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Social Services shares 20-year plan to address housing

Addressing housing gaps in its service area stretching from Picton to north of Hwy7, Prince Edward Lennox and Addington Social Services presented its Housing Revitalization Report to council’s committee of the whole meeting, Thursday.

Annette Keogh, manger of housing services, and Ken Foulds, of Re/fact Consulting, explained the development of a 20-year plan to guide decisions to help meet current and future housing needs made more difficult by increased need, short-term accommodations taking away housing and economics.

Its four-step process included a review of local housing needs, shelter and transitional housing, evaluation of PELASS’ current portfolio, alternate options and developed a 20-year revitalization plan.

Current needs include purpose-built rental housing, affordable options for single people who aren’t seniors; options for downsizing seniors and those with special needs.

“The PELASS revitalization plan can play a role in helping to address these community issues, especially in terms of advancing options for smaller, purpose-built rental units.”

There are currently 647 units (414 owned by the Local Housing Corporation (LHC) and 233 owned by community housing providers, as well as 120 rent supplement units under contract with local landlords). Two thirds are in Lennox and Addington with one-third in Prince Edward County.

“Housing demand, as expressed in centralized waiting list figures, continues to rise and mirrors supply with the majority of households seeking one or two bedroom units.”

The wait list comprises just over 530 households and has been steadily increasing over the past five years. The list, the report states, tends to reflect the same distribution as units in the portfolio – one-third in PEC and two-thirds in Lennox and Addington.

The units are mostly one-bedroom (67%), two-bedroom (15%) and mainly apartments (55%) but also townhouses (22%) and walk-up apartments (17%).

Clients include adults (39%), seniors (34%) and families (27%).

PELASS envisions a $43 million plan that includes the sale of 32 units, redevelopment of 116 existing units into 155 new units and the addition of another 30 units expected to result in the replacement of 150 units and a net overall addition of 35 units. Two of three projects suggested for sale are in Picton as they are among the oldest and need capital improvement. It is suggested they could be sold and proceeds used to fund development.

The 20 year plan focuses on 13 LHC properties directly controlled by PELASS whereas community provider properties are not. The plan proposes that:
– 4 projects be classified as retain – keep and maintain as planned
– 3 projects be classified as revitalize – keep and maintain but with improvements
– 3 projects be classified as redevelop – keep but redevelop as a new project
– 3 projects be classified as dispose – sell and use proceeds to fund development
– 1 new project be classified as acquisition – develop as a new project

Under a status quo scenario, planned capital repairs show a shortfall of almost $11 million and would not improve, replace or expand the portfolio.

Capital needs are projected to reach $36 million by 2038 and despite annual contributions, needs are expected to outstrip contributions.

In the housing system, PELASS has two main roles – one as service manager and one as owner and operation of the Local Housing Corporation (LHC).

The presentation was made as an information deputation. No other request was made of council at the meeting.

Filed Under: Local News

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