The Town of Collingwood believes that action can and should occur at all levels of government to address the housing crisis. Collingwood is one of the fastest growing municipalities in Canada and the lack of affordable housing affects us all. We are in a crisis and we need to take action now.
What is Affordable Housing?
Affordable housing means that the cost of housing is less than 30% of a household's income before taxes.
The Town of Collingwood's affordable housing efforts focuses on households that earn moderate levels of income. (Moderate income refers to households between the 4th and 6th income deciles. The income deciles are specific to household incomes of Collingwood residents.)
For moderate-income homeowners, that annual household income range is approximately $74,000 – $109,000, which translates into an affordable purchase price of $248,000 - $366,000 based on a maximum of 30% gross income being directed to housing costs.
For moderate-income renters, that range is cut nearly in half, with household incomes at approximately $47,000 – $68,000, for which an affordable monthly rent is $1,200 – $1,700 based on a maximum of 30% gross income being directed to housing costs.
Why Affordable Housing Matters
When a town doesn't have enough affordable housing, the whole community suffers. Housing insecurity affects certain groups more than others, such as diverse and marginalized populations, older people, and those with low incomes. As rents keep going up, more individuals and families struggle to make ends meet. This often means they don't have enough money for other necessities like food and medicine. It also means they can't support local businesses or participate in community activities. When our neighbors can't afford to live here anymore, they may have to leave the town, which makes it hard for local businesses to find and keep employees.
When a town has an adequate supply of affordable housing, the community thrives. Some positive effects of affordable housing include:
- Improved community wellbeing and vibrancy
- Reduced homelessness
- Better access to education
- Improved health, which reduces the strain on health and social services
- Increased diversity and equality
- Lower crime rates and less food insecurity
- Enhanced economic sustainability
Affordable Housing Task Force
The Town of Collingwood established the Affordable Housing Task Force in 2021 to help Council find ways to address the local housing crisis. In November 2021, the Task Force along with N. Barry Lyon Consultants Ltd. conducted a housing needs assessment and presented Council with 53 recommendations to improve the affordable housing crisis. The Task Force continues to support Council and staff in advocating for affordable housing.
The Housing Continuum
The housing continuum represents the range of housing options available for households with very low to above moderate-income households. The Town's focus is on Affordable Rental Housing, Affordable Home Ownership, Market Rental Housing, and Market Home Ownership.
The Town's Role in the Housing Sector
Addressing the housing crisis and making sure there is enough affordable rental and ownership housing requires action and collaboration across the housing sector, including all levels of government, non-profit organizations, and private industry.
The Town's current role is to::
- Support the Affordable Housing Task Force and community efforts
- Identify community champions and partners to increase the supply of affordable housing
- Update land use policies and regulations to encourage affordable housing and remove barriers
- Guide affordable housing development through regulations, land use planning, and policies, and connect developers and landowners to funding resources
- Streamline development processes
- Develop programs for homeowners to create accessory dwelling units and contribute to the affordable housing solution
- Promote purpose-built rental buildings to increase the supply of affordable rental units, based on data to determine the right mix of housing for the community
This role may change through the Affordable Housing Master Plan project, which will identify and cost actions and priorities. More information about the Affordable Housing Master Plan is available below.
The term "affordable housing" is often used interchangeably with "social housing," but they are different. Social housing is managed by the County of Simcoe and includes public housing, cooperatives, and non-profit providers that receive government funding to help with rent subsidies and operating costs. The County takes care of planning, funding, and managing social housing programs and homelessness services.
Short Term Accommodations
On November 6th, 2023, Council approved the STA Licensing By-law and the phased in implementation of the Short-Term Accommodation Licensing Program. Beginning February 1st, 2024, new and existing bed and breakfasts in Town can apply for a Class A (Partial Unit Rental) Licence under Phase 1. More details can be found on our Short Term Accommodations engagement webpage.
Affordable Housing Projects in Progress
Rapid Accessory Dwelling Unit Program - We've launched the Rapid ADU Deployment Program to help homeowners contribute to the increase in year-round rental housing. The program provides grant incentives and simplifies processes to make it easier for homeowners to participate in this solution to the housing crisis.
Affordable Housing Master Plan - The Affordable Housing Master Plan (AHMP) was presented to the Town of Collingwood’s Committee of the Whole on October 30, 2023 and generally endorsed by Council on November 6, 2023. The AHMP includes 26 initiatives that were informed through a data driven and strategic process. The AHMP functions as a guiding light, giving us the prioritized and costed policy, process and regulatory changes and financial approaches with the biggest impact on the ground, as well as coordination and advocacy initiatives to round out our suite of actions to provide more affordable housing options that are critical to sustaining and supporting our community. Staff are developing a workplan to guide their work through 2024 and beyond.
How to Get Involved
We all have a role to play in fixing the affordable housing crisis. Whether you are a member of the development community, a non-profit, a business owner, homeowner, or an individual who wants to help, we want to hear from you. Contact Jenn Rae, Housing Development Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 705-445-1030 ext. 3714 for more resources or to learn more.