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Ten reasons why we need to encourage diverse housing options in Wellington County

Solutions for more housing are needed to support the growth and prosperity of Wellington County

Across the country, we are experiencing a housing crisis.

From young adults to seniors, new Canadians to long-time community members, people are struggling to find rental or ownership options that allow them to move out on their own, downsize in their retirement, have enough room for their growing family, or move here to start an exciting new job.

These are our neighbours, co-workers, and friends. We need to keep them here to keep our economy strong. Businesses are losing workers that provide the services we all rely on for our health, wellbeing, leisure and community prosperity. If they can’t keep good people, we all suffer.

Wellington County is mandated by the Province of Ontario to grow, and we need to add hundreds of housing units for people to rent or purchase. Affordability, availability, and range of choice are all key issues.

The good news is, as a community, we can adopt and accept changes that will help reduce the pressure and create more diverse housing options. We can be open to mixed development choices in our neighbourhoods and communities, such as apartment and condominium buildings, and multiplexes such as row or stacked townhouses. We can encourage converting unused buildings into residential units, and we can create rental opportunities in our homes or on our properties.

We have options – we have choices.

Why consider new housing options? Here are 10 good reasons:

  1. Keep a strong local economy - Businesses contribute employment, taxes, charitable support, and inject millions in our local economy. Employers need to fill jobs – we lose valuable members of our workforce if they relocate to different communities.
  2. Accelerate innovation – Innovation helps economies to thrive. When people move here, they bring new skills, experience, knowledge, and ideas that benefit our businesses, and our communities.
  3. Keep our young talent – Communities that retain their young people stay strong, relevant and healthy. As they start out on their own, young adults need access to housing options that suit their needs – if we lose them, we lose their amazing potential, too.
  4. Volunteering and community engagement – Volunteers contribute the equivalent of millions of dollars of value to make a community rich, healthy and connected. When we keep people here, and when they commute less, they have more time to make a difference in important areas like poverty relief, food security, children’s programming and so much more.
  5. Keep essential caregivers here – Our healthcare, elder care and social service system all depend on skilled, dedicated staff who get to know us and provide superb care. It is becoming increasingly difficult for these employers to attract and keep good people because of housing challenges.
  6. Reduced impact on social services – Inadequate housing is a key contributor to food insecurity, poverty, mental health, addiction, and other struggles that draw on our resources and volunteers. When people are under less stress, or don’t need housing support, our social services can be allocated to more urgent cases resulting in improved community wellbeing and resiliency.
  7. Rich and diverse culture – Welcoming new people here by having enough housing options brings their diverse experiences, customs, and knowledge to share in our community. Neighbourhoods become more inclusive, interesting, and connected.
  8. Boost tourism and shop local – Hospitality and retail businesses that can attract staff can be open longer and provide a better experience for visitors that contribute millions of dollars to our local economy.
  9. The best dining experiences – Every so often, we all enjoy leaving the cooking to others and having a night out. Restaurants are struggling to retain staff because they can’t access housing they can afford, resulting in reduced hours or even permanent closures.
  10. It’s the right thing to do – Wellington County has never been a place that shies away from a challenge or excludes anyone. We have always been a caring, welcoming community that does what’s right to help others.

When we work together, we can all have a place to call home and retain the character and heritage of our neighbourhoods, the quiet, small-town feeling of our communities and the reputation that Wellington County is, and always will be, the greatest place to live in Canada.

Learn more about housing options in our community here.