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City's affordable housing reserve getting $20K boost

'We need to start looking at trying to resolve the (affordable housing issue) to the best of our abilities,' said Coun. Jay Fallis

A decision was made during operating budget deliberations this week to increase contributions to the city’s affordable housing reserve.

In October, the affordable housing committee asked that the city up its annual contribution of $80,000 by $20,000.

“As demand for affordable housing increases and the number of viable applications for projects begins to increase, it is foreseeable that the existing reserve could very quickly be depleted,” the committee wrote in a report at the time.

The group has had discussions about potential affordable housing projects coming to the city, which prompted the request to add more money to the reserve.

The issue of housing affordability has worsened during the pandemic, making it a timely request, said Coun. Jay Fallis.

“In the last year to two years of COVID, we’ve seen a real drive in the need for affordable housing in Orillia. We need to start looking at trying to resolve the (issue) to the best of our abilities,” he said.

Budget committee voted in favour of upping the contribution to the reserve.

Operating budget discussions wrapped up this week. The capital budget will be discussed next week. All decisions require ratification at a special council meeting Dec. 6.