New investments in Halton will increase housing opportunities

Delivering new, affordable and assisted housing opportunities is one of Regional Council’s strategic priorities, and this commitment is an essential part of building healthy and inclusive communities in Halton.

In recent weeks I have attended two events that highlighted the important issue of affordable housing in Halton. On October 28, I joined the Honourable Kevin Flynn (MPP Oakville), the Honourable ) Eleanor McMahon (MPP Burlington) and the Honourable Indira Naidoo-Harris (MPP Halton) as they announced that Halton will receive over $10 million in provincial funding through the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative (CHPI).

CHPI funding is used to support various initiatives in Halton including:

  •  the Emergency Shelter program;
  • the Housing with Related Supports program (formerly the Domiciliary Hostel program which supports 152 beds);
  • our Housing Stability Fund which keeps Halton residents housed by providing first/last month’s rent, utility assistance and moving/storage costs;  and,
  • our Halton Housing Help service, which helps residents obtain housing in Halton Region’s private market place and supports landlords to provide affordable housing opportunities.

Regional Council has also enhanced CHPI funding with an additional $550,000 in 2016-17 to assist our efforts to create more affordable housing options and supports in our community.

On November 1, I joined Halton Community Housing Corporation (HCHC) board members and staff as they celebrated 15 years of service to the community. HCHC plays an important role providing property and tenant management services including life enrichment activities to families and older adults living in 32 Regionally-owned, assisted housing communities.

The Region invests $35.9 million annually in our social infrastructure through Halton’s Comprehensive Housing Strategy (2014-2024) which provides affordable and assisted housing options for eligible residents. Between 2008 and the end of 2016, the Region will have established at least 1,323 new affordable or assisted housing opportunities in our community.

We also recently implemented an Assisted Housing Framework (AHF) to acquire ownership of housing units to increase the Region’s stock and ensure a long-term supply of affordable rental housing.  We have acquired 74 condominium units across Halton Region that will be used for assisted housing purposes; the first units will be ready for occupancy early in 2017.

I want to thank the Ontario Government for providing enhancements to the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative which boosts our efforts to provide important housing support and opportunities to Halton residents.

Housing is a joint responsibility that must be delivered with a long-term commitment from all levels of government. By working together to increase assisted and affordable housing opportunities in the community, we are making Halton a great place to live, raise a family and retire.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report”.

Working to prevent and address homelessness in Halton

Together with the community, Halton Region is working to achieve the best possible health and well-being for all residents. As part of the Halton Region Strategic Action Plan 2015-2018, Halton is committed to providing safe, affordable, well-maintained and accessible housing that will help prevent and address homelessness and support the overall health of our community.

Regional Council has a strong track record of investing in affordable and assisted housing opportunities in Halton, and we continue to advocate for funding from other levels of government to assist us in delivering this essential support. Between 2008 and the end of 2016, the Region will have created 1,323 new government-assisted housing opportunities to help put an end to homelessness in Halton.

2300 Walkers Line

Walkers Fields – Burlington

Currently, Halton Region invests $35.9 million annually in social infrastructure through Halton’s Comprehensive Housing Strategy (2014-2024), which lays the framework for continuing to provide government-assisted housing options for low income residents. The Strategy outlines a target of 550-900 new government-assisted housing opportunities for residents over the next decade – one of the most ambitious housing goals in Ontario!

 

As part of the Strategy significant funding has been allocated to proactively address housing in Halton through investments in the following areas:

  • $26.2 million annually in assisted housing options for residents with low incomes;
  • $21.1 million allocated to social housing;
  • $3.7 million in rent supplements and housing allowances;
  • $910,000 for homelessness prevention; and
  • $540,000 for community programs for transitional emergency housing supports.
1531 Sixth Line

Donaghey Square – Oakville

To help lower the risk of homelessness in the Halton community, the Region continues to provide a wide range of housing services and supports. These include subsidized housing (rent-geared-to-income and the Rent Supplement Program), portable housing allowances (Halton In-situ Program) and the Housing with Related Supports long-term housing program for individuals with physical or mental health challenges.

 

In addition, Halton has supports in place to help prevent homelessness as a result of personal crises. For example, if residents are facing urgent financial challenges, they can apply for one-time assistance with energy bills and their last month’s rent through the Housing Stability Fund. Halton also funds emergency shelter programs for individuals and families through the Salvation Army, and is a partner in the Safe Beds program, which provides support to homeless adults 16 years of age and older who are experiencing a mental health crisis.

By engaging the private sector and community agencies, encouraging the kind support of volunteers and donors and advocating for long-term support from our federal and provincial partners our community is positioned to meet the housing needs of all residents. Working together, we will ensure that Halton continues to be a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire for everyone.

To learn more about Halton’s range of housing options and services, I encourage you to review our Regional housing services online or dial 311.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report”.

Committed to delivering safe, affordable, accessible housing

As one of Canada’s fastest growing communities, Halton’s population has risen by 35 per cent to over 520,000 residents in the last decade. Under the growth targets set out in the Provincial Places to Grow Act, our region is expected to surpass 750,000 by 2031. In order to accommodate this growth, providing a mix of housing that is affordable for all income levels is critical to ensuring we maintain the healthy and complete Halton communities we have today.

Halton Region has an excellent track record of delivering affordable housing services to residents including access to affordable market housing, subsidized housing (rent-geared-to-income and the Rent Supplement Program), housing with supports (for those in need of physical or mental supports) and an emergency shelter program. The Region invests $26 million annually to provide assisted housing options to low income residents and has created close to 1,000 new affordable/assisted housing opportunities since 2007. We are proud of this important investment in our community to support residents whose wellbeing depends on these important services.

