In this newsletter:
- Sustainability & the Green Economy: All systems go for a sold-out event on October 27th!
- Social Finance and Affordable Housing:
- Bridging the Affordability Gap in Meaford
- Social Impact Investing for Community Building and Housing Solutions, an event on November 2, 2023
- Register for our November 17th event, New Ways to Finance the Housing Affordability Gap: Ensuring the sustainability of our towns
- Business & Innovation: Featured Social Entrepreneur
- An Important Program Support Message from Board Member, June Porter
A Word From the Design Team: Achieving Sustainability through a Greener Economy
By Eric Ennis (TISGB Board Member) and Nicholas Cloet (Sustainability Coordinator, Town of the Blue Mountains)
Happening on Friday, October 27th from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM at the Marsh Street Centre in Clarksburg.
Through our previous activities, community members of southern Georgian Bay have made it clear that they are interested in exploring how to live, work, and play in this area sustainably. This will ensure that both the people here now, and people here in future generations, can enjoy great lives here. We have all been working towards understanding the successes and issues of our current economic systems, the lessons learned from other communities that have implemented innovative solutions, ways to apply these lessons to our communities, and what opportunities there are for us to craft our own tailor-made new solutions.
This is playing out at the municipal level. For example, the Town of Blue Mountains has been working on “The Blue Mountains Future Story”, which is the Town’s community sustainability plan (available at www.tbmfuturestory.ca) that was built through the collaborative efforts of residents and local organizations. While some of the plan’s 20 Bold Actions focus on initiatives that the Town must lead as an organization, many actions will require participation and sometimes leadership from organizations and individuals across our communities. The Blue Mountains recognizes its place as a neighbour to many communities with similar municipal goals to build and enhance their environmental, social and economic sustainability. It is becoming clear that regional initiatives can help us share ideas and approaches, reduce costs for broader impact, and help foster community engagement and our communities must come together to achieve this.
This event, Achieving Sustainability through a Greener Economy, is a great opportunity to explore some of our collective sustainability goals and challenges, start conversations, build relationships, and hopefully identify some next steps to take away – either to work on in our own organizations, or to tackle collaboratively.
Bridging the Affordability Gap in Meaford: Why More Rental Units
By Peggy McIntosh, Social Finance & Affordable Housing Group, The Institute of Southern Georgian Bay, since 2021. She has also served as Vice President of the Meaford Chamber of Commerce 2021-2023, and is currently Meaford Rotary House: Outreach Lead where she is integral to the implementation of essential outreach services in Meaford.
The need for affordable rental units to house our community is more pressing than ever. This article will explore the current state of affordable rental housing in our area and offer opportunities to discuss potential solutions. There has been so much written – most readers are in overload, and if you open the discussion with colleagues, friends or family they shudder and shut down. But discuss we must, or ignore, at our own peril.
Research continues to lend understanding, as dry as it is. According to HART (Housing Assessment Resource Tool), a housing report and forecast compiled by the University of British Columbia and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) using information from Statistics Canada, the Meaford median Household Income is $79,500. As you may have already read here and elsewhere, in the realm of housing, “affordable” refers to housing costs that do not exceed 30% of a household’s pre-tax income. The median Household in Meaford, therefore, can afford rent (or mortgage) of $1988 per month.
The reality is, nearly 40% (exactly 38.29% according to the HART data) of households in our community have an income of $63,600 or below. About half of those households can afford rent (or mortgage) pricing between $398 and $994 per month. The other half can afford rent (or mortgage) pricing between $994 and $1590 per month. At the time of writing, the only available advertised rentals in Meaford started at $2600 per month. With rising housing prices and stagnant wages, we are seeing new segments of our population who simply cannot find affordable accommodation grow to include nurses, PSW’s, tourism representatives and supports, restaurant and retail workers and even small business operators.
Social Finance and Affordable Housing: Two public events in November, not to be missed!
Two important events are happening in November, which will help residents explore new ideas for our region relating to community building and housing solutions.
Community Foundation Grey Bruce presents Social Impact Investing for Community Building and Housing Solutions on November 2, 2023, 7pm, at the Harmony Centre, Owen Sound. Registration can be found on Eventbrite here and the cost is FREE.
