Affordable housing is directly linked to personal health and the economy. Housing is a fundamental need and recognized human right. People living in poverty are at a higher risk of homelessness and require greater social services and health services. The $7B cost of homelessness and housing insecurity, as reported in The State of Homelessness in Canada 2013, is just one of the costs of poverty.
The availability of affordable, suitable and adequate housing is critical to poverty reduction in the City of Kawartha Lakes and County of Haliburton because of its tremendous influence on individuals, children, families and the community.
The need for affordable housing and homelessness prevention is well documented. Almost 25% of respondents to the 2012 Poverty Reduction Strategy survey from
costs the Canadian economy
over $7 billion annually
I sleep on the couch because there aren’t enough bedrooms for my family.
Resident, City of Kawartha
Haliburton County and 17% from the City of Kawartha Lakes described their housing as unaffordable. Additional supporting information is provided for reference as a companion piece to this action plan.
Based on this information multiple housing recommendations have been identified to meet the need for affordable housing. They are meant to provide realistic, attainable outcomes that result in improved quality of life for residents and greater prosperity for the community. This plan, and the Poverty Reduction Strategy as a whole, is also intended to create opportunities or resources to assist people nearing or at-risk of poverty as preventative measures. Each recommendation includes associated activities, processes, responsibilities, timelines, resources and performance indicators.
The responsibility for most of the recommendations lies with the City and County as they will determine the extent of action and in most cases co-ordinate action. The specific departments or individuals that may participate will need to be identified through appropriate processes. The shared responsibility of individuals, community agencies and other levels of government in poverty reduction was a common theme through the development of the initial strategy report and this Action Plan and their contributions and support for all initiatives will be equally vital to the success of this plan.
1. Meet the affordable housing targets proposed in the Official Plan of the City of Kawartha Lakes of 25% of all new development to be affordable to low and moderate income households while the housing strategy is being completed. Use this as a minimum within the Plan itself; and increase the supply of permanent affordable housing options in the County of Haliburton as per local conditions and local economy.
2. Review the “Building Strong Communities: 10 Year Housing and Homelessness Plan” from a poverty reduction lens and implement its recommendations as appropriate.
3. Develop innovative policies and programs that promote the development of affordable housing projects such as incentives associated with developmental charges and permitting the development of secondary suites and shared housing.
4. Pursue opportunities to expand affordable housing stock.
5. Continue to maintain and enhance existing affordable housing stock.
6. Lobby the provincial and federal governments to renew and/or increase funding for affordable housing construction, rent supplements, retrofit funding and homelessness prevention programs; and lobby the federal government to develop a national housing strategy.
7. Encourage and support community initiatives and programs that address housing needs such as Habitat for Humanity, Places for People, Community Care, Canadian Mental Health Association etc.
8. In partnership with local individuals, related businesses, organizations and/or service clubs create /expand and support home building supply depot sites in the community and at landfill sites that accept and resell for a nominal charge donated new, used or surplus building supplies.
9. Promote community education on the development of secondary suites, building affordable housing, cost cutting measures homeowners can take to reduce utility costs and how to do home repairs.
10.Develop a housing loss/homelessness prevention plan: financial skills coaching and mortgage/rent advice; help with rent arrears and utilities; referrals to supports for physical and mental health, referrals to employment, training and educational programs, and legal services.
11.Establish a central source of affordable housing information and financial support programs, along with a referral service and application assistance.
12.Consider affordable housing needs in all municipal policy-making and land use planning.
13.Develop and enforce by-laws regarding residential property standards, repairs, maintenance and upkeep of rental properties
14.Dedicate staff time and resources to monitor population and household projections and growth, identify priority groups and housing needs, research affordable housing options and report to Council on achievement of the recommendations as outlined in the housing component of this strategy and the 10 Year Housing and Homelessness Plan, as appropriate.