Good news for those looking for affordable housing options in Muskoka Lakes.
The District Municipality of Muskoka and Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North have signed a $155,300 funding agreement supporting the construction of two affordable, universally accessible homes in Bala.
The new homes are set to be built on Elm Street in Bala and are scheduled for completion in 2022.
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) definition of “affordable housing” is based on costs of less than 30% of a household’s before-tax income. According to the District, in Muskoka over half of tenant households are forced to spend more than 30% of their income on housing. For many households, that number exceeds 50%. Add to this a rapidly aging demographic. The limited supply of affordable, accessible (age friendly) housing in Muskoka is keeping vulnerable people at risk.
“Affordable housing is perhaps the biggest challenge facing our communities across Muskoka,” says District Chair John Klinck. “We are so pleased that funding from the province has created the opportunity to partner with Habitat for Humanity on this important project that will support residents of Bala with a place to call home”.
The funding agreement represents a forgivable loan to Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North in the amount of $155,300 towards the capital costs required to complete the construction of the homes. The agreement is structured to ensure the homes are rented at an affordable rate of 20% below the average market rents in Muskoka for twenty years.
“This Deferred Homeownership program is a hybrid of Habitat’s affordable home ownership and affordable rental programs,” says Kimberley Woodcock, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North. “This model makes good use of donated funds. We serve the community now by creating badly needed affordable rental units, and in time, we’ll leverage the same contribution and adapt to serve the community again by providing affordable homeownership opportunities.”
“Becoming a Habitat homeowner is an impactful journey,” says Woodcock. “According to a survey of Habitat homeowners, Habitat for Humanity families are more physically active and they are more involved in their community. Parents achieve better employment outcomes and children reach higher levels of education. Not only do our 2022 Bala homes ensure a low cost of operating, but we are removing environmental barriers to provide a sense of possibility, freedom, and hope for people currently isolated and limited by an inaccessible home.”
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