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Grey Highlands asked to join regional affordable housing efforts

The plan would see Grey Highlands work together with Southgate, West Grey and Hanover to develop and fund a South Grey Affordable Housing Strategy
Stock photo by bongkarn thanyakij from Pexels

The Municipality of Grey Highlands has been asked to help form a South Grey Affordable Housing Development Corporation.

At its meeting on Aug. 3, Grey Highlands council received a delegation from Township of Southgate CAO Dave Milner and Southgate Housing Committee member Gerry McNalty asking council to consider helping form an affordable housing corporation along with Southgate, the Town of Hanover and Municipality of West Grey.

“We need to create varying amounts of capacity to address this issue,” said Milner. “This is a big deal. We need focused efforts to make these accomplishments.”

If the concept moves forward, the four municipalities would contribute $40,000 to the effort, giving the new corporation a $160,000 budget in the first few years with a goal of adding more municipal partners in future years. 

The concept would see the municipalities work together to create a South Grey Affordable Housing Strategy, which would then lead to the creation of an attainable housing development and mortgage corporation for the local region.

“The proposal is to put ‘housing talk’ into ‘housing actions’,” said Milner.

McNalty said the housing issue is becoming more complex as time goes by. He noted that it impacts local residents of all ages including those starting out, seniors trying to stay in the community and those looking to rent a home.

“It’s complicated. It becomes more complicated as time goes on,” he said.

Members of council were receptive to the presentation and asked staff to report back on the matter in more detail.

“Affordable and attainable housing is certainly on the minds of all,” said Mayor Paul McQueen. “To raise a family, you need a home.”

Deputy Mayor Aakash Desai said the housing issue is being felt everywhere.

“The house I bought in 2018, I would no longer afford to buy that home today,” said Desai, who asked about the $40,000 contribution to the project. “How can we make that work?”

Milner said the $40,000 figure was a “starting point” and if the strategy and corporation move forward the finance could be fleshed out in more detail.

Coun. Dane Nielsen said it makes sense for municipalities to work in conjunction on the issue.

“Isolation on this matter is not logical. You need to reach out and work together,” he said.

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About the Author: Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Chris Fell covers The Blue Mountains and Grey Highlands under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada
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