Townhall meeting in Barry’s Bay aims to put affordable housing on MV municipal election agenda

A new organization dedicated to creating affordable housing is holding a townhall meeting in Barry’s Bay on September 21 in hopes of inspiring local people, municipal officers, potential investors, local business and other to take action to create housing and to show municipal candidates how they can help.

The Affordable Housing Alliance of the Ottawa Valley (AHAOV) was formed during the summer to promote and develop affordable housing in the area. The group is working to put affordable housing on the agenda in municipal election campaigns this fall by having townhall meetings on the subject in as many municipalities as possible.

“With real estate prices ballooning and rental housing disappearing, affordable housing for young families, ordinary workers, low-income seniors, and others has become a crisis in every community,” says organizer Ish Theilheimer. “Although it’s usually seen as an urban problem, the housing crisis is hitting the rural Ottawa Valley hard too. We’re losing a lot of young people from our communities, and it’s part of why it’s hard for local businesses to find workers.”

With support from MV Township, AHAOV has organized the meeting to be held at the Barry’s Bay Royal Canadian Legion, 250 John St, Barry’s Bay, ON K0J 1B0 at 6:00 p.m. The AHAOV steering committee is also arranging to hold townhalls in the City of Pembroke (Sept. 27), KHR Township (Oct. 4), NAW Township BV Township (Oct. 5) and NAW Township (Oct. 6).

At the meeting, people will have to opportunity to introduce themselves and will be asked to tell their stories and share their concerns regarding the housing situation in our community. Then there will be a short presentation developed by AHAOV laying out some of the ways people in other locations have created affordable housing. A big emphasis will be on the important ways municipalities can help in the process and what people in the community and municipal politicians can do. “Local government can help, but it’s a long-term process, and it requires committed local people,” Ish Theilheimer says.

Sources of financing and how other communities have paid for new housing will be a main topic. “It seems daunting, especially with construction costs as high as they are, but there is some public financing available. And we believe there is loyal capital right here in the community, people and businesses who would like to invest in the long-term health of our communities and the people who live and work in them,” says Theilheimer. “We will need strong partners to address the crisis.” AHAOV Steering Committee member Helen Benn, of Barry’s Bay, hopes that enough interested people will come forward at the meeting to form a MV Township community committee, with the intention of developing affordable housing. “A place where young and old alike will have opportunities for safe, sustainable and affordable homes so that they can stay in the community they call home and thrive, not just survive,” she says.

Editor’s Note: This article was amended on Sept.13 to provide the dates of the meetings to be held in Pembroke, KHR Township, BV Township and NAW Township.

Theilheimer,I.,AHAOV(2022,Sept.9) MV Township townhall on affordable housing seeks to create action and inform municipal candidates [media release]

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