For Immediate Release
November 15, 2001
Commissioner of Housing and Property, and General Manager of Peel Living
Region of Peel
905-453-1300, Ext. 2518
Peel Takes On New Social Housing Role While Housing Needs Grow
(Brampton) - The Region of Peel is settling into its new role as Service Manager of social housing programs. As Service Manager, Peel administers programs for residents in almost 14,000 housing units.
Legislation proclaimed by the province in December 2000 shifted responsibility for the administration of social housing from the province to municipalities. Peel's responsibilities include program administration for housing providers in the Cities of Brampton and Mississauga and the Town of Caledon and managing a centrally co-ordinated waiting list, application process and rent supplement program.
"The Region of Peel was the first municipality in Ontario to receive approval from the province for its business plan as Service Manager," said Region of Peel Chair Emil Kolb. "This is another example of Peel's continuing commitment to provide and increase affordable housing for the thousands of Peel residents affected by a lack of housing options."
"Our new role gives us more flexibility to streamline delivery of social housing programs," said Keith Ward, the Region's Commissioner for Housing and Property and General Manager of Peel Living, the Region's own housing company. "For the past three years, it's been pay-but-no-say for all municipalities in Ontario including Peel. Until now, we have been paying for these programs without any voice in how they could be operated better at the local level."
Peel Living is the largest provider of social housing in Peel. And it got bigger by 1,017 units on New Year's Day when the Region merged Peel Living with the province's Peel Regional Housing Authority, as a result of the social housing reform legislation. Peel Living's current portfolio totals 6,527 apartments and townhouses on 70 sites in the Cities of Brampton and Mississauga and the Town of Caledon.
"Peel Living has created homes and stability for over 58,000 Peel residents," said Ward. "Soon after the Region was created, Council saw the need to build affordable housing units, as this was a segment of the housing market not generally addressed by private developers."
Only 79 rental units have been built by the private sector since 1995 - 60 of them renting at high-end rates. High costs in the home ownership market have virtually stopped any movement from the rental market. Vacancy rates hit bottom in Peel with a .6 per cent rental vacancy rate in 2000.
"Four out of every 10 residents in Peel's two homeless shelters have jobs," said Ward. "Admissions of families have increased by 180 per cent from January to October 2001 in the hotel the Region has used as an overflow shelter for families in need of housing. Peel needs 1,700 to 2,000 social housing units each year for the next 10 years just to keep pace with the need. Our role as Service Manager is new but the challenges and needs are the same - and growing."
The wait list for a Peel Living unit is very long - people being housed now applied over eight years ago. Peel hopes to begin building new affordable rental housing next year. An anticipated partnership with the federal government should bring housing and programs for youth and families in transition into Peel.
"Peel's plan for more social housing stock is only possible if senior governments match our commitment with capital funds," concluded Ward. "We need that commitment to begin to meet the affordable housing needs of thousands of Peel residents. However, concerted action and more sustainable partnerships with all levels of government and the private sector are necessary to make a real difference."
Communication Services, 10 Peel Centre Dr., Brampton, ON L6T 4B9
Phone: 905-791-7800, Fax: 905-791-0595 , e-mail
Web site: http://www.region.peel.on.ca
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