Affordable housing is a challenge for any city.
Now the city of Oshawa is trying to tackle the issue, partnering with Habitat for Humanity GTA to build new 50 new townhouse units in the South end.
VP of Construction and regional manager for Durham, Wayne Dempsey says it’s something that is desperately needed in the region.
“I know there’s a huge wait list,” he says. “But there’s the ones we don’t even know about. There’s lots of couch surfing that really need housing.”
The project will see three-bedroom stacked townhouses being built at 485 Normandy Street. 18 of the units are set to be complete next year. The homes giving families more space to spread out along with the supports needed when trying to buy a home.
“The nice thing is we can move people in here they can own their own home,” says Dempsey. “That in turn frees up rentals for those that can’t get into that situation at this point.”
Oshawa city Councillor Tito-Dante Marimpietri says this project will help us get ahead of what’s to come.
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“The global pandemic has shed an intense spotlight on the need for housing in communities across Canada,”
“As a result, the City has put a parcel of surplus land to a higher use to give more families the opportunity to find a safe home to live.”
Dempsey says it’s been a rough year for the organization. They recently amalgamated with Durham’s chapter to help collaborate on projects. But they say with pandemic — there has been a desperate need for housing — but a lack of manpower to make them.
“That’s been a bit of a challenge. Normally on a day like today there would be like 50 people on the site,” said Dempsey while pointing to an empty job site.
These units are meant to help families coming from low-income situations. Robert Brglez is the executive director of a community organization, Cornerstone. They help unsheltered individuals around the city. He says although they deal with mostly middle-aged men in the homeless population — he says last year they helped 32 homeless families, totalling 52 children. He says it’s families like these that could benefit from this type of housing.
“This is really sort of a proactive, preemptive move if we can provide families the type of housing that they can afford, with the supports to help stabilize things,” says Brglez.
He says if we can help families start with a foundation of a good family home — it lays a path to a brighter future.
Families are currently being matched for this project. Phase one of the project is set to be complete next year. But officials say in order for them to keep up with the several projects they have on the go — they need volunteers.