Housing demand surprises Places for People organizer
By Jenn Watt
Published April 13, 2017
Fay Martin discovered the breadth of demand for housing when her not-for-profit, Places for People, advertised a rental house for the first time to the general population.
At least 20 calls or emails came in from people looking for accommodations from a range of situations, financial and otherwise.
“[The advertisement] didn’t say it needed to be a family, it didn’t talk about family composition, it didn’t say what the rent rate was,” says Martin. “It talked about where it was. That was all. A three bedroom house in Minden.”
That three bedroom house attracted interest from seven single-parent households, seven couples with children, four couples without children, a single woman looking for summer accommodations and a few other family compositions.
A few were quite anxious to find something. Although some were seeking affordable housing, that wasn’t the case with all. It was a clear message, Martin says, that the rental housing supply is lacking in Minden, if not the greater region.
This rental home, on McPherson Street in Minden, is owned by Haliburton Highlands Health Services and is being run by Places for People, or P4P, under a five-year contract. The rent is not supplemented on this apartment, which means the housing organization could have chosen any applicant. However, because their mandate is affordable housing, P4P chose to keep the rent low and select a tenant as they normally would.
According to Martin, Haliburton County and the City of Kawartha Lakes has rental rates equivalent to (or surpassing) the City of Peterborough. For a bachelor apartment, the county’s rental rate is just more than $600; for a one-bedroom it’s about $800 – these are the same as Peterborough. For a two-bedroom, it’s more expensive in CKL/Haliburton County with rates just above $1,000 (in Peterborough they’re just below). They’re also slightly above for three bedroom places at $1,200 a month.
While affordable for some, these rates are out of the range for many others, especially coupled with utility costs.
“There’s no demography in the county that doesn’t need affordable housing: singles, couples, families,” Martin says.