Meeting in Killaloe to consider affordable housing in the area

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There will be an open public meeting at Killaloe Lions Hall on Wednesday, May 25 at 7 p.m. to consider ways to help meet the need for sustainable and affordable housing in the area.

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With housing prices exploding in the area, it has become difficult for working-class and middle-class families to rent, buy or build homes.

“We had an affordable housing problem before the pandemic hit,” said Golden Lake resident Ish Theilheimer, who is organizing the meeting.

“We have an aging population. Where will the young families and workers we need be able to afford to live in our community? The pandemic has turned the problem into a crisis.

He believes a co-op or non-profit housing project could get people into homes they can afford and enjoy.

“And hopefully we can build homes for a variety of people and families that are sustainable, energy efficient, and consistent with the needs and beliefs of our community,” Theilheimer said.

The purpose of the meeting is to determine if there is enough energy and commitment to begin work on such a project.

“It’s not going to be a short-term thing. Fairfield’s highly successful project in Eganville took 10 years of hard work, but it was worth it,” said Theilheimer. “People in the housing field tell me to expect this kind of delay.”

Resource people at the meeting will include Jennifer Dombroskie, Housing and Homelessness Manager with the Renfrew County Department of Community Services and Rockingham resident Glenn Allen, who has over 40 years of experience in managing non-profit housing in Ottawa.

Although the meeting is taking place in Killaloe, Theilheimer hopes it can spur action in more than one municipality. Representatives from the townships of Killaloe-Hagarty-Richards, North Algona Wilberforce, Bonnechere Valley and Madawaska Valley Townships were invited to participate.

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“The municipal partnership is essential to such a project,” said Theilheimer.

Currently, the federal government has money available for affordable housing projects, although there are many steps needed to get to the point of being ready to start. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation also offers grant and loan programs to help start a co-op project, but sources of local capital would also be needed.

“Hopefully we’ll have a good turnout and we can go from there. A lot of good things have been started in our community by groups of people coming together like this,” Theilheimer said.

For more information, contact Ish Theilhimer, 613-757-2223 or email [email protected]