The chair of the Strategic Housing and Homelessness Committee said in a phone interview the perception that affordable housing isn’t needed in Caledon isn’t true.
“We have this perception of Caledon that people here don’t need affordable housing or social assistance or anything like that, and it isn’t true,” said Annette Groves, who is also the Caledon regional councillor for ward five.
“It is up to Caledon to advocate for the region to look at changing that mindset and recognizing that we do have a lot of families here that need this,” she said.
Groves said the only affordable housing in the town is Stationview Place, a social housing complex which has 30 allocated units for subsidized housing.
When it comes to the demand for affordable housing in Caledon, Groves says it’s “something that I feel I haven’t been able to deliver to these residents because there’s a long wait list.”
“I’ve got seniors who are looking for affordable housing. I’ve got families who are looking for affordable housing.”
Coral McMahan is a care co-ordinator with Caledon Community Services’ Exchange. She says they have over 370 clients at any one time, who are low-income families and individuals looking for assistance with food, recreation and other supports.
Housing isn’t their mandate but McMahan explained, “Caledon doesn’t have a housing-specific agency, worker or anything like that so we do get a lot of that coming through.”
“Affordable housing, I would say (the majority) of our families have an issue with affordable housing right now.”
McMahan said that a lot of Exchange clients may have housing that isn’t safe, or is in a difficult area They don’t have the greatest landlords or they find it difficult to afford their rent because of rent increases.
“Other issues clients are having in securing housing is meeting the requirements of landlords,” she said. “Documentation required are credit check, job letters, previous landlord reference letter. Some landlords are asking for character references.
“Some clients are declined due to being on social assistance,” she said.
The region has a Housing Master Plan and according to the region’s website, “If the plan is fully funded and implemented, it will add over 5,650 new affordable rental units/ beds, including 226 supportive (beds/units) and 60 emergency shelter beds to the housing stock by 2034.”
Only 263 of those are for Caledon.
Although McMahan appreciates that the plan recognizes that there’s a problem, she asked, “How big will the problem be at the end of 2034?”
“That’s good for these numbers now. Will it be enough in 2028? Probably not.” (Although the master plan is for 2034, Caledon’s portion will be complete by 2028.)
Groves believes that it’s “a little short-sighted on the staff’s part at the region.”
“I continue to advocate at the region even though the staff are telling us that it’s Brampton and Mississauga, really, that needs it because we don’t have too many people in Caledon, but that’s wrong,” Groves said. “There’s a misconception here that only rich people live in Caledon. Not true.”
According to Aileen Baird, the director of housing services at the region, “to determine the potential unit counts, high-level technical assumptions were applied. In particular, these assumptions included: site-servicing capacity, residential density, land use compatibility, access to community services and amenities. These unit counts were not determined on the basis of population.”
“Many of the larger projects identified in the Housing Master Plan are aligned with the areas of need,” Baird said in an email statement.
Story Behind the Story: With so few units and beds allotted for Caledon in Peel’s Housing Master Plan when compared to Mississauga and Brampton, we wanted to understand what the need is for affordable housing in Caledon.