County Takes Action to Increase Housing Supply
Grey County Council has approved an updated housing action plan in an effort to increase housing supply throughout Grey County.
“Grey County is experiencing a housing supply and affordability crisis. The health and sustainability of our communities depends on having enough housing available that is affordable for individuals and families of all income levels. The updated housing action plan will guide our efforts to bring more attainable and affordable homes to Grey County,” said Grey County Warden Brian Milne.
Local data shows there is a lack of available housing, particularly rental units, for households earning below the median income of $78,000 per year. Locally, the rental vacancy rate is below 2% and average rental units are now being offered at upwards of $1850 per month plus utilities. For ownership housing, prices have risen dramatically in recent years and interest rates and overall inflation have pushed homeownership out of reach for many households. Many existing homeowners are also experiencing affordability challenges because of these factors.
The housing supply and affordability crisis in Canada is complex. Many contributing factors, such as interest rates, construction labour availability, federal and provincial policy frameworks, supply chain issues and materials costs, are beyond municipal control. The Grey County Housing Action Plan focuses on areas where municipalities can have an impact.
Collaboration with local municipalities is central to the updated plan. By working together, Grey County municipalities can create complimentary policies and coordinate infrastructure planning with development. Municipalities can also examine local permissions and enforcement mechanisms which may be a barrier to new housing creation and can work to make approval processes more efficient. Other tools municipalities can consider are local fees like development charges, tax rates, and the creation of incentives and deferrals to attract certain types of housing.
In total, the plan contains 19 actions. These actions are targeted at the County, municipalities, local non-profit housing organizations, developers, and community partners. Some of the new actions include:
- Creating a guidebook to make it easier for property owners and municipalities to develop additional residential units in homes.
- Exploring innovative funding models and tools to build affordable housing.
- Hosting a housing forum to educate on barriers to housing, housing need, pricing, sustainable growth, financing tools and more.
- Starting a Community of Practice with participation from each local municipality to discuss issues and share resources.
- Reviewing and improving local planning processes to streamline the development process.
- Advocating to upper levels of government for more tools, support and funding.
- Collecting and sharing data to track housing need and affordable unit creation.
- Working with school boards, Georgian College and local employers to enhance skilled trades programs.
- Creating green development standards to enhance the sustainability of new builds.
The updated action plan also notes five additional opportunities that could be explored in the future. These include advocating for changes to Ontario Build Code, preparing a comprehensive discussion paper about potential rural lot creation policy updates, celebrating and promoting the efforts developers undertake to build affordable or attainable housing and more.
Grey County first created a housing action plan in 2020 under the direction of the Affordable Housing Task Force. The plan was created in response to rising housing costs and limited availability of housing that is affordable.
The complete updated Grey County Housing Action Plan can be found on Grey.ca. If you have questions about the plan, please email communications [at] grey.ca (communications[at]grey[dot]ca).
For media inquiries contact Rob Hatten, communications manager, at rob.hatten [at] grey.ca (rob[dot]hatten[at]grey[dot]ca) or 519-373-1592.