Durham Regional Council has approved the Expedited Supportive Housing Report, which identifies the urgent need for affordable and supportive housing.
The report outlines two proposed projects—the development of a modular supportive housing project in Beaverton and a new micro-homes pilot project in Oshawa, said a statement.
It projected that the micro-homes and modular units will be ready for occupancy in 2021.
By expediting the development of these projects, the region helps to address the needs of Durham’s unsheltered residents, which were highlighted during the Covid-19 crisis.
Micro-homes pilot project: Regional Council has granted pre-budget approval for a micro-homes pilot project consisting of an estimated 10 units to provide temporary supportive housing on regionally-owned lands in Oshawa, which were acquired for the Gibb Street and Olive Avenue road realignment and widening project.
This location is ideal for micro-homes as it is already serviced. Once the scheduled road work commences at this location, the units can easily be relocated to a more permanent site. Regional employees continue to work with local municipalities and the faith-based community to identify locations for other micro-housing projects. The region will issue an expression of interest for micro-home manufacturers to showcase product offerings.
Modular supportive housing project: To be located on Regional land at 133 Main Street in Beaverton and subject to the approval of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the region will use funds from the Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative (OPHI) and the Social Housing Reserve Fund to construct a supportive housing project containing approximately 50 units.
Residents will have access to wrap around services to promote life stabilization. To expedite the development process, the region is pursuing a modular construction technique that has seen significant success in western Canada and is growing in popularity in Ontario.
These projects support the goals of At Home in Durham, the Durham Housing Plan 2014-2024. In November 2019, Regional Council reaffirmed its commitment to this plan—to improve affordability and access to housing, protect the existing affordable housing supply, encourage housing diversity, and build capacity in the housing system.
“The Covid-19 crisis has brought the needs of our unsheltered residents to the forefront. These innovative projects support our commitment to end homelessness in Durham by 2024. Having these new units in Beaverton and Oshawa brings us one step closer to reaching this goal. Investing in our vulnerable populations will increase the well-being of the entire community as we deal with the ongoing health pandemic,” said Regional Chair and CEO John Henry
Growth in building permits
The Regional Municipality of Durham data showcases positive growth in both residential and non-residential building permits, applications and volume when compared to the first half of 2019.
The results show an increase in residential building permit volumes; 2,322 new residential units received as of June 2020, compared to 1,398 permits for new units in the same six-month period of 2019.
Non-residential building permit value has also shown promise for the first half of 2020. The construction value of new non-residential building permits issued in Durham was higher in the first half of 2020 ($564 million) when compared to the first half of 2019 ($407 million). This is largely due to increased activity in Pickering and Oshawa.
“The data is an encouraging sign that, although Covid-19 has impacted our lives in many ways over the last few months, Durham’s development activity has not seen a significant shift. The data for the first half of the year is better than anticipated, and we will continue to closely monitor this activity,” said Gary Muller, Director of Planning, Regional Municipality of Durham.
- Residential Building Permit Volume and Type: Whitby has shown the highest number of new residential building permit issuances so far this year, with the highest volume of new townhouses. Oshawa and Pickering have also indicated solid growth with a number of new apartment buildings.
- Planning Application Volumes by Type: Rezoning applications and consent applications remained the highest application types reported for the first halves of both 2019 and 2020.