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September 21 and 22
2 days, 2 disciplines, 2 ways to participate – defining our professional roles and uniting to build more equitable, accessible and inspired communities.
Housing is recognized internationally as a basic human right, yet in Ontario, affordable housing and homelessness remain a challenge for communities large and small. A recent survey in rural Ontario found that 30% of all households were low income and that half of these households were facing affordability issues. Homelessness is often seen as a social issue affecting urban areas; however, homelessness in rural areas is largely invisible. Many homeless individuals in rural areas live in vehicles, motels or forested areas or chronically couch surf. Many of these individuals have lost their home due to abuse or some form of trauma, physical health problem, substance use, mental health concern, or disability.
Provincial policy requires planning authorities to “establish and implement minimum targets for the provision of housing which is affordable...” and to “permit and facilitate all forms of housing required to meet the social, health, and well-being requirements of current and future residents, including special needs requirements.” Consequently, many small municipalities have policies in their official plans to support the development of affordable housing but struggle with implementation. Though many resources and toolkits exist for municipalities to address the affordable housing crisis, the majority of these resources are geared towards planning and development in an urban context.
This session presents an eye-opening view of the state of housing affordability and homelessness in rural Ontario and explores a range of ideas to address these issues through advocacy, community engagement, municipal official plan policy, and zoning by-laws, including non-traditional housing (e.g., secondary suites, rooming, and laneway homes). Participants will be provided with an opportunity to ask questions pertaining to issues of rural housing affordability and homelessness and how this relates to the work planners do on a daily basis.