By Chris Pickup

A lot of Haldimand-Norfolk Housing Corporation’s housing stock is in the 40 to 50 year age range and will need replacement in the next ten years.

Brian Snyder, the corporation’s vice president, presented the 2017 annual report to council in committee Tuesday. The two counties of Haldimand and Norfolk hold shares in the corporation.

In 2017 the HNHC Regeneration report was completed, which looked closely at the current portfolio, and to identify exactly where new affordable housing is required and how to provide it. 

The need for affordable housing continues to escalate each year, but there are more funding opportunities than just provincial and federal funding, the report notes. HNHC owns $55 million in assets, over $24 million of which are unencumbered.

Complete and mixed portfolios (rent-geared-to-income, affordable and market rents) are more inclusive and financially healthy than 100% RGI, and some of the aging assets no longer make fiscal sense.

Snyder told council single family housing is a waste of money, with  huge maintenance costs for a small return in rent. He would like to see them replaced with more one bedroom units. The wait list shows family housing applications at 70 with adult housing at 120 and seniors at 73.

Councillor Rob Shirton concurred, noting there are three semis on Dunnville’s Main Street with “more green space than house”. He would like to see them torn down to make room for apartments.

Hewitt asked what the county can do to tap into funds.

CAO Don Boyle leapt in to say “there is tons of potential”. He said groups have lots of ideas. Norfolk has taken the lead in this and Haldimand needs to get into it. 

“We need a long term vision… need to know where we’re going. This could be a big priority,” he said.