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St. Catharines Housing Update

St. Catharines Housing Update

St. Catharines Housing Update

St. Catharines Housing update 

Read about the point in time count in this article from Niagara This Week

July 2018

Everyone needs a safe place to live, yet housing is one of the most pressing issues facing our city.  St. Catharines is a growing city, rents are increasing and the real estate market is changing. With over 5,000 households on the Niagara Regional Housing wait list, affordable housing is a serious challenge across Niagara.

Last week Niagara Region released a report on the 2018 “point in time count” which gives us an accurate look at housing and homelessness. The report gives us a look behind the statistics and stereotypes. I encourage you to take a look at the report on the Region’s website here:  https://niagararegion.ca/council/Council%20Documents/2018/phssc-agenda-july-17-2018.pdf 2018 point in time count, Niagara

The report highlights that on average night, 625 people experience homelessness in Niagara – and that is unacceptable. We know that tackling this issue will take leadership and innovative solutions and we are working together with all levels of government, services, and the private sector to tackle this issue. Here’s how:

Tacking action:

  • The Housing Action Plan identifies ways the City can support the development of more affordable housing. This plan includes 41 tools including zoning, development charge rebates and incentives for new construction, faster approvals and more. It’s about finding innovative solutions and working with the development community to help reduce the affordable housing wait list.
  • Rebates and incentives for new rental housing – In the spring, the province announced new funding for affordable rental housing through a new rebate program in St. Catharines. The funding will provide seed funding to help get more rental units built in our city. This program is now open. If you are a landlord or developer looking to build, please reach out. There are programs and incentives available.
    Niagara Regional Housing, 527 Carlton St

    A new apartment building under construction on Carlton St.

  • new Niagara Regional Housing development at 527 Carlton St. will create 85 new units. This is the first NRH build in St. Catharines in over 40 years and it is on track to open later this year.
  • A new Mayor’s Working Group – is looking at solutions to rental housing issues. This group includes landlords, tenants, neighbours, the real estate industry, property managers, and Brock University. The working group is looking at the rental market and ideas to ensure rental housing is safe.
  • To find out more or sign up for updates visit www.stcatharines.ca/RentalHousing (To be clear – there is no rental licensing by-law coming forward at this time.)
    Academy Street, by St. Catharines Standard

    St. Catharines declares downtown building surplus for affordable housing plan, St. Catharines Standard

  • Redeveloping city properties for affordable housing   – Just a few weeks ago, City Council approved to “surplus” a downtown building to be redeveloped for affordable housing. This is a great way for us to make a direct investment in solutions. Watch for more details on this development to come.
  • At the regional level, the Region has a housing and homelessness action plan called “A Home For All” . We are looking at ways that Niagara Regional Housing can do more to address the waitlist by working with landlords and private developers.
  • We’re awaiting details on the federal government’s housing strategy and how to access funds for new programs and new buildings.

A top priority

As we work together with other levels of government and the development community to tackle this issue, we’re all going to need your support. Understanding this reality and what it will take to make a change is what a compassionate city is all about. Everyone needs a safe, decent place to live and be a part of our community. While that is getting harder for many, I’m committed to keeping this as the top priority of Council’s agenda.

If you have other ideas or want to be part of the solutions please reach out. It’s going to take focus, commitment and participation from the community to ensure St. Catharines remains as an affordable, amazing place to live, for everyone.