Saturday, September 12, 2009

Canadian Champion Friday September 11 2009

Affordable Housing in our Milton community made the fron page of the Canadian Champion Friday with a piece entitled "Region eyes site for social housing". We had it first on this blog! The paper was able to interview Adelina Urbanski, the Halton Region's commissioner for social and community services. Community consultation is promised on the project if it qualifies for funding. The paper writes that there are actually two empty blocks. The proposed site is the former Martin House.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Afforable Housing plan for Allendale

Good news! The Halton Region is applying for Federal/Provincial funds to build affordable housing on the south-east section of the Allendale property, in Milton, where Martin House used to be. Milton's Planning Dept. has been very supportive and played a key role in making the application possible. As the funding is for housing for seniors & people with disabilities, that is what the proposal will be built around. The CHS (Comprehensive Housing Strategy) specifically identified the Regionally-owned Ontario Street property in Milton (Allendale) as a potential site for affordable housing development as part of a larger village concept. While originally staff was uncertain that any project on these lands could be executed in time to meet the extremely tight timeliness under the stimulus dollars, staff has since revised their assessment. Based on a recent meeting held between staff of the Region and Town of Milton, there is a general agreement to expedite the affordable housing component on a portion of the property (south east corner) to take advantage of the Federal/Provincial stimulus program for housing. The Town has confirmed that the site has the appropriate zoning for the intended use. Staff is now assembling a work plan and a potential project proposal for an affordable housing development on the Ontario Street property. Submission to the Province will occur by September 30.
The proposal will be submitted and while we hope it will be successful there is no guarantee. We would likely find out in November if this project has been approved. In the meantime, staff will work on scoping out the project team (which we hope will include planning staff from the Town) as well as a communications plan to ensure that councillors and neighbours are kept up to date and involved in the consultation process when the project is further along. At this point in the process we do not know how many units will be proposed or what the project will look like.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Motel Ministry - Burlington & Oakville

Carol Willems-Payne, a social worker with the Salvation Army, discussed her work in the Motel Ministry with the homeless in Burlington and Oakville. This is a community outreach program with funding from Wellington Square United Church, Compass Point and others. They have a house in Burlington where homeless families can obtain short term shelter. There are facilities for 3 families in Burlington and 2 in Oakville. Other shelter, which is less than ideal, is provided in motels. There is always a waiting list. There are regular applications from Milton residents. The program has been unsuccessful in finding such facilities in Milton. An ideal facility is a ground floor apartment near the back of the building where the building owner/manager is supportive of the program. Names of candidates are obtained from Halton Region social services. Screening of the applicants is critical, as inappropriate behaviour by the short term residents put the program at risk. The cost would be about $1000 per month, supplied by a number of community supporters including churches and service clubs. It may be possible to negotiate lower than market rental rates because there is a long term commitment with guaranteed rent payments.

In order to make some progress in Milton, it was suggested that we might rent 2 rooms at the Fifth Wheel for the winter. Prior to any commitment to this course of action it will be necessary to obtain cooperation from the Region to screen appropriate candidates, obtain funding support from other institutions and arrange for competent supervision of the facilities and the program.