March 26, 2009
Media Release

York Region strengthens commitment to affordable housing

Regional Council to identify $53 million worth of proposals from the development community
NEWMARKET …quot; York Regional Council today approved the first phase of a $53-million social housing strategy to identify potential partnerships with the building development community and increase the number of new affordable housing units in The Regional Municipality of York.
 
“Investing in new affordable rental housing is much needed for our residents,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch.  “Our desire is to work with the building development community to identify innovative ways to provide housing assistance to those who need it most.”
 
There are currently 499 affordable housing units where development is underway and approximately 235 of them will provide housing to low-income households.  Potential partnerships between York Region and the development community could create as many as 365 to 400 more affordable housing units.
 
Approximately 71,600 people, or about 10 per cent of York Region’s population, are considered low-income.  Many of these people are working, but at lower ends of the wage scale and are supporting families with children.
 
“York Region is actively pursuing opportunities to build more local affordable housing, however we need to do more,” said Town of Richmond Hill Regional Councillor Brenda Hogg, Chair of the Region’s Community Services and Housing Committee.   “This approach shares the challenge with building developers and makes the most of their experience to generate practical ideas.”
 
The $53 million of funding is the amount allocated to The Regional Municipality of York under the Investing in Ontario Act, 2008, that allows the Provincial government to use a portion of any unanticipated year-end surplus to pay down the deficit and address priority public needs. 
 
The 2007 - 2008 surplus enabled the Ontario government to reduce the Province’s accumulated deficit by $600 million and also to direct $1.1 billion in additional funding to municipalities on a per capita basis to support infrastructure investments.
 
Through a Request for Information process, York Region will invite the building development community to submit ideas for affordable housing development opportunities.  The Region is considering a range of development opportunities, including:
• Entering into joint ventures with private developers to create new affordable housing units and facilities
• Purchasing existing condominium units or town home sites from developers who may be struggling to sell the units and secure construction financing
• Hiring a developer to construct and deliver a finished project (traditional design-build projects)
 
York Region may also consider projects that are innovative, have short time frames for completion and conform to the Region’s priorities, such as sustainability, location and conservation features. 
 
“Creating assets to serve people who need assistance also provides long-term economic benefits,” added Chairman Fisch.  “Investing in affordable housing during an economic downturn is good for York Region.”
 
For every new unit built, 2.5 direct construction jobs and four indirect jobs are created.
 
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, please visit www.york.ca
 
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Media Contact: Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, Community and Health Services, York Region
Phone: 905 830-4444 Ext. 4016 / After-hours Cell: 905 251-5553
Email: jennifer.mitchellemmerson@york.ca

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