In this newsletter:
- The SGB Affordable Housing Toolkit is already making waves!
- An important SAVE THE DATE – Wednesday, May 3, 4:30-6pm
- TISGB 2023 Strategy Session
- Introducing our new eBook – an easy-to-read Who/What/So What of TISGB
- Our Sustainable Future Report
The SGB Affordable Housing Toolkit is already making waves!
We are excited to share with you an article recently published by TVO Today. “‘It’s everyone’s job now’: What cities can do to fight the housing crisis,” features an interview with our very own Marilyn Struthers and Rosalyn Morrison, who discuss the role of municipalities and social finance tools in addressing the housing crisis.
We are proud of the work our Social Finance & Housing Tool Kit Core Design Team has done to create the SGB Affordable Housing Toolkit, aimed at helping municipalities take action to address the affordable housing crisis in our communities.
Read the full TVO Today article here.
It’s time to get familiar with the Toolkit
SAVE THE DATE for our first virtual event of 2023 happening on Wednesday, May 3rd from 4:30-6:00 pm, where our Design Team will present the SGB Affordable Housing Toolkit. Your voice is important – be part of a lively Q & A in this event! The registration link will be in our next newsletter.
If you haven’t yet, we strongly encourage you to read the SGB Affordable Housing toolkit; let’s learn and act together. Every one of our municipalities has tools available to plan for adequate affordable housing to ensure that residents are housed, according to their means, and that businesses avoid labour shortages as a result of the lack of affordable housing. The effective use of community wealth strategies and social finance tools can ensure our sustainability. Municipalities hold the greatest potential to build community wealth through their planning, purchasing and lending power.
What’s New in the Institute’s Affordable Housing Tool Kit?
By Marilyn Struthers and Erin Deviney
Check out how PSW’s are faring when they try to find a home in Owen Sound
Our Tool Kit is up and running with the bones of this project established by the Social Finance & Housing Learning Group’s opportunity to participate in the SI Canada/CMHC Housing Lab. Tune in for updates through this newsletter as the work goes on.
This month we added a data profile of the situation PSWs face when trying to find rental accommodation in Owen Sound. Like many communities, the province has supported large, new, updated facilities in this Georgian Bay community, and it, like other facilities, is facing staffing shortages. While there may be lots of reasons for the shortage in this critical area of work in our communities, this latest addition to the Tool Kit, points to the impact of the affordable rental crisis.
In the last 8 months, rental rates have continued to rise – 8% in one Owen Sound apartment we looked at – translating to a requirement of roughly an additional $5,000 in annual income. How do we figure that? Canada has one standard definition of housing affordability 30% of before tax income for rent and related housing costs.
We looked at the rental cost of a one-bedroom apartment in several buildings and found them running at around $1,700/month. At the standard definition of affordable housing costs, this would require an annual income of between $68-69,000, which happens to be more than the household income of some 55% of Owen Sound households. As startup, a PSW makes $20/hour (about $40,000/year) and takes home just over $3,000 a month. At $1,700 for rent, she is left with about $1,300 to pay her income taxes, transportation, heat and hydro, and all her other essentials.
The impact of high rental costs isn’t hers alone. This kind of disparity ripples out across a community’s economy. The post-COVID shortage of PSWs may be a legacy of the pandemic, despite training and hiring incentives. But, with more than half of her pre-tax income required just for rent, the longer-term impact of her lack of spending power impacts on businesses and services across the community.
TISGB 2023 Strategy Session:
On Friday, March 31st, over 75 people from across the region gathered at the Marsh Street Centre in Clarksburg to participate in the Institute’s 2023 Strategy Session! The session was informative, thought-provoking, and productive. Our collective accomplishments were celebrated, and we were able to co-create plans for an even more impactful 2023. It was fantastic to see so many sector representatives share their passions and insights, diving deep into break-out sessions. We are grateful for everyone’s time, ideas, and energy.
We especially appreciate the work of the session facilitators and note-takers who contributed to the collective discussion in so many ways:
Regional Arts Network
Amber Ebert, Rob Uhrig, Kate Russell
Social Finance & Affordable Housing
Marilyn Struthers, Jack Vanderkooy, June Porter, Mel Pockaj
Sustainability & the Green Economy
Tonya Kraan, Catherine Daw, Dale Biddell, Kay Schaltz
Business & Innovation
Jessica Flynn, Stuart Reid, David Green, Eric Palmer
And, it’s exciting that so many people have put their hand up to join a Design Team, an important step in moving us forward together. Our dedicated facilitators and note-takers are working on compiling session notes, and we will be sharing those summaries in our next newsletter. Stay tuned!
Introducing TISGB eBook:
At the Strategy Session, we launched our easy-to-read eBook, a shareable resource for the Who/What/So What of The Institute. We encourage you to share it with your colleagues, friends, and family to help build a growing network of people who will become involved in the collective leadership it will take to address some of our most pressing issues and exciting opportunities. We hope this eBook will encourage many residents, and business, government, nonprofit, and philanthropic leaders to support the Institute’s programming. Download your copy here!
Our Sustainable Future Report
Our Sustainable Future: Get Inspired, Get Informed and Get to Work! was created in response to the outcomes from the Mapping Our Road to Recovery series and the inaugural UN Habitat in Towns: Collingwood World Summit. In the midst of the pandemic, the series showcased the opportunity to learn more about Canada’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and explore how we might create integrated, resilient ,and equitable transformations toward sustainability across Southern Georgian Bay.
Taking a regional and holistic approach, the series aimed to create awareness of, and generate discussion about, what makes a vibrant sustainable community, as well as encourage citizens to learn more about their community and “become the change they want to see.”
Over 400 people participated in the 7-part series that focused on the benefits of the SDGs and in particular SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities – making communities inclusive, age-friendly, safe, resilient, and sustainable. Read the full report here.
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