Housing Corporation looking for seven per cent increase from council

By Kirk Winter

With the chronic shortage of affordable housing in Kawartha Lakes, the work being done by the municipally owned Kawartha Lakes Haliburton Housing Corporation in providing geared to income housing is becoming all the more important.

Kirstin Maxwell, the new CEO of KLHHC, provided council with a progress report of the corporation’s activities for 2021 and asked council for a seven per cent increase in their capital budget to help provide for tenants and improve their stock of available housing units.

“We are always looking to add more units and improve tenants’ lives,” Maxwell said. “In 2021 we added 29 new units. We purchased eight units in Fenelon and opened a 21-unit facility newly built in Minden. In the spring of 2022, we will have two to three new projects breaking ground.”

Maxwell told councillors that the corporation is always looking to upgrade the stock they have. In 2021, a project was undertaken to renovate bathrooms in existing units. The corporation is also improving their existing buildings by putting an emphasis on improving energy efficiency in older units.

“We have worked hard to support our tenants through the pandemic,” Maxwell said. “It has been difficult to build during this pandemic accessing materials, supplies, and available tradespeople. While costs of material are easing, we aren’t expecting them to return to pre-pandemic levels. When we need repairs done on our buildings it has been very hard to get contractors.”

Maxwell explained that while KLHHC did not require an increase of their $1.92 million operating subsidy received from Kawartha Lakes in 2020, they do need an increase in their capital subsidy from $915,632 in 2020 to $971,884 in 2021.

“We are now managing 784 units across Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton,” Maxwell said. “Our subsidy per unit in 2020 was $3,650 and in 2021 will be $3,685 per unit. We are coming out of the pandemic somewhat bruised.”

Council will consider the requests from KLHHC.  No final decision is expected until later in November when the budgeting process begins in earnest.

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