Hawkesbury council members had some serious thinking to do over the Christmas holiday break after receiving a report from the Sustainable Housing Inititiave (SDI) during their December 17 session. The report provided council and municipal staff with an outline of the affordable housing situation for the town.
The Rural Development Network (RDN) sent out an invitation in 2019 to rural Ontario municipalities interested in developing sustainable housing projects. Hawkesbury was one of 20 municipalities selected to receive free consultation help on its affordable housing needs. SDI presented a 31-page summary report on its findings to council.
The report stated that Hawkesbury lacks sufficient one- and two-bedroom housing that is affordable for families in the low-income sector of the municipal profile. Single-parent families have the most problems in trying to find suitable affordable housing. The report also noted that many low-income families that do have homes, have to spend up to 30 per cent of their income on rent or utilities or other expenses to maintain their home.
Council and staff received several recommendations to consider for further action on dealing with local affordable housing needs. Those recommendations include: listing current affordable housing programs or projects that the municipal has in place or may be working with in partnership with other agencies; creating a list of potential partners for present or future affordable housing projects; creating a list of potential sites for such projects; researching possible funding aid sources; deciding if council needs a social housing advisory committee to help with future planning.