For Immediate Release
April 12, 2001
Commissioner of Housing and Property, and General Manager of Peel Living
Region of Peel
905-453-1300, Ext. 2518
MORE SOCIAL HOUSING STOCK IN PEEL A POSSIBILITY
(Brampton) - Helping homeless people in the Region of Peel obtain affordable housing and helping those at-risk hold onto their accommodations are the themes of a series of programs and proposals reviewed by General Committee on April 12, 2001.
Reports were presented to Regional General Committee with recommendations ranging from helping homeless and at-risk youth to pursuing opportunities with the federal government to build more social housing.
"Peel, like all municipalities in the Greater Toronto Area, is experiencing a growing affordable housing crisis," said Keith Ward, Commissioner of Housing and Property for the Region of Peel, and General Manager of Peel Living, the Region's non-profit housing corporation.
"The supply of rental housing is dramatically outstripping the demand, leaving many families in crisis. The situation will only worsen if we can't turn the sod for new social housing units," continued Ward.
A proposal is being considered to use the Region's Social Housing Reserve, expected to reach $12 million by the end of 2001, to access an expected federal government dollar-for-dollar capital funding grant to build more social housing stock.
"Such funding agreements, along with rent supplement programs and innovative, cost-saving measures proposed by staff, may make more social housing possible in Peel," said Ward.
Many complex factors contribute to the housing crisis in Peel. Rents are as much as doubling as units turn over. Tax policies and other incentives that would have encouraged private rental market development have been eliminated and older rental stock has been converted to condominiums and sold. More than 25,000 people are moving to Peel each year. The Region's co-ordinated access waiting list exceeds 19,000 - and growing by 500 applicants per month. A staggering 28,400 rental units will be required for Peel's growing older adult population by 2021.
Family Transitional Housing is a priority in the Region's continuum-of-supports approach to homelessness. A work group comprised of Regional staff, community and faith groups are finalizing plans for development of a family transitional project.
"The Region is exploring vacant lands owned by the City of Brampton as temporary relief to move families out of the Rosetown Inn," said Ward. The Rosetown Inn is a motel in the City of Brampton, used by the Region for families requiring temporary shelter.
"Costs to place clients at the Inn are expected to rise by 20 per cent this year. We hope to enter into a cost-sharing agreement with the federal government to build the much-needed transitional housing," added Ward.
One of the Region's successes in fighting homelessness has been its Task Force on Homeless Youth in Peel. Since December 1999, the Task Force has created enthusiasm among 40 youth-serving agencies to collaboratively address the complex issues associated with homelessness in youth, aged 12-29 years. A multi-service facility called Peel Youth Village is being proposed to provide emergency shelter and transitional housing, as well as needed supports and services.
The Region's Homelessness Prevention Program is another success story. The program provides preventative, one-time emergency assistance to low-income individuals or families at risk of becoming homeless, or who are homeless and need short-term financial assistance to secure accommodations.
Most of the $135,000 distributed between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2000, went mainly to individuals and two-person families (65 per cent), and was used primarily for first or last months' rent.
"Helping people to stay in their homes or obtain permanent accommodations is not only cost-effective, but helps avoid the trauma and ill effects that homelessness can bring," said the Region of Peel's Interim Commissioner of Social Services David Szwarc.
"We plan to further develop partnerships with the community, area municipalities and senior governments to make a greater impact on Peel's homeless and those at-risk," said Ward. "Those partnerships are the key to successful prevention and supports programs and future housing development in Peel."
- 30 -Communication Services, 10 Peel Centre Dr., Brampton, ON L6T 4B9
Phone: 905-791-7800, Fax: 905-791-0595 , e-mail
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