Following on a public meeting held in Killaloe during May, an association has been formed to promote and develop affordable housing in the area. The first job of the new group will be to put affordable housing on the agenda in municipal election campaigns this fall.
A ten-person steering committee has been meeting and making plans. Its members are Pembroke city councillor Brian Abdallah, Nadir Amlani of Eganville, Helen Benn of MV Township, MV Township CAO Suzanne Klatt, Maureen MacMillan of Killaloe, NAW Township special projects officer Cameron Montgomery, NAW Township Councillor Maria Robinson, Bil Smith of the Community Resource Centre (Killaloe), Ish Theilheimer of Golden Lake, and KHR Mayor Janice Tiedje.
In July, they decided to form the Affordable Housing Alliance of the Ottawa Valley (AHAOV), with plans to get active in communities around the County. They feel municipal elections present an ideal opportunity to educate, promote and enlist support.
“Affordable housing has become a huge issue in our area,” says Ish Theilheimer. “Local elections give us a chance to talk with candidates about solutions and promote action.“
The Alliance’s mission statement notes there is, “a severe lack of housing available, both for rent or purchase, across the region.” Local people, it says, “have been priced out of the limited market and must move to urban areas to find housing.”
These conditions have rapidly created a crisis on many levels. “Employers are hard-pressed to find workers who can afford to live here, young families are being forced to move away, seniors are being ‘renovicted’ out of homes they’ve lived in for years,” Mr. Theilheimer says. “This is not at all just an urban problem. We’re going to need to work hard and very creatively.”
The group plans to organize town hall meetings in area communities during the last two weeks of September to educate candidates, learn from local residents, develop ideas and enthusiasm, and recruit support and supporters. They will be reaching out to local municipalities, builders, investors, and ordinary citizens for participation and involvement.
The group’s mission statement says, “Housing is a human right and impacts the most vulnerable in our communities most intensely.” The problem, it says, gets worse with inflation.
AHAOV plans to appeal to local residents to become members and build partnerships with community organizations, municipalities and private funders. “People tell us they want creative solutions for sustainable housing in our communities,” Theilheimer says. “It won’t be easy, but there is tremendous need and, also, tremendous public support.”
AHAOV members feel it is important to generate research and creative ideas that will help inform and drive the development of uniquely local solutions to the affordable housing crisis. “We are going to need a range of innovative options including shared housing,” Mr. Theilheimer says.
AHAOV encourages people to visit and “like” its Facebook page as a way to get informed and become involved. Click their logo below to visit the page, Facebook/Affordable-Housing-Alliance-of-the-Ottawa-Valley
Theilheimer,I.,AHAOV(2022,Aug.19) New alliance aims to put affordable housing on the municipal election agenda [media release]