The County of Simcoe is home to a budding economy with diverse communities and some of Ontario's most breathtaking landscapes. With so much to offer, we're an attractive place to live, work and raise families. Similar to other regions throughout Ontario, we are also home to residents who need a helping hand in order to make ends meet.
The County of Simcoe is responsible for providing Social and Community services to more than 465,000 residents inclusive of the cities of Orillia and Barrie.
This includes Social Housing assistance, Children and Community Services and Ontario Works. Our partnerships with local organizations, our member and partner municipalities, as well - as the provincial and federal governments are extremely important in assisting with the level of services and programs that we're able to provide.
A recent example of these partnerships is the Provincial Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative, where the County of Simcoe will receive approximately $12,884,400 over two years ($6,442,200 per year) from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) to support our strategic Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative. Investments will support many existing projects already supported over the past 2 years and align locally with Our Community 10-Year Affordable Housing and Homelessness Prevention Strategy.
As part of our 10-Year Strategy, we aim to work closely with our partners to develop and implement creative solutions to provide greater access to a range of housing options by achieving a minimum of 2,685 new affordable housing units throughout our region. Partnerships with all levels of government, as well as the private and the not for profit sector are key to this endeavor.
There are several ways in which the Strategy aims to facilitate better movement throughout the housing continuum. One of our strategies is to increase the opportunity for residents to build secondary or garden suites on their properties and ultimately increase the number of affordable rental units in our region. This Ontario Renovates initiative is a component of the Investment in Affordable Housing for Ontario program funded by the federal and provincial governments. Funding is limited and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. I encourage you to visit www.simcoe.ca/ontariorenovatesfor more information.
By working together, we can collectively create a more seamless system of housing supports that is tailored to the individual and local needs of each community.
We are already making positive progress to engage and include our partners in the process. Members from our Council as well as our staff have been meeting with our member municipalities this spring to obtain their input as we start to build implementation strategies tailored for communities and areas throughout Simcoe County. I'm extremely pleased with the level of interest received from our municipalities to-date. Achieving our goals will require ongoing involvement and collaboration with partner agencies for the entire 10 years.
By developing and implementing creative solutions to improve housing opportunities which support the movement of individuals through the housing continuum—from rental assistance to homeownership—we are effectively creating a brighter future for our residents, communities and local economy.
Simcoe County Warden