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.
Halton Regional Council is committed to ensuring that you are informed about our priorities and the management of your tax dollars. Our Citizens’ Report 2013 provides a progress report on both.
I am very proud of what we have accomplished over the past year. According to our most recent survey, Halton residents rate the overall quality of life in Halton very high at 99%, which is above the national average. Satisfaction with Halton Regional services is also very high, with 97% of Halton residents satisfied with the job that the Region is doing.
The very high satisfaction rating further supports the achievements of the Action Plan priority areas. Here are just a few highlights from this year’s report:
Maintained a strong, sustainable financial position, including an AAA credit rating while minimizing impacts on you the taxpayer. In fact, on average, we have had a 0% tax increase over the past eight years.
Transportation and Infrastructure
Increased investment in regional roads of $289 million and approved a Development Financing Plan that ensures growth pays for itself. Planning for and investing in our infrastructure is critical to ensure we can meet the needs of our growing community now and in the future, with minimal impact to taxpayers.
894 new affordable/assisted housing units built since 2007. Launched the Halton Housing Help service providing online, telephone and in-person support for people searching for affordable housing. In partnership with our federal and provincial partners, we updated the Comprehensive Housing Strategy, Halton’s 10 year roadmap for delivering affordable and assisted housing.
Municipalities receive only 11 per cent of every tax dollar. With this small amount, we provide cost effective and high quality programs and services that touch your life daily. Through our Advocating for a Strong Halton campaign, we work with the provincial and federal governments to ensure that they are our funding partners in delivering the programs and services that Halton residents have identified as a priority. You can find more information at www.halton.ca/advocacy.
In 2014, we continue to work to ensure that Halton remains a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Craig Kielburger addresses the audience at the Be a Hero awards ceremony.
Several talented Halton youth were recognized at an awards ceremony recently for our annual Be a Hero contest. The awards ceremony for Be a Hero was held on November 21, 2012 and included Craig Kielburger, co-founder of Free The Children and Me to We. Craig‘s message that “one youth can make a world of difference” nicely complemented the impressive contest submissions that were displayed around the room. In Halton, our youth are making a difference and their contest submissions demonstrated they understood the importance of affordable housing and how it impacts people in our community.
In Halton, like many other communities in Ontario and Canada, we are building affordable housing units to ensure that individuals and families have access to safe and stable homes. A healthy community requires a range of housing options that meet the needs of all incomes and stages of life. Youth, single adults, families, seniors, people with disabilities and recent immigrants all face challenges finding housing they can afford. The needs can be hard to see but they do exist. Housing is a complex issue that requires the support and involvement of government, the non-profit sector, the private sector and people in our community.
The top prize for this year’s contest was awarded to a class from Assumption Secondary School in Burlington for a YouTube video entitled “Home.” The class receives $1000 for their submission. The additional prizes were awarded as follows:
2nd Place – Cheryl Joseph from Iroquois Ridge High School (Oakville) for her poem “The Hard Way” ($500)
3rd Place – Kylie Pinder from Nelson High School (Burlington) for her 3D model display “Everyone Deserves a Home” ($250)
4th Place – Mayuri Mahendran from Iroquois Ridge High School (Oakville) for the book “A Place to Call Home” ($100)
5th Place – A group of students from Craig Kielburger Secondary School (Milton) for their YouTube video about a youth struggling to find a home (Andrew Annis, Stephen Groulx-Mustafa, Sarah MacKay and Celena MacMaster) ($100)
Be a Hero Spirit Award – Iroquois Ridge High School for the highest number of participants in the contest
I congratulate all the contest participants for helping to raise awareness about the importance of affordable housing in Halton. Halton Region is committed through the Citizens’ Priorities – Halton Region’s 2011-2014 Action Plan to providing housing supports to address the needs of low income residents in Halton. To learn more about this and Halton Region’s Comprehensive Housing Strategy visit www.halton.ca. To view my video blog about affordable and assisted housing, visit www.halton.ca/housingvideo.
YouTube videos submitted to this year’s contest are posted on the Be a Hero YouTube channel which can be accessed through www.halton.ca/beahero.
Affordable and Assisted Housing is a priority in Halton’s Citizens’ Priorities 2011-2014 Action Plan. Providing housing supports to address the needs of low income residents is an important issue that requires commitment, investment and response from multiple levels of government and partnerships with community agencies.
On October 19, representatives from all levels of government joined the residents of Aldershot Village Residence in Burlington for a ribbon cutting, tours and an official opening ceremony.
On November 15 we will gather again to celebrate the official opening of Martin House Seniors Residence in Milton. Together these two buildings add 145 units of assisted housing for seniors to our community.
Martin House Seniors Residence and Aldershot Village Residence are shining examples of how all levels of government can come together to meet the needs of our growing community.
I had the opportunity to meet many residents of Aldershot Village and I’m very proud of the positive feedback they have about their new building and the sense of community that lives within it. Working together, we all make Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.