Northumberland County Announces Affordable Housing Strategy

In Community, Editor Choice

Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
With local housing prices at an all-time high and a chronic lack of vacant rental units, affordable housing is an issue of concern throughout the local community.
A press release from Northumberland County offered specifics.
The average vacancy rate for Northumberland County is about 1%, compared to the 3% considered to be a healthy vacancy rate. As well, the average resale price of a local home has increased by more than $100,000 since 2016.
The press release announced an initiative that aims to generate solutions to this challenge with the creation of an Affordable Housing Strategy.
“As part of this strategy, we seek to better understand the specific housing needs of our residents, and to develop strategic actions to address these housing needs,” director of community and social services Lisa Horne stated in the bulletin.
“This is an important priority for the county, aligned with our existing housing and homelessness strategies.”
Horne said the plan is to present a draft framework at the September county council meeting, and to have the final strategy completed in January 2019.
SHS Consulting Inc. has been contracted to work with the county on this initiative, designed to relieve some of the current market pressures and stimulate the development of public, private and non-profit rental housing.
Recognizing that the county’s seven member municipalities are the leads for many of the instruments that could be used to incentivize the creation of rental stock — including development charges, property taxes, and permits — the strategy will include specific data collection, needs assessments and strategies for each municipality. Member municipalities will be key partners in the development and implementation of the strategy.
“Our housing and homelessness plans are rooted in the principle of Housing First – that people can only focus on other elements of self-sustainability, such as employment, appropriate medical attention and family management, once they have a stable home from which to build,” County Warden Mark Lovshin indicated.
“A home for everyone is key, and this strategy will equip the county and member municipalities with specific tools and incentives to encourage the development of additional rental units for our community, across varying levels of affordability.”
As part of this important work, a survey will be released to the public on May 22, seeking feedback from Northumberland residents about their thoughts on the current state of housing in the community, their own current housing situation and any ideas they may have for improvement.
The survey will be available on-line, and will remain open to the public until Monday, June 18. For more information, and to complete a survey, visit www.NorthumberlandCounty.ca/HousingServices.

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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