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Gray County plans to contribute $ 3 million to help Lutheran Social Services in Owen Sound build an almost $ 10 million senior’s apartment building with 32 affordable and accessible units.

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The council approved a task force motion last week to support the allocation of the money through the county’s affordable housing fund, which is to include both county and provincial dollars, under 20-year form of loan that will be forgivable as long as 20 of the units remain affordable. accommodation throughout.

Director Selwyn Hicks said Lutheran Social Services have a proven track record in providing accessible housing in the area and the county’s contribution is part of its commitment to boost affordable housing.

“It’s an extremely important investment,” he said in an interview.

“The number 1 problem we’ve heard from almost everyone delegating to county council is that you have to look at housing, whether it’s affordable or achievable. We’ve heard from the Four County Labor Market Planning Board, we’ve heard from Gray Bruce’s drug strategy more recently. Everyone says we have to fix the housing crisis. “

Hicks said he urged the county council in his inaugural address as 2021 director to take “bold steps” on affordable housing.

“This is proof that we actually do it. But, we cannot stop there. There is still a lot to do, ”he said.

Lutheran Social Services currently offers a range of housing in Owen Sound, including rent subsidized and full market housing in all eight floors, 78 St. Francis Place units and life lease condominiums at Corbet Place on 1st West Avenue.

The nonprofit plans to build its new energy-efficient five-story senior apartment on a property it owns in block 1000 of 3.rd East Avenue.

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Twenty of the units are to be affordable, with rent of $ 650 per month for a one-bedroom unit and $ 740 per month for a two-bedroom unit. Market rental rates, yet to be determined, will be charged for feasible one and two bedroom units. Twelve of the units will be fully accessible.

Affordable housing will be available to those on the Gray County waiting list, while achievable housing will be available to the general public.

Lutheran Social Services plans to begin construction in the spring and finish work in the fall of 2023, according to a report that county housing director Anne Marie Shaw presented to the Affordable Housing Task Force.

Construction is expected to cost around $ 8.8 million and there will also be planning and financing expenses.

The Gray County Affordable Housing Fund currently holds around $ 1.1 million, Shaw said.

The county council voted to increase its tax levy by one percent per year – or about $ 630,000 per year – and put that money into the fund, which is to help build new affordable housing and cover rental supplements. . The county is also selling two of its single-family homes in what’s known as the Westmount area of ​​Owen Sound, near Alpha Street. These sales are expected to add approximately $ 600,000 to the fund.

Shaw said the county expects to receive provincial money for affordable housing in 2022 and 2023, which will also go into the fund. It’s unclear how much will be received, she said, but the province has allocated $ 500,000 to Gray in 2021.

The county has allocated $ 150,000 in affordable housing funds to Lutheran Social Services for each of its 20 affordable units, she said.

The $ 3 million funding will reduce the monthly mortgage amount for the building, she said, which in turn will allow the organization to keep the units affordable.

Approximately $ 960,000 will remain in the Affordable Housing Fund in 2023 for future projects.


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