Action 12: Safe and Affordable Housing
Why is safe and affordable housing important?
Decent places to live that are affordable and appropriate are a basic human need. Communities need to consider healthy and safe equity issues between those that have more and those that have less. The provision of safe and affordable housing to house less fortunate individuals and families is an important consideration of local and provincial government in Ontario. This is especially important as Canadians spend on average 90% of their times indoors.
The provision of safe and affordable housing and special needs housing is something that rural community leaders need to be mindful of.
Recommendations for rural municipalities:
Municipalities need to recognize the importance of the topic. Work with people who are knowledgeable about the topic and lobby for new affordable housing.
Attempt to maintain existing built facilities that can be readily adapted to housing – the most affordable unit that can be constructed is usually found in a space that already stands. Secondary suites in houses are useful for this as well as the repurposing of older non-functioning commercial spaces and upper floors on main streets of rural towns and villages.
From a land use perspective, municipalities can assist by providing modest forms of housing in rural contexts through conversion of retrofit, and intensification mechanisms. These include demonstration projects that show local employment, spin-off community benefits and cost effectiveness of repair versus building new.