7-year wait for families on Simcoe County housing listing: report

As of December 31, Simcoe County’s rent-geared-to-income waiting list had 4,664 households, while there are only 2,772 units in total

For families, individuals and seniors who need county-controlled low-income housing, the wait is about five to seven years.

As of December 31, 2021, 4,664 households were on Simcoe County’s centralized rent-geared-to-income housing waiting list.

The average wait time on the list for a family or individual is over seven years. Those who escape abuse are given priority, but the average wait time is still over four years.

These and other sobering statistics about the current state of Simcoe County’s public housing waiting list were presented in a report as part of Friday’s Affordable Housing Advisory Committee meeting. (June 17).

“We’re going up steadily, but not too fast, which I guess is a good thing,” said Tiny Township President and Deputy Mayor Steffen Walma.

The report provides data on the centralized waiting list for rent-geared-to-income assistance as of December 31, 2021.

Of the 4,664 households on the centralized waiting list, 1,315 are families (28%), 2,430 are adults with no dependents (52%) and 919 are seniors (20%). This represents an overall increase of 2.6% over the 2020 waitlist.

During the meeting, General Manager of Community and Social Services Greg Bishop acknowledged that needs have increased across the county, even since Dec. 31, 2021.

“Across the province and in Simcoe County, of course, the need is greater. It continues to be, partly because of the pandemic and partly because of the limited supply of housing,” Bishop said.

Currently, the county has about 3,000 rent-geared-to-income units, but only has access to 2,772 units because former federal providers are not required to participate in the centralized waiting list system.

When applying through the county process, applicants are entered into RENTCafe, a common housing industry database.

The database captures information regarding the applicant’s personal and emergency contact details, household composition, rental history, current income, and housing location preferences.

Applicant information is updated annually or whenever an applicant reports a change in their circumstances.

Once approved to be on the list, priority candidates (those who have fled abuse or been trafficked) are placed at the top of the list, while all other candidates are added in chronological order.

Sara Peddle, task force member and executive director of the Busby Center, expressed concern that individuals and families could be removed from the list if the county is unable to contact the requester.

In 2021, the county processed 1,606 new applications and canceled 1,436.

“My concern is when we see cancellation due to non-contact, especially in the homeless population, because contact can be a challenge when they don’t have a phone,” Peddle said.

Bishop said the most common reasons for lack of contact may include the applicant leaving the area or finding accommodation through other means.

“If they’re cancelled, we refer to that as basically asking them to get out of line because we can’t reach them,” said Debbie Harris, supervisor of plaintiff tenant services. “If they appear or if we find them later, there is no penalty. We add them back and they remain on the list with their original date.

The time spent on the waiting list varies depending on personal circumstances.

Including priority applicants, current wait times are 6.8 years for seniors, 4.3 years for applicants without dependents, and 2.9 years for applicants with dependents. dependent. The average wait time overall is 4.7 years.

Removing priority applicants from the equation, current wait times are 7.4 years for seniors, 9.4 years for applicants without dependents and 5.2 years for applicants with dependents. The average wait time overall is 7.3 years.

In 2021, 182 new households were housed in rent-geared-to-income housing across the county. Average unit turnover over the past three years was 6.9%.

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