Shelby White, MCIP, RPP Planner Development Services 705-739-4220 x4517
Staff Report: Affordable Housing Monitoring Report 2018, 2019 and 2020
The City's Affordable Housing Strategy aims to encourage, stimulate and increase the supply and range of affordable housing options to meet the needs of our residents, at all income levels and stages of life.
City of Barrie's Affordable Housing Strategy (AHS), completed in 2015, is a 10-year plan based on the
County of Simcoe’s Affordable Housing Strategy.
The strategy examined the 2013 housing situation in Barrie and recommended a series of action items.
The County of Simcoe is the designated service manager for the City under the Housing Services Act, 2011. The County is responsible for planning, funding and managing social housing programs and homelessness services. The City can encourage and facilitate the provisions of affordable housing through initiatives, programs and policies however, the City does not provide or manage housing.
The City’s goal was to create 840 affordable units by 2024.
The AHS recommends a variety of action items including short-, mid- and long-term items. The strategy recommended revisions to the Official Plan including:
The City recognizes there is a shortage of affordable housing, in particular affordable
rental housing. Barrie is not alone in this, and the City is working on several initiatives to address this problem.
The City has updated the Second Suites policy and laws to allow existing property owners to register secondary rental units more quickly and easily.
This initiative also results in an increased supply of housing which increases the vacancy rate and results in lower rental costs (supply goes up, demand goes down).
Simcoe County is helping with this initiative by offering
grants to eligible property owners encouraging them to add second suites to their properties. The City has improved this process by having fewer zoning requirements and has streamlined the process to create second suites.
One of the
Official Plan’s goals is to have at least 10% of all new residential development be affordable housing. We require developers to submit a report showing how this is addressed in their developments and continually look at ways to improve implementation of this policy.
When a development proposes greater density or height than permitted the City
by-laws, the City has policies that allow
Planning Services to ask for community benefits. One of these benefits includes allocation of units or funds for affordable housing, allowing for funds to be used for affordable housing.
The City has been an early leader in progressively reducing the tax ratio for multi-residential units by approximately 25% annually. This is a significant tax-based support that encourages residential rentals in Barrie and is now being looked at as a good policy to implement throughout Ontario.
Some of the above initiatives will not be immediately felt as it takes some time for the effects of changes to be realized.
872 affordable units total as of December 31, 2020.
The City has surpassed the goal of 840 affordable housing units, due largely to the number of new unfunded second suites. Only 14% of the affordable housing units are purpose-built, primary rental units, which shows more focus is needed in this area.
$1,777,780 in Affordable Housing Development Grants was awarded in 2020 under the City’s
Community Improvement Plan for future housing units.
More detail: Affordable Housing Monitoring Report (Reporting Period: January 2018 toDecember 2020)
768 affordable units total as of December 31, 2019. This is comprised of 48 affordable homeownership units and 720 rental units (including 455 second suites).
575 affordable units total as of December 31, 2018. This is comprised of 43 affordable homeownership units and 532 rental units (including 294 second suites).
AFFORDABLE HOUSING MONITORING REPORT 2018, 2019 AND 2020
Council approved the following:
AFFORDABLE HOUSING TASK FORCE
Council approved a motion that included the establishment of an Affordable Housing Task Force. The task force will be mandated to report to General Committee by the end of 2021 with a plan to co-ordinate County, City, and charitable/not-for-profit housing projects and policies, to aggressively expand the supply of affordable housing, with particular emphasis on addressing the hardest to house. The task force will provide updates via memorandum to Council in June, 2021 and September, 2021.
MODULAR SUPPORTIVE HOUSING PROJECT - VESPRA STREET
Council approved a motion that a Capital Project be added to the 2021 Capital Plan entitled “Modular Supportive Housing Project - Vespra Street” with funding of $3 million (inclusive of the $500,000 estimated to be required for soil remediation).
Council also directed that staff in the Corporate Facilities, Development Services and Legal Services Departments in consultation with the County of Simcoe issue a call for proposals for a service provider to construct and manage the build and operate the housing units, and that staff report back to the
General Committee with the results of the proposals received.
