The leader of Ontario’s Green Party pledges 1,000 new affordable housing rentals in our riding if his party is elected.
Mike Schreiner made the announcement in Huntsville’s River Mill Park Tuesday afternoon in between bouts of canvassing with Parry Sound-Muskoka candidate Matt Richter.
According to Schreiner, those units are a portion of the 100,000 his party promises province-wide, and would be a mix of new developments and repurposing existing buildings. He says that’s to get the spaces up and running as fast as possible.
“Repurposing existing buildings into new housing spaces is an important component of what we’re proposing, because oftentimes that can be accelerated much faster because the base structures are already in place,” says Schreiner. “We are proposing flowing that money as fast as possible.”
Richter noted the repurposing of a shuttered public school in the riding into 40 rental units at $850 or less per month in rent, a community gym, and daycare centre.
“The current rental rate monthly is in the ballpark of $1,600 up, and that’s across our entire riding,” says Richter. “People even from the city, in the GTA, are coming up here thinking they’re going to find a place to call home and they’re not able to afford our riding any longer.”
Richter added that staffing shortages at local health care organizations are directly tied to the lack of affordable housing, as there’s nowhere for them to live. “It is a dire situation and quite unique here in our riding,” says Richter.
Schreiner also announced a proposed province-wide program to offer zero-interest loans of $25,000 for homeowners to add affordable rental units to their property, as well as the freezing of urban boundaries to protect 30 per cent of Ontario’s nature by 2030 and address climate change.
“We will increase housing supply and we will do it while maintaining urban boundaries, so we can protect the nature that protects us, the nature that provides the foundation of the wealth and prosperity, and what people love about living in Parry Sound-Muskoka,” says Schreiner.
Meanwhile, the provincial Conservatives promise 1.5-million new homes over 10 years, with more than 100,000 new home starts this year, and 13,000 new purpose-built rentals.
The New Democrats also pledge 1.5-million homes within the decade with 250,000 of those classed as affordable and 60,000 classed as supportive housing, as well as the repair of 260,000 existing social housing units.
The Ontario Liberals, who are not running a candidate in Parry Sound-Muskoka, say they’ll bring back rent control– a promise shared by the NDP– which would limit yearly rent increases during a lease to a set rate.