The City of Windsor has been given help from the provincial government to ease a shortage of affordable housing.Mayor Drew Dilkens was among Ontario mayors who participated Wednesday in a housing summit, hosted by Premier Doug Ford and Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark. The purpose was to discuss ideas on how to increase the housing supply across the province and collaborate on methods to create housing across all demographics.
The mayor told WindsorNewsToday.ca Wednesday night that the city will receive $1.7-million from a $45-million provincial fund, split among Ontario's 39 most populous municipalities.
"It will allow us to undertake a Lean Six Sigma review to make sure that from a process and efficiency standpoint, we are doing everything we can to move development applications through the process as quickly as possible," said Dilkens.
With the real estate market still very much in favour of sellers, the average price of a home for sale has been skyrocketing. According to the December 2021 figures from the Windsor Essex County Association of Realtors (WECAR), the average price of a home for sale in the region was $575,069, a 25.7 per cent increase from December 2020.
Dilkens said it was important to begin levelling the playing field.
"From a City perspective, we know that that is causing a lot of pain for folks who are trying to enter the real estate market," said Dilkens. "We know it's causing a lot of pain for folks renting and looking for affordable rents, and we want to make sure that from our perspective and a provincial perspective, everyone is doing all they can to help increase the supply."
Windsor has made a start in addressing the affordable housing crunch, with the Meadowbrook Lane complex under construction. But the mayor insisted that the solutions won't come overnight.
"This is going to take a concerted effort from all three levels of government, and every municipality across Canada, to try to move the needle," said Dilkens. "What I know from the federal level, what I've heard from the premier, and what I know from myself and City Council, we are all committed to try and make a difference to improve the lives of people who live here, and make housing affordable."
Ford, Clark, and other provincial housing officials are scheduled to attend the virtual Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) conference next week, to discuss the housing shortage from a rural point of view.