SUPPORT FOR THE REDWOOD PARK COMMUNITIES APPLICATION TO THE CANADA MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION - RAPID HOUSING INITIATIVE
In December 2020, Council endorsed their support of the applications made by the County of Simcoe and by Redwood Park Communities for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)
Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) funding that addresses urgent housing needs of vulnerable Canadians. These submissions are currently being reviewed by CMHC.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING ON SURPLUS CITY OWNED PROPERTIES - NEXT STEPS TO BE TAKEN (WARD 2)
Council approved a motion that the Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessment and Geotechnical Review completed by WSP Canada Inc. Staff were also directed to engage with social and non-profit housing providers, and report
back to General Committee with the results of the consultation and recommend the next steps to be taken to dispose of the Subject Properties to a Housing Provider for the creation of affordable housing.
PROPOSED OFFICIAL PLAN AMENDMENT AND ZONING BY-LAW AMENDMENT: SECOND SUITES PERMISSIONS IN THE GEORGIAN NEIGHBOURHOOD STUDY BOUNDARY AREA (WARDS 1, 2 AND 3)
In January 2020, Council passed By-law Number 2020-017 (OPA No. 072) & By-law Number 2020-018 to lift the restriction on second suites in the
Georgian College Neighbourhood Study Boundary Area.
CITY INITIATED AMENDMENTS TO COMPREHENSIVE ZONING BY-LAW 2009-141
In November 2019, Council approved By-law Number 2019-115 which amended the Zoning By-law and made it easier to build a second suite and provide other forms of affordable housing by:
SURPLUSSING OF CITY OWNED PROPERTIES FOR THE CREATION OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING - 65 VESPRA STREET AND 70 AND 72 VICTORIA STREET (WARD 2)
Council approved a motion that 65 Vespra Street and 70 & 72 Victoria Street be declared surplus to the needs of The Corporation of the City of Barrie, that the environmental studies and related work necessary to determine the development potential of the subject properties be undertaken, and that staff be directed to develop terms for a public tender process subsequent to the completion of the environmental studies.
Affordable housing encompasses a range of housing types allowing all residents to find suitable living space without spending a disproportionate percentage of their income. It can include ownership, rental or social housing.
Affordable Housing is defined by the Provincial Policy Statement as well as the City’s
Official Plan as:
Affordable housing is a complex and multi-faceted issue. No single level of government or element is the cause or can be held responsible for the solution. It is all of our collective efforts that will generate results.
Housing is a basic and fundamental need. Access to safe, affordable and adequate housing promotes:
Housing is an essential factor for health and wellness. Research shows that people who experience stable, secure and affordable housing are better able to manage their health situations for positive outcomes. Though everyone experiences the same spectrum of illness, the severity and frequency of illness in people who are homeless is much higher. Stability and affordability of housing helps people maintain the level of care they need through the ability to purchase healthier foods, follow a prescribed diet, attend follow-up medical appointments and manage medications.
Having a home increases a resident’s opportunity to participate in the social and economic fabric of our community. Access to needed health and social services, ability to fully participate in the work force and even influence the decisions made by various levels of governments all become a possibility.
Affordable housing has a long-lasting impact on our city’s future success by building a strong foundation of education in our youth. Research shows a correlation between poor quality housing and the ability to focus at school, which has many negative impacts for children: increased stress, frequent absenteeism and lack of participation all lead to poor academic performance.
Affordable housing is closely linked to economic status. For instance, Barrie is a tourist destination with an abundance of winter and summer activities, making it an important source for economic stability. However, people working within this sector often earn minimum wage. Lack of affordable living options for people earning minimum wage puts our tourism and hospitality sector at risk.
Affordable housing affects more than the hospitality industry. Barrie is constantly aiming to diversify its labour market by introducing more industry and economic opportunity. Both labour and housing availability are key considerations in business location decisions. Businesses need a ready labour supply to function, yet there must be affordable housing options for labourers moving to work for that business.
Creating affordable housing for our citizens will foster a sense of personal and public safety. Spending too much of one’s income on housing means less money for basic needs like food and clothing. To make up for the shortfall, some people may turn to petty theft, public begging and even prostitution. More affordable housing options would minimize the risk of these broader social issues.
Affordable housing creates a more inclusive environment for everyone regardless of age, sex, income level, ability, socio/economic standing, family type or national origin.
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