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.
In May 2022, the City of Barrie released its annual report that monitors affordable housing trends and progress made in 2021, as well as a report card that evaluates the City’s success in achieving the recommendations of the AHS. See 2021 Affordable Housing Monitoring Report & Affordable Housing Strategy Update.
While a number of achievements have been made, housing needs continue to rise. For this reason, the City is undertaking an update to the Affordable Housing Strategy.
The 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.
Each year, the City takes stock of progress made to meet the affordable housing targets set in the strategy.
Understanding the City's Role in Affordable Housing
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.
Laying the Foundation for Affordable 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:
- amending the existing Second Suites policies to increase permissions for this housing form;
- the addition of new policies regarding applications for condominium conversions;
- the addition of new policies regarding the purchase and sale of City lands for affordable housing;
- the addition of new policies including affordable housing in Community Improvement Plans; and
- the addition of new policies permitting the temporary use of garden suites for 20 years.
Creating Affordable Rental Units
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.
Some of the above initiatives will not be immediately felt as it takes some time for the effects of changes to be realized.
965 Affordable Units as of December 31, 2021 (114.9% of 840 unit goal)
Last updated April 9, 2021. Affordable housing units are counted when they are move-in ready. Units counted include those that the City can be certain will remain affordable over
time such as social housing units, housing created with government funding, units
owned or operated by housing providers, and a percent of second suites.
"Affordable Housing" Defined
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:
In the case of home ownership, the least expensive of:
- housing for which the purchase price results in annual accommodation costs which do not exceed 30% of gross income for low to moderate income households; or
- housing for which the purchase price is at least 10% below the average purchase price of a resale unit in the regional market area.
In the case of rental housing, the least expensive of:
- a unit for which the rent does not exceed 30% of gross annual income for low to moderate income households; or
- a unit for which rent is at or below the average market rent of a unit within the regional market area.
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.
Affordable Housing Means a Thriving Future
Housing is a basic and fundamental need. Access to safe, affordable and adequate housing promotes: