The City of Stratford is getting additional investment from the provincial government for phase two of their attainable housing project.
Stratford Mayor Dan Mathieson and Perth-Wellington Conservative MPP Matthew Rae made the announcement in front of Stratford city hall on Tuesday. Rae announced that the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs granted $80,000 to the city through the Rural Economic Development (RED) program.
“Our government is working with our municipal partners to solve the housing crisis,” said Rae. “And this RED funding will help build a community toolkit to support the development of attainable housing right here in Perth-Wellington.”
The ‘community toolkit’ that was discussed at the announcement is programming designed to create more attainable housing in Stratford.
The city’s economic development arm, investStratford, will use the funding to develop the community toolbox. How they use that and implement that would be up to investStratford, Rae said.
“Essentially, it's the seed funding to get it going.”
In the last three years, Rae said, they have received more than $125,000 in RED funding devoted to housing. “At the end of this, we'll have a Community Toolbox which will help developers, for example, navigate the system and build more attainable and affordable housing.”
This grant is supplemental to the previous funding the city has gotten for phase one of their plan. Phase one of ‘The Stratford Housing Project: A Road Map for Attainable Market Housing Development’ received funding from the province in 2020 and was adopted by city council in 2021. Phase two will support implementation of the report, a work plan, and the toolkit program.
Council will consider the plan in 2023.
Mathieson lauded the project, saying the city and investStratford are grateful for the province’s support.
“The project aligns with the workforce development priorities of investStratford and the Strategic Priorities of city council relating to increasing affordable housing and residential development at all levels of affordability,” he said.
Stakeholder and public consultations will be scheduled in the future. How the community toolkit will be used will be up to investStratford.
Rae said that it is vital provincial and municipal governments work together.
“They know what their communities need and what type of projects they want built,” he said.
From infill to unit types – semis or townhouses – “As an MPP, we rely on our municipal partners to help us build those affordable units.”
While this fund goes to a specific program, Rae did say that if they need additional he will work with investStratford to support that application. The RED fund is for rural economic growth and applications can be made so long as it supports development.