We remain committed to creating more affordable housing in our community to meet the future needs of Halton residents. Through the Comprehensive Housing Strategy Update 2014 – 2024, our 10-year housing roadmap, Halton will invest $107 million to create a minimum of 550 new housing opportunities by 2024. We will achieve this by working closely with the province in an effort to end homelessness in our community.

Access to safe and stable housing is a vital part of a healthy community. As our Region rapidly grows, careful planning and ongoing investment in our affordable housing portfolio will ensure that the future needs of all residents are met and that Halton continues to be a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Halton delivers high quality housing programs

Halton Regional Council is committed to providing safe, affordable and accessible housing to help those in our community that need support. Our housing programs are a critical component of building healthy, inclusive communities in Halton.

Some of the key highlights of Halton Region’s housing programs include:

With our ongoing commitment to provide accessible housing in Halton, I’m proud that we were recently recognized by the Ontario Municipal Social Services Association (OMSSA) and received a Local Municipal Champion Award for our role in the Housing Collaborative Initiative. By partnering with eight municipalities to create a single housing management software application, Halton will be able to:

  • modernize housing operations;
  • reduce administrative costs;
  • improve customer service by automating many manual activities; and
  • support Halton Access to Community Housing (HATCH) applicants by making it possible to apply online for housing.

If you or someone you know is struggling with the cost of housing, I encourage you to look into our Regional Housing Services online or dial 311.

Working together we can support all members of our community and continue to be a great place to live today, tomorrow and in the future.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “the Carr Report”.

The Importance of Partnerships to Create Real and Affordable Housing Solutions

Halton Region recognizes that the provision of safe, affordable, accessible housing is a critical component of fostering healthy communities.  In order to meet the needs of Halton residents, long-term, predictable, sustainable funding for affordable and assisted housing is required from other levels of government.

Halton Region invests $26 million annually to provide assisted housing options for low income residents.  Since 2006, we have invested $19 million in partnership with the Federal and Provincial Governments and have built 265 new housing units in Halton.  The joint funding that made this possible is welcomed, but funding is often time limited and unpredictable, making it difficult for Halton Region to plan ahead.

In 2013, Regional Council approved an update to our Comprehensive Housing Strategy which is now our 10 year Plan on Housing and Homelessness as required by the Provincial Housing Services Act, 2011.  Our ability to implement various aspects of the plan without significant impact to taxpayers in Halton is contingent on a commitment from other levels of government for long-term, predictable and sustainable funding.

As with other challenges facing Halton, we want to ensure that the right amount of funding is in place so we can meet the needs of our growing community.  Halton Region recently launched a new service called Halton Housing Help.  This service connects residents to housing supports available in Halton.  You can access Halton Housing Help support online, by phone (dial 311) and in-person for more complex housing needs (appointments must be booked in advance by dialing 311).

Housing is a joint responsibility and we have been advocating to other levels of government for funding and partnerships to create affordable housing solutions that meet the needs of our community.  Halton Region has created a series of position papers that highlight our advocacy efforts on behalf of Halton residents.  Learn more about our Advocating for a Strong Halton campaign.

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Connecting renters and landlords to housing supports!

Halton is a great place to live and a safe and healthy community is essential to a high quality of life.  Access to affordable housing is important and ensuring supports are in place to help people meet their housing needs is a priority for Halton Region.  Halton Housing Help is a new service that provides a central access point to housing supports and services in Halton. We offer services for people searching for affordable housing as well as supports to landlords to help them fill rental vacancies and resolve tenant issues.  This is one more avenue that we are working to ensure that Halton residents enjoy a high quality of life and we are confident that the combination of online resources, telephone and one-to-one support will help individuals achieve this.  

You can connect with Halton Housing Help one of three ways.  

  • Online by visiting www.halton.ca/housinghelp to access resources and links to housing supports in Halton including a free rental listing service.
  • You can also dial 311 to speak with Halton Housing Help staff to ask questions about housing programs in Halton.
  • If you have complex housing needs that require more intensive support, you can dial 311 to book an appointment to meet in-person with our intensive housing case manager.  One-to-one support is offered in a different municipality each day of the week. 

The establishment of housing help supports is an action in the Citizen’s Priorities – Halton Region’s Action Plan for 2011 – 2014 and an initiative identified in our recently updated Comprehensive Housing Strategy.  To access Halton Housing Help visit www.halton.ca/housinghelp or dial 311.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Advocating for a Strong Halton

Ensuring a strong future for Halton is a priority for Regional Council.  The Provincial Places to Grow Act mandates Halton Region’s population grow to 780,000 residents by the year 2031. To facilitate this growth and maintain the high quality of life that is currently enjoyed in Halton, without burdening taxpayers with the cost of growth, there are a number of critical commitments required from the Provincial and Federal Governments. 

Advocating for a Strong Halton is a series of documents that highlight Council’s positions on a number of key challenges facing the Region.

The key challenges identified in the advocacy documents include:

tax breakdown

Municipalities only receive 11 per cent of every tax dollar paid and with this small amount we provide high quality, cost effective programs and services that touch the lives of residents every day.  Council is committed to protecting the Region’s taxpayers from the financial impacts of growth and ensuring that the quality services our residents need, are in place.

Halton enjoys a prosperous and growing business community that helps drive the Province’s economic engine and it is Council’s position that a Strong Halton will help to build a strong Ontario.

Without the necessary tools, funding and legislative commitments, we cannot accommodate the growth mandated by the Provincial Government.  Regional Council is committed to ensuring that growth pays for itself and that Halton remains a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”