Significant New Funding Received for Long-term Landlord SPARK Initiative

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Media Release, The Meeting Place, Tobermory

April 6, 2022 – In early March The Meeting Place in Tobermory received confirmation from Bruce County that it will receive $110,000.00 in funding for the Long-term Landlord Housing Initiative, a project that emerged out of the Seasonal Workers & Entrepreneurs Spark Ideas (SPARK) working groups that met over the winter of 2019/2020. 

Multiple SPARK projects arose from the initial working groups including one on e-bikes, another on entrepreneurship, one on extending the season and another on housing. Keenly aware that new housing infrastructure takes time and money, the housing group sought to look at the housing shortage creatively.

Previous seed funding to investigate feasibility and consider scope to grow the long-term rental housing inventory was furnished in grants from the County and The Community Foundation of Grey Bruce. A two phase investigation was conducted in 2021 resulting in two reports which clearly articulated next steps and underpinned the present application to Bruce County. The current funding will take the project into pilot phase. 

The pilot phase will include the development of criteria and mechanisms to provide grants for long-term landlord applicants seeking to upgrade or retro-fit properties for conversion to the long-term rental market. The pilot will also look at key components of the landlord-tenant relationship and supports that might be developed to foster long-term satisfaction for both parties. A small community advisory group will work with a representative of The Meeting Place Board and a part-time project manager. A further aspect of the new phase of work will be a community information campaign which will begin to roll out within the next month.

The Meeting Place will continue to work closely with Bruce County, the MNBP and the Attainable Housing Task Force. 

Noreen Steinacher, Board Chair, says The Meeting Place is “very excited” while at the same time aware of the workload inherent to the project. She says it’s encouraging that part of this agreement includes, for the first time, a five year service agreement with Bruce County. In broad brush strokes the agreement seeks to ensure “the delivery of community-based initiatives aimed at creating an inclusive community hub for all residents”. 

Local resident Kim Belrose, a participant in the early SPARK working groups, is pleased to see something happening to address the housing crisis. Speaking specifically to this pilot project she urges people to think with their “hearts not just their pockets”. 

To learn more about the work of the SPARK Housing Initiative visit The Meeting Place website at tobermorymeetingplace.com/spark/