Corp Comm Connects

6-storey affordable housing building coming to Stouffville
July 24, 2019
Simon Martin

Finding affordable housing in Whitchurch-Stouffville isn't easy.

Just ask Mayor Iain Lovatt. He hears from local people all the time.

A few weeks back, a woman who was being evicted at the end of the month was attempting to find an affordable place to rent in the $900 a month range. She reached out to the Whitchurch-Stouffville Emergency Care Fund.

“A quick Google search will tell you there is nothing available in the $900 range in Stouffville,” Lovatt said at the July 16 council meeting. “We are all in agreement that affordable housing is almost at crisis level not only in York Region but our nation.

A little help for this crisis is coming to Whitchurch-Stouffville as Housing York Inc. spoke to council about its intention to build a six-storey, 100-unit facility at 5676 Main St. The location is currently home to Chas Richards & Sons.

“There is significant demand,” general manger of Housing York Rick Farrell said. “Rental housing in this region is in very short supply.”

The numbers Farrell cited illustrate just how difficult it is it to find affordable housing in the region. He said there are 3,247 households on the affordable housing wait list that have identified Whitchurch-Stouffville as a desired location.

Many Whitchurch-Stouffville renters spend more than 30 per cent of their income on housing, he added.

Lovatt, who is also vice-chair of Housing York, said it's wonderful to have such a prominent location for the project. The 3.7-acre property is located immediately east of the Metro Plaza on Stouffville's Main Street.

“I am happy to see this come to Stouffville. I think the location is perfect. Residents will be able to walk to a lot of the amenities,” Ward 6 Coun. Sue Sherban said.

As for the building, Housing York’s Joshua Scholten said it will be located near the road with parking in behind. The building will be comprised of one-, two- and three-bedroom units. The land is large enough that a second building could be constructed in the future.

Funding for the project is included in the region’s 20 year capital plan with a target of 30 per cent in contributions from federal and provincial governments.

There will be further information about the project in the coming months with a public meeting set for September. Site plan application is tentatively set for October. If all goes well, Scholten said the building could be up and running in 2022 with construction starting in 2020.

A regional review of housing identified a need for future investment in affordable housing in Aurora, East Gwillimbury and Whitchurch-Stouffville.

Housing York works on a mixed-market rent model where people pay different rents based on their incomes.

“People know if you are paying the $1,400 for the one bedroom, you are helping someone else,” Farrell said.

Affordable housing in town is currently very limited. Parkview Village provides 124 rental apartments for seniors and Elmwood Gardens provides 51 rental apartments, also for seniors.

Housing York is the region’s housing company. According to Farrell, they have 37 properties with approximately 2,600 units. They are the seventh largest non-profit housing provider in Ontario, providing homes to more than 4,000 residents.

Over 60 per cent of Housing York tenants are seniors.

Residents represent the diversity of the community including seniors, families, young couples, and those living alone. The facility will accommodate a range of incomes including those newly graduated, working, retired, and those on a fixed income.