At Wednesday, Feb 9th session of Lanark County council’s community services meeting, social services’ staff confirmed that the province will once again supply $1.3M to the County for its annual community homelessness prevention initiative. The province first launched the program in 2013 and this year’s allocation is the same as 2021. The funds will see $100K go to emergency shelter costs, $620K for housing with related supports, $100K for services and supports, $357K for homelessness prevention, and $130K for administration. The final amount, representing 10% of the total grant, is mandated for administration costs by the province.
Staff also announced the amounts of the federal government’s Canada-Ontario Community Housing Initiative and Ontario’s Priorities Housing Initiative; $430K and $395K respectively. Both grants are continuations of previous year’s fundings but are substantially higher than 2021. These programs are part of a multi-year plan through 2028 to help stabilize and enhance the existing community housing system as well as assist with future growth and expansion of affordable housing options within communities.
As part of the County’s 10-year Housing and Homelessness Plan, the director of social services Emily Hollington, recommended issuing a request for proposals for a builder to create 10 new housing units in Smiths Falls; 5 to be affordable and 5 to be rent-geared-to-income (RGI). Her report indicated that the proponent would construct, own and operate an apartment building dedicating a number of units to affordable housing over an extended period of time (i.e. 20 -30 years) with a high preference for proponents able to deliver RGI units and house people directly from the waitlist. The preferred building owner/operator would be an established non -profit, ideally with landlord experience. The committee approved her request.
She also provided councillors with a recap of 2021-2022 housing initiatives and projects completed by the County.
- 10 additional Portable Housing Benefits spaces ($32,400/year)
- 10 additional Rent Supplement spaces ($72,000/year)
- Replace lost Rent Supplement with Portable Housing Benefits spaces
- Expression of Interest issued to non-profit housing providers – outcome to partner with Carebridge for 28 new rent supplements in new building (Rapid Housing Initiative funding application had been submitted)
- Agreement with Lanark County Mental Health to support Housing Services clients in 2021
- Additional PFT Housing Services Caseworker and Clerk positions
- Housing Working Group – best practices adopted
- Homeless Services Coordinator position created (temporary until December 2022); conducted homelessness enumeration, launched and administer By -Name List, small team dedicated to homelessness
- Homelessness study completed in partnership with Leeds and Grenville and LGL Addictions and Mental Health; recommendations underway
- Study in progress to develop a toolkit of municipal opportunities and planning tools to encourage affordable housing development – expected to be shared with Council in March
- Exploring Cabinscape project and FCM grant – 2 carbon sink tiny homes for affordable housing in Perth
- Completion and move-in of 20 households at 7 Arthur Street in Carleton Place
- Over $6.5M issued in Social Services Relief Fund including 5 additional capital projects completed or underway:
- Lanark County Interval House (purchased 6 housing spaces in Perth)
- Shardon Manor addition (9 new beds)
- Victoria House (renovation)
- Rideau Ferry Country Home (renovation)