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United Way Perth-Huron tackling housing crisis head on


The time for talk about affordable housing has come to end for the United Way of Perth-Huron.

“The United Way is saying, ‘Hey, housing is at a crisis.' The United Way is saying, 'We need to do something about it.' And, the answer, after doing lots of research and consultations over the last the past couple years, is that we need a new not-for-profit housing corporation that’s going to lead in this space. So, we’re here to set it up,” said Ryan Erb, executive director of the United Way of Perth-Huron.

United Housing launched Wednesday with a $540,000 fundraising campaign to get the initiative that will actually see United Way build and manage mixed rental model housing units in Huron and Perth County off the ground.

“We’re actually talking about from start to finish. We’d do the pre-development work, we’d raise the capital to get them built. We get the approvals from municipalities, and then we would operate these facilities. A full scale operation,” said Director of United Housing, Mitchell Rhodes.

It’s not just new builds that they’re talking about — existing rental units could also be a part of United Housing’s plans.

Mitchell Rhodes and Ryan Erb discuss the launch of United Housing, a United Way of Perth-Huron initiative to build affordable housing in Huron and Perth County on Nov. 22, 2023 in Stratford, Ont. (Scott Miller/CTV News London)

“We would entertain the idea of buying a property and renovating it. We would certainly do that. We actually have those projects in mind in our development portfolio,” said Rhodes.

When it comes to the issue of how it will be paid for, Rhodes proposed a combination of fundraising, community bonds, government grants, along with developer and municipal partnerships.

With 300 homeless in Huron-Perth, and more than 900 affordable housing units required in the next 10 years in Perth County alone, Erb said there’s no time to waste.

“We know there are children growing up in our communities who have little hope of ever owning a home. We have a labour shortage. We can’t get workers here because they can’t afford housing to match the work that’s here. So, there are many reasons for the housing crisis, and it makes sense that we step in and partner together to make a difference for the community,” said Erb.

You can learn more about the United Way Perth-Huron’s ambition plan to build affordable housing themselves by visiting their website Top Stories

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