Sudbury

More demand than supply for social housing in Greater Sudbury

The City of Greater Sudbury is looking at ways to improve its social housing programs. A report that's been two years in the making was presented to council during Monday's Community Service Committee meeting.

Most of the city's social housing stock was built more than 40 years ago

City council is exploring options to revitalize social housing projects. (Erik White/CBC)

The City of Greater Sudbury is looking at ways to improve its social housing programs.

A report that's been two years in the making was presented to council during Monday's Community Service Committee meeting.

The report includes recommendations related to social housing in the city and the issues that the city is currently facing.

One of the main issues named in the report is supply and demand.

"Currently we have approximately 1,400 households on our wait list and I would say approximately 80 per cent of that wait list is waiting for one bedroom units, within our existing stock we have 40 per cent of one bedroom units, so the demand and supply are not matching," said Cindi Briscoe, the city's Manager of Housing Services.

She says the other main issue is a lack of funding to revitalize many of the city's low income houses.

"Most of the stock was built in between 1950 and 1978," Briscoe said.

"That is quite an aged stock and so to ensure that the stock is maintained properly and receives the attention it needs, there's a good component of capital dollars that are required to do that."

The report recommends the city sell some of its scattered units and put the revenue from those sales in the Social Housing Capital Reserve Fund, which would help to cover the cost of building additional one bedroom units in the community. 

The sale of the scattered units would happen only when tenants decide to move out, so no one needs to worry about losing their home, says Briscoe.

Cindi Briscoe, manager of housing services says the current social housing stock does not meet the demand in the city. (Markus Schwabe/CBC)

The report also mentions the units at 159 Louis Street as a priority for revitalization. 

Briscoe says these units are very low demand and do not meet the current needs for social housing in the city, she says the town houses see a lot of tenant turnover. The report recommends re-developing the location with multi-income apartments, that will better suit the needs of future tenants. 

She says the proximity to the downtown also makes it a desirable location for social housing projects.

"We always want to make sure that the locational criteria is researched and that these social housing units are in areas that have access to transit, have access to any sort of amenities that they require, have access to potentially health providers," said Briscoe. 

Council will make a decision on the recommendations by the end of the year.

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