June 4, 2003

York Region plans to participate in Community Rental Housing Program

NEWMARKET The Regional Municipality of York's Community Services and Housing Committee today passed a recommendation to agree in principle to participate in the Canada/Ontario Community Rental Housing Program (CRHP). The recommendation, which is scheduled to go to Regional Council for final approval on June 12th, is subject to final negotiations with the province and includes the Region setting aside $7.5 million from its social housing reserve fund to upfront the costs of projects to be built under the CRHP.

"The Community Rental Housing Program provides an opportunity for York Region to partner with other levels of government and the private sector to meet our housing objectives," said Regional Chair and CEO Bill Fisch. "We must participate in the Program in order for developers and non-profit groups to be able to access this federal funding."

Announced last December, the CRHP is to be 50% cost shared. The federal government is contributing up to $25,000 per unit. The provincial government is providing up to $2,000 per unit in PST rebates, leaving municipalities, the private sector and community groups to contribute the remaining $23,000 per unit in matching funds.

"The Province's contribution is disappointing. Accessing funding from the CRHP is an opportunity all three levels of government can't afford to miss," said Newmarket Mayor Tom Taylor, Chair of the Region's Community Services and Housing Committee. "Regional Council will request that the Province contribute additional funds to the CRHP to reflect a more meaningful commitment to the program."

In addition, the Region will discuss with the Province the level of matching contributions that will be recognized for expenditures it has made to date on affordable housing projects, the reduction in the multi-residential tax rate, and the provision of conditional grants for non-profit groups building affordable housing.

The Region's investment of up to $7.5 million is intended to up-front contributions to match federal funding. It is hoped that this money will generate further contributions from municipalities, and leverage other sources of funding to achieve an estimated $80 million in new affordable rental housing in York Region.

Area municipalities will be encouraged to participate in the success of the CRHP through their own incentive programs, which could include fast-tracking development plan approvals, or foregoing revenue by waiving or reducing applicable fees and charges.

The first round of the CRHP involves the allocation of 4,000 units to 12 municipalities in high-growth or low-vacancy rental markets. York Region is one of these communities and its share of this first phase of allocations is 300 units or $7.5 million in funding. The Region expects to issue separate Requests for Proposals to non-profit groups and developers later this summer.

In April, the province announced a pilot program component of the CRHP. Applications for funding are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, for up to 2,000 units of affordable rental housing that can be built quickly. York Region plans to make applications for three projects that are currently under development in Newmarket and Vaughan. If approved, more than 150 units of new affordable rental housing would be created.

Pending Regional Council approval, a Request for Proposal will be issued this summer to design and build one of the pilot project sites located on Sandford Street in Newmarket for approximately 40 apartment units. The property is owned by Housing York Inc., the Region's housing corporation.

"Housing choices for our residents is one of the goals of Vision 2026, the Region's 25-year strategic plan," added Chair Fisch. "It calls for the production of housing that residents can afford to buy or rent."

As part of its Housing Supply Strategy adopted by Council last June, the Region set targets for the creation of affordable housing through both direct delivery of 100 units per year, and in partnership with private and non-profit sectors for an additional 100 units each year.

To date the Regional Council has adopted the following to support its commitment to developing affordable rental housing:

For more information about the Region's Housing Supply Strategy, The Regional Municipality of York, the services we offer and links to our nine area municipalities, please visit our Web site at www.region.york.on.ca

For more information about the Canada/Ontario Community Rental Housing Program, visit www.mah.gov.on.ca and click on to Affordable Housing Program.

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The Regional Municipality of York is committed to providing cost-effective, quality services that respond to the needs of our rapidly growing communities.  York Region is comprised of the following nine area municipalities:  Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Whitchurch-Stouffville.  For more information, visit our Web site at:  www.region.york.on.ca

Contact: Patrick Casey, Senior Media Relations Specialist, York Region

 
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