No rooms to rent Housing Resource says
COLLINGWOOD – People looking for an affordable apartment or room in Collingwood are out of luck.
The Housing Resource Centre has been scanning its lists and has come up empty.
“We just did a search for vacancies in the Collingwood area and there is nothing available,” said Lucy Gower, executive director for the Housing Resource Centre.
“This is the first time some of the staff have ever seen this. We still have an immediate need, of course, because we still have people coming in requesting housing, but we are in a position of where we have nothing at all.”
Gower is hoping going public may engage landlords who are thinking of listing with the resource centre, “or even of changing or adding a secondary suite to their place,” said Gower.
Recently, the County of Simcoe adopted changes to legislation by the province to wave fees for people looking at modifying their homes to accommodate a secondary suite.
“The Secondary Suite program that the county is endorsing and we are endorsing is that you wouldn’t have to pay development fees for a secondary suite, and giving incentives there for people wanting to put in a secondary suite,” said Collingwood Deputy Mayor Brian Saunderson. “This is something we need because we have currently 34 affordable housing units throughout the county and the county has plans to redevelop that and add another 110 to bring it up to 144 to get to our full contingent for affordable housing.”
“We need about 40 secondary suites to come online by 2024 to get us to our local target.”
Under the Ontario Renovates program, it provides an interest-free, forgivable loan/grant for urgent home repairs or accessibility modifications.
The funding can also be used to create a secondary suite.
Housing in Collingwood has be difficult in the recent past.
“I think it is basically just a matter of the housing crisis and the housing that is selling quickly and people coming up from areas and purchasing homes. It’s just one of those things, but there’s a need,” said Gower.
Having a roof over your head isn’t just a luxury; it is something that affects the whole person, said Gower.
“We know how important it is for people to be housed because once they’re housed, so much more can happen for them in a positive way,” she said. “They can apply for government grants and they can apply for work, and just that whole sustainability and the opportunity to build a better life for themselves.”
In 2016, the Housing Resource Centre had more than 270 individuals who were classified as homeless. These were people on the streets, living in tents when they could, or couch surfing.
In January, the centre saw 15 people who were homeless and another 15 people who were told they had 30 days to find a roof over their head, said Gower.
“We have a lot of clients who never expected to find themselves in this situation, but when they get a hand up and they are back on their feet, they can pay it forward to pay it back,” she said.
In the county, there are more than 2,500 people on the wait list for housing.