Filling the housing gap in rural communities

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The Rural Ontario Institute (ROI), Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (EOWC), and IT firm, Itergy, are partnering to address a housing shortfall in Eastern Ontario through the creation of an innovative digital tool that will support municipalities in the planning and construction of new affordable housing.

“The tool aims to provide local, reliable, salient, and current rural data to assist municipalities and proponents with the creation of affordable housing solutions,” said Marcia Wallace CAO, Prince Edward County and EOWC project co-lead.

“The COVID pandemic has led to significant increases in rural migration, demand for rural housing, and a rural housing crisis,” said ROI Executive Director, Ellen Sinclair. “What has been a long standing concern in large urban centres is quickly becoming a concern for rural areas.”

To address the rural housing gap, partners have devised a data-driven, outcomes focused solution that will harness data in an automated and easy to use public dashboard including:

  • demographic trends (population, growth, age and income)
  • average home and market rental information
  • available zoned land
  • building costs (development charges and parkland fees)
  • available incentives like municipal grants or loans
  • housing assets and amenities
  • and local organizations available for collaboration.

“This digital tool is anticipated to be a game changer and incredibly useful for rural municipalities to find and secure affordable housing opportunities more easily,” said Brenda Orchard, Lennox and Addington CAO and EOWC housing project co-lead.

This rural housing partnership project is funded through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Housing Supply Challenge, with rollout of the tool expected for the Spring of 2023.

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