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District of Muskoka Affordable Housing Initiatives Program close to $5 million in 2024
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District of Muskoka Affordable Housing Initiatives Program close to $5 million in 2024

Posted: 2024-05-23 08:06:28 By: thebay

Community and Planning Services Committee member, Nancy Alcock, announced the Muskoka Affordable Housing Initiatives Program (MAHIP) program reached close to $5 million in 2024, in the May 21, 2024, District of Muskoka Council meeting.

According to the District, the program provides funding to eligible developers, builders, homeowners, buyers, and landlords as an initiative to create more affordable housing in the area.

Alcock advised, “We had 10 applications, 9 proponents, for a total of 51 units.”

However, she explained that the District was “way over capacity” because they approved $2.4 million in the 2024 budget. “So, in fact, we did approve for a total of 24 units to be built in 2024,” she said.

She expressed enthusiasm about an application that came from Habitat for Humanity for a project in Gravenhurst. She said, “It is for 6 units but for the first time Habitat is supporting the development of 6 modular homes. It’s a first for them and quite affordable.”

She continued, “If Council approves this, which I can’t see why they wouldn’t, their hope is that they will be able to repeat this throughout the District.”

According to Alcock, the Housing Taskforce has been considering increasing modular homes. “So, this particular application speaks to the value of that and certainly works with our MAHIP program but even outside of that it just is more affordable and more efficient,” she said.

Councillor, Dan Armour, confirmed that the MAHIP program has been “oversubscribed” over the past few years “and lots of money going out the door.”

He added that there have been issues with getting contracts signed and inquired about whether the District has resolved issues concerning this to enable developers can get money sooner and get started with their projects.

According to District staff, the program has continued to evolve over the years, including requiring more information prior to submissions for processing, rather than going back and forth to get it.

Also, given the demand for the program there has been an increase in competition for funding and the District has streamlined the process for long-term investment protection, which includes aspects developers are not in favour of.

District Chair, Jeff Lehman, indicated that additional residential units were also approved for the program. He said, “So that’s good to see in the first month of the program. We actually had a couple of second suites that were approved and that’s a program that we’ll continue to promote because it may be an option for homeowners here in Muskoka.”