Oxford County will weigh in on federal housing strategy

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Municipalities want to extend expiring operating agreements with social housing providers.

As the federal government shapes its National Housing Strategy, Oxford County and other municipalities were given the chance to submit comments on what could be done to improve the strategy.

Manager of housing development Jamie Stephens said one of the most important suggestions was about extending expiring operating agreements.

“Right now we have some housing providers with federal funding agreements, and those will be expiring,” Stephens said. “So that funding will obviously cease from being received from the federal government to the municipality. It’s either at the end of their agreement or as their mortgages mature, we want that funding to continue so those units can remain affordable within our community.”

There is also a need for more funding, Stephens said, adding that the federal government and provincial governments have made announcements for additional funding, she said that, “the need far out weighs the amount of funding we have.”

“We appreciate it and we’re using it and utilizing it to the best of our abilities,” she said. “But it really needs to be increased for us to make a bigger impact in our community.”

Oxford County council will be reviewing the comments at its meeting on Wednesday, and from their the federal government will receive comments from across the country and prepare and release a summary of recommendations on Nov. 22, which is National Housing Day.

Other comments featured in the county’s proposed submission include the federal government creating operating dollars for local agencies to support mental health and addictions, youth and seniors, as well as the federal government mandating municipalities to approve projects that include units at 60 per cent average market rent.

Stephens said these comments are a way to help raise more awareness and help advocate for Oxford County.

bchessell@postmedia.com 

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