The City of Brantford continues to be a ‘community of choice’ for individuals, families and students seeking affordable housing options.
Over the past several years the demand for housing has outpaced availability and new development, resulting in lower vacancy rates and higher housing costs. Brantford council are aware that it is increasingly difficult for potential home buyers and renters to find suitable options, creating significant impacts across the housing continuum including:
- delayed home ownership for young families
- limits on economic growth and labour supply
- households spending a high percentage of their income on housing
- inability for households to transition out of subsidized housing into the private rental market and higher incidence of homelessness
The acute need for more affordable housing in our community, and the positive impact affordable housing stability has on people’s lives cannot be overstated.
Consistent with direction provided by the Mayors’ Housing Partnership Task Force Action Plan, the City has moved swiftly to expedite access to more affordable housing options such as the now completed Compact, Affordable, Sustainable and Efficient (CASE) Home modular build at Stinson and Stirton Ave – a faster way to build than traditional buildings and in many cases is also more cost efficient.
Another way to provide access to affordable housing faster is by purchasing existing buildings that can be immediately repurposed for housing. Earlier this year, the City engaged Wilfrid Laurier Brantford campus to discuss plans for the ongoing use of Lucy Marco Place, that previously housed students.
Consistent with their strategic plan, Laurier Brantford is in the process of implementing a growth plan to expand and restructure some of their existing space and as such Lucy Marco Place is no longer required for residence purposes. Seizing the opportunity to provide housing to those on the City’s housing waiting list sooner than later, Brantford City Council has directed staff to commence negotiations with Laurier Brantford to purchase the building at 36-40 Queen Street, funded from the issuance of growth-related debentures and from the City’s Affordable Housing Reserve.
Having the building occupied by residents who will be in the units on a more permanent basis than students will help reenergize the downtown year-round. The intended use of the building is to house individuals on the affordable housing waitlist. This housing is not intended to be an Emergency Shelter, but rather more permanent housing.
The City’s Housing staff are currently in discussions with various community partners to finalize details of when and how individuals on the affordable housing waitlist will acquire access to the 26 units that will be made available.