Presented by Community Foundation Grey Bruce in partnership with Habitat for Humanity Grey Bruce and with support from The Institute of Southern Georgian Bay it will be a special evening of conversation and learning with peers from the Guelph and Wellington region, who are supporting new opportunities for investment in affordable housing and community wellbeing through community bonds, social enterprise, and technological advancement. This discussion will celebrate innovation in community investment and illustrate models of creative partnership. Philanthropic partners – foundations, municipalities, local investors, people who care about community – can learn ways to invest locally towards the goal of housing for all.
Stuart Reid, ED, Community Foundation Grey Bruce, and Marilyn Struthers, social change advocate and consultant, will moderate the discussion with three distinguished panelists: Ryan Deska, Director, Community Engagement and Development; Habitat for Humanity Guelph Wellington; Julia Grady, CEO at 10 Carden, Guelph; and Randall Howard, Chair of the Board, Community Foundation of North Wellington; Fergus.
Please note: this event will also be live-streamed at https://www.youtube.com/@communityfoundationgreybru9572. No registration is necessary for online attendance.
2. The Institute of Southern Georgian Bay will be hosting a collaborative November 17 event at Meaford Hall called New Ways to Finance the Housing Affordability Gap: Ensuring the sustainability of our towns. We will spend the first half of the day in a space of learning and discussion about our collective affordable housing crisis and hearing from social finance leaders from across the country to see what innovative ways other communities are approaching the issue of financing affordable housing.
Then, invited Business, Government, Development, Non-Profit, Social Finance, and Philanthropic leaders will head to the galleries for a working lunch, applying this learning to real SGB community initiatives. Register to attend the morning session here!
Social Entrepreneur Feature
Bishop Consignment: A Haven of Style and Community
By Jordie Burton, Co-Lead of the Business & Innovation Design Team
In Downtown Collingwood lies a unique treasure trove known as Bishop Consignment. This carefully curated consignment shop was brought to life by Susan and Nicole Bishop, two passionate individuals with a strong commitment to the community and sustainable fashion practices. Step inside, and you’ll find a collection of fashion artifacts, each carrying its own captivating story, but it’s the stories of the Bishops that truly breathe life into their business. Bishop Consignment’s business model is rooted in community service. Susan and Nicole share a set of remarkable values, emphasizing responsible shopping and consumption, community support, and the belief that when they serve the community, everyone benefits. These principles laid the foundation for their unique enterprise.
While Bishop Consignment operates as a brick-and-mortar clothing and skin care store on Hurontario Street, it is also a hub for a sharing community. Clients trust Nicole and Susan to honor the items they bring in, and this trust is passed on to the customers who leave with something new and exciting. It’s a testament to relationships that the Bishops have cultivated within their community.
Bridging the Affordability Gap in Meaford: Why More Rental Units
By June Porter, TISGB Board member; Councillor, The Blue Mountains
Since becoming involved with the Institute of Southern Georgian Bay (TISGB) just before the onset of the pandemic, I have seen this young nonprofit organization make the nimble pivot to online events to continue momentum, and build connections and the awareness of immediate and emerging regional concerns unfolding during unprecedented times.
Being involved has been such a rich and rewarding experience to see how this volunteer organization has developed supportive relationships with individuals, local businesses, and municipalities to create and deliver free online and in-person events. These events, a blend of both local and industry speakers, have created discussion platforms and offer new and innovative solutions for urgent action to address our pressing regional issues.
Success stories have included volunteer members of TISGB supporting the arts, hard hit by the pandemic, and successfully establishing the South Georgian Bay Arts Network. Another, is the hard work of the Social Finance & Housing Group learning together over two years about the elements of the affordable housing crisis, being involved in a national solutions lab with Social Innovation Canada and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and creating the SGB Affordable Housing Toolkit featuring new Social Finance tools that can help. This Group has been ahead of the curve in analyzing the housing crisis in our rural communities and its impact on our economies. Their magic has been how they have created events to demystify social finance from different angles: introducing and discussing social investment and taking a “deep-dive” into learning how we can bring these tools to life in our region. The Toolkit has been shared with several local developers as they, like businesses, nonprofits, government, and philanthropic leaders realize the need to learn more about how to access capital and develop the partnerships required to solve this affordable housing problem.
TISGB success is built on relationships and networking bringing people together for the purpose of creating a platform for collective action to address regional issues in a safe and welcoming environment.
Please join me in subscribing to the newsletter, contributing to program support https://tisgb.com/joinus/ and learn more about how you too can be part of and support this exciting and evolving organization.