On Wednesday, Sept 8 at Lanark County council’s social services committee meeting, Emily Hollington, the County’s director of social services presented a proposal for an affordable housing grant program.
The suggested program is a grant in the form of a forgivable loan registered on title of up to $25,000 per unit of affordable housing created. The loan is forgivable over a 15-year period, inclusive of a 5- year transition period. During the phase out, market rents can be charged when the units become vacant, subject to provincial legislation.
Lanark County property owners, community agencies, and non-profit and for-profit residential developers who are planning to build new affordable rental units or convert non-residential building to new affordable rental units may be eligible to receive funding. Homeowners who are planning to build an additional residential unit at their occupied home which will be rented out may also be eligible. The unit rent must be at or below 100% of the Lanark County Average Market Rent (AMR) for a unit of that size where utilities are metered separately for each tenant. AMR is set for one and two-bedroom units by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and provided to the County by the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. In the case where the monthly rent includes the cost of all three utilities (heat, hydro and water) the allowable monthly rent can be increased by $100 over AMR. In 2022, the AMRs for Lanark County by unit size are as follows;
Bachelor $864 ($964 with utilities)
One-Bedroom Unit $864 ($964 with utilities)
Two-Bedroom Unit $1100 ($1200 with utilities)
Three+ Bedroom Unit $1100 ($1200 with utilities)
Hollington reported she had reviewed similar programs with other municipalities and found that any grants below $25K saw little interest from developers or private landowners.
The grant program would be 100% municipally funded. An initial investment of $100,000 would allow for the creation of 4 units. Due to development timelines an approval may happen in one year and project expenses carry over into the following year. Therefore, unspent funds from year to year would remain allocated to the program.
The committee voted to send the proposal to the 2023 budget meeting for consideration.