Submitted by Hazel Smith,
Through the swapping of stories of painful searches, sales-over-asking price, long wait lists, and converted (or sort of converted) garden sheds, many of us on the northern Bruce have come to believe we are in the midst of a housing crisis. It seems we all know someone who is searching or was recently searching. Someone who perhaps had to leave the area, take on a long commute, or opt for that garden shed. Thankfully, in some cases the stories end with a happy outcome: secure, decent and affordable long-term housing.
Besides these stories that we swap at the Post Office or in Peacocks or at Coffee Club, where is the formal data to actually substantiate our collective perception?
In the adjacent somewhat dated graphic (Bruce County, 2014), at first glance there appears to be no unmet need for “Family” or “Adult” housing in the Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula. The table shows a waiting list for “Senior” housing only. But of course the table is only a reflection of the sad reality that there is no “Family” or “Adult” accommodation to apply for. Tenants or would-be tenants are almost exclusively dependent on private landlords who in large numbers are opting to offer only short-term rentals (either to short-term vacationers or summer seasonal staff).
This Spark Initiative has the ultimate goal of inspiring and supporting a modest growth in the private long-term housing inventory, but first we need to gather evidence beyond the informal stories. We are seeking as a first step to document that the need we believe exists is real and substantial.
To date we have had conversations with 12 respondents (4 landlords, 5 tenants, and 3 community members) plus received detailed and helpful written submissions from 5 others, with a few more contacts pending. The interview phase of this initiative will end on January 16th. A huge and heartfelt thank you to everyone who has so graciously contributed thus far.
Feedback Needed From Tenants and Landlords
The work is not done! We vigorously encourage all existing tenants and aspirational tenants to please visit The Meeting Place facebook page to complete a short, 10 question survey. It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes and it is anonymous. The survey will be available by Friday January 15th at https://www.facebook.com/TMPTobermory and remain open until the end of January. Our goal is to receive at least 20 responses so please check it out and share with anyone who might be willing to participate.
Similarly, if you have current or recent experience as a landlord in the community, whether providing short or long term accommodation, we encourage you to participate in a landlord specific survey which will also be posted on The Meeting Place facebook page (see above). Likewise it is only 10 questions long and will take mere minutes to complete.
If you are not on facebook please reach out to Hazel Smith by email at email@example.com or by phone at 519 596 2313 and we will happily provide you with an electronic link to the survey.
This Spark Initiative to explore the feasibility of a long-term housing inventory is part of the Bruce County strategic community initiatives fund, The Meeting Place has received 2-year funding to help facilitate the design of some new resources. The focus is specific to addressing social and economic ‘risks’ sometimes associated with the seasonal economy.