The City of Kawartha Lakes is seeking community input as it plans for its next decade of work on housing and homelessness in the region.

The city is undertaking online and public consultations to create an update at the midway point of its 10 Year Housing and Homelessness Plan. The plan outlines a broad and strategic direction for addressing housing and homelessness in the area.

Housing Help program supervisor Michelle Corley said the city wants to make a plan that can address a wide range of housing issues.

“The plan is really to drive some of our planning around housing across the whole housing continuum,” Corley said.

The update is mandated by the province and comes five years after the last 10-year housing strategy, started in 2014. That strategy has included goals of increasing the supply of affordable housing, integrating homelessness prevention programs to use resources more effectively and ensuring the long-term viability and affordability of existing social housing.

Corley said the city and county have made good progress on those goals.

“We’ve accomplished a lot, if not most of all of our goals initiated, contained originally within the plan,” Corley said, adding the strategy update will feature new goals. “We’re going to have a lot more outcomes and measurables attached to those goals so we can report back very transparently.”

In 2017, the Kawartha Lakes-Haliburton Housing Corporation assisted 900 households in retaining their housing through homelessness prevention and assisted 32 previously homeless individuals and families in finding housing, according to an annual report on the plan. The plan also looks to set targets on the development of new affordable housing units, such as a three-storey apartment building in Minden Hills slated to be occupied in 2020.

The online survey, going on until the end of February, asks respondents about their details and housing situation while offering a chance for them to provide feedback on any challenges they have faced dealing with any housing problems.

Corley also said the city plans to hold a public consultation in the County of Haliburton about the 10-year Housing and Homelessness Plan March 14, 9 a.m. at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 129 Haliburton.

The data from the survey and consultation will be used to help steer the corporation’s plan update and new goals, she said. The plan will also now extend to 2029, according to the survey website.

“We’re going a little deeper into some things. We want to make sure we’re addressing special populations such as Indigenous,” Corley said. “We are going a little bit deeper on the homelessness side, that is a priority of ours.”

The new plan is expected to be delivered in June, Corley said.

The online survey is available at www.kawarthalakes.ca/hhp.

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