Durham Region has announced plans for a 50-unit affordable and supportive housing project in Beaverton.
Regional councillors recently approved an Expedited Supportive Housing Report, which outlines a pair of projects designed to address the needs of Durham’s unsheltered residents.
The Beaverton project will be located on land owned by the Region at 133 Main Street, subject to the approval of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
“Residents will have access to wraparound services to promote life stabilization. To expedite the development process, the Region is pursuing a modular construction technique that has seen significant success in western Canada and is growing in popularity in Ontario,” reads a press release from the Region.
The other project is a 10-unit ‘microhome’ development in Oshawa that would provide temporary supportive housing.
It is anticipated that both projects will be ready for occupancy by 2021.
“The COVID-19 crisis has brought the needs of our unsheltered residents to the forefront. These innovative projects support our commitment to end homelessness in Durham by 2024. Having these new units in Beaverton and Oshawa brings us one step closer to reaching this goal. Investing in our vulnerable populations will increase the well-being of the entire community as we deal with the ongoing health pandemic,” said Regional Chair and CEO John Henry.
“Regional Council approved undertaking a comprehensive housing strategy earlier this year, which allowed staff to explore short and long-term approaches to the development of supportive housing throughout the region,” added Stella Danos-Papaconstantinou, the Region’s commissioner of social services.
“We continue to work with local municipalities and our community partners to identify available lands that can be used for more permanent housing. Our partners are vital in helping us meet the needs of this vulnerable population, providing many support services to the community and working with us to develop innovative solutions.”
What is Supportive Housing?
According to the provincial government, supportive housing generally refers to a combination of housing assistance and supports that enable people to live as independently as possible in their community.
This definition includes several forms of housing assistance (e.g., rent geared-to-income, rent supplements, housing allowances) and housing types (e.g., dedicated buildings, individual units).
“Supports also take a variety of forms and vary in intensity based on people’s unique needs,” reads the Ontario Supportive Housing Policy Framework guide.
“A few examples of supports include counselling, personal support, case management, income support and assistance with applying for social assistance, assistance with medication, and life skills training (e.g., purchasing food/meal preparation, and money management). For the purposes of the Framework, supportive housing includes both permanent supportive housing and transitional housing.”
Ontario’s supportive housing programs serve a wide range of people, including:
– High risk seniors;
– Persons with mental health related needs, serious mental illness and/or problematic substance use;
– Persons with physical disabilities;
– Persons with developmental disabilities;
– Persons with acquired brain injuries;
– Persons with terminal/chronic illness (e.g., HIV/AIDS);
– Persons who have a history of homelessness or are at risk of homelessness;
– Youth at risk; and
– Survivors of domestic violence.