday and Thursday of this week, exploring in more detail main-street housing and the seniors’ complex. The discussions of last week about the other two options are on podcasts on the Canoe FM website.
For those particularly interested in tiny houses, Joe Wills of Barry’s Bay Tiny Homes will attend the consultation and share his extensive information about this exciting approach to affordable – and environmentally friendly – housing.
Let’s talk housing. Let’s make housing happen.
Submitted by Minden Hills Housing Task Force