‘Taking stock’ on National Housing Day: Growing safe and affordable housing stock in Northumberland

In Local

On this National Housing Day, Northumberland County is taking stock of the growing demand within our community for safe, stable, and affordable housing; reflecting on both the pressing need – and also the progress to date – to grow the local stock of affordable housing and ensure everyone finds a place to call home.

Figures on the state of housing locally reveal:
· Northumberland residents face one of the lowest vacancy rates in Ontario at just one per cent, and are grappling with higher rental cost compared to neighbouring communities.

· A staggering 18 per cent of local residents allocate over 30 per cent of their income to housing, nine per cent fall into the low-income bracket, and 19 per cent rely on rental accommodations.

· The waitlist for community housing has surged to more than 1,000 households, with 391 names added in the last year alone.

· At any given time, 75 individuals find themselves without shelter in our community, while close to 1,100 shelter and housing benefits were provided to homeless or at-risk residents in 2023.

With these challenges creating risk for many in our community, Northumberland County and the Northumberland County Housing Corporation (NCHC) are actively engaged in increasing the local stock of affordable housing. Northumberland County also continues to work with community partners to combat homelessness, and build a stronger, more resilient community.

“We are diligently working to build better days, safer nights, and brighter futures for individuals and families in Northumberland,” says Warden Mandy Martin. “The County and NCHC are taking significant steps to grow safe, affordable housing and provide residents with much needed access to housing resources.”

As the primary provider of affordable housing services in Northumberland, the NCHC presently manages 373 affordable housing units, offering accessible rent options for those in need. This includes 29 net new affordable housing units added in 2023 in partnership with the County, with an additional 45 units currently in development. Together, the two organizations are also actively pursuing five new properties for growth, and the County is expanding programs such as rent subsidies and capital grants, in support of an ambitious plan to increase overall affordable housing stock by 251 more units over the next three to five years.

A substantial investment of $23 million, contributed by all levels of government – Federal, Provincial, and County – is being directed towards community capital projects to support the planned growth of affordable housing units. All these initiatives are geared towards fostering a safer, more inclusive community, creating a high quality of life for residents.

“Northumberland County Housing Corporation is the leading provider of affordable housing services in Northumberland and is dedicated to fostering inclusive, safe, and vibrant communities,” says Victor Fiume, Chair of NCHC. “The NCHC is committed to strengthening our community, where every individual finds both a place to call home and a profound sense of belonging.”

The County’s commitment also extends beyond housing units, with $2.3 million invested in homelessness system supports in 2023, of which $1.7 million was directed to emergency shelter services.

“Northumberland County staff is committed to providing supportive and affordable housing for our most vulnerable residents,” states Warden Martin. “While we are making significant strides, we recognize that there remains significant need. It is crucial for all levels of government and the community to continue collaborating and seeking innovative solutions to the current housing crisis.

Only through our collective efforts can we deliver more impactful solutions to assist those who need it most.”

Taking Stock

Every number tells a story. The attached infographic helps to understand the need for affordable housing and how Northumberland County and Northumberland County Housing Corporation are growing the stock of safe, affordable housing in our community.

Building Brighter Futures
View a powerful video in the words of Northumberland County Housing Corporation (NCHC) tenants on what affordable housing means to them: Northumberland.ca/BuildingBrighterFutures. (Note: At the time of video production, NCHC housing stock included 366 units. Since that time, an additional seven net new units have been added, bringing the total to the 373 units referenced in this release).

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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