by Mayor David Gordon
The Ministry responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy in Ontario has noted that there is a need for more affordable housing in communities across Ontario, and that the municipalities cannot meet that need on their own.
The Ministry has increased the funding for affordable housing in Leeds and Grenville by $513,200 in 2018-2019. The surprise is that the funding comes into effect after the next provincial election. Election promises are not cash in hand, and can change after an election. I can be positive and say the money is in the bank after the provincial 2018 election, but promises sometimes can be made of hot air.
The Ministry has also placed priorities on the money. The funds are to support affordable housing for tenants in social housing buildings with expiring operating agreements and/or federal subsidies. Specific groups have also been targeted for funding, including persons with disabilities (including adults with development disabilities), indigeous peoples, the chronically homeless and youth.
The need has been identified of preventing homelessness as individuals transition from provincially-funded institutions, such as hospitals, correctional facilities, and the child welfare system, and the funding will include projects that support transit corridor intensification and/community hubs.
The priorities are well thought out, and needed, but the smaller urban/rural communities, in my opinion, cannot truthfully meet the priorities because of lack money. We, as rural communities, can only put a bandage on the problem and pray that it does not bleed out too badly. I think the government has forgotten rural municipalities, because they are putting the majority of their resources into the major cities, and seem to hope that rural centres just go away. A small example of the cost of affordable housing is that the replacement of windows in Brockville and Prescott, and there are only two buildings there, will be $191,653.
Some very interesting information has come out of the Counties’ Early Years and Child and Family report. There is a total of 5,955 children, aged birth to 6, living in Leeds and Grenville, which is down from 6,255 children in 2011. The highest concentration of children aged birth to 6 years are in Brockville and North Grenville, accounting, respectively, for 20.6% and 18.6% of the young children population.
While children in that age group are concentrated in Brockville and in North Grenville, many children continue to be raised in the rural settings which characterize the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville. The municipalities of Rideau Lakes, Leeds and Thousand Islands, Elizabethtown-Kitley , and Edwardsburg/Cardinal are each home to 8-10% of that population.
This report shows that North Grenville is growing, and I believe that, when it comes to the children’s population, North Grenville will pass Brockville in the next census. This report will be the roadmap for the United Counties in the future, and I will be happy to share the report with all those